Little Rock Lake experiences severe algae blooms due to excess phosphorus and these blooms are the worst known regionally. The goal of this project is to reduce algae blooms, improve water clarity, and avoid risk of drinking water contamination. The project will result in installing one farmer nutrient management project , four cover crops, two lakeshore buffer strips, six septic systems that also demonstrated an imminent threat to public health, six erosion control projects , one wetland restored, and one feedlot runoff control system.
The Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District will hire an Accelerated Water Quality Technician to focus on projects in the Middle Sauk area showing the greatest pollution reductions. After identifying and prioritizing targeted sites with the highest pollution potential, the Stearns County SWCD will begin surveys and designs and complete them in a timely fashion while current implementation funds are available. The accelerated survey and design in Stearns County will relieve our natural resources of the current strain put on them by the environment and land use.
Little Rock Creek, a cold-water trout stream in central Minnesota, is impaired due to the lack of trout and other cold water fish. The trout are absent because of high water temperatures, low dissolved oxygen and high nitrate levels, stressors caused from a lack of base flow and overuse of groundwater. This project continues a 2011 initiative to assist irrigators in the Little Rock Creek groundwater recharge area with managing the timing and amount of irrigation applied to their crops.
The Little Rock Lake Total Maximum Daily Load study has identified areas in the watershed where phosphorus reduction is needed and what best management practices need to be applied. This is a coordinated implementation effort with Benton and Morrison Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Little Rock Lake Association, the livestock industry and other partners to install best management practices at numerous sites to continue cleaning up Little Rock Lake.
Approximately 70 percent of all Minnesotans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Wells used for drinking water must be properly sealed when removed from service to protect both public health and Minnesota’s invaluable groundwater resources. The Minnesota Department of Health protects both public health and groundwater by assuring the proper sealing of unused wells.
Clean Water funds are being provided to well owners as a 50% cost-share assistance for sealing unused public water-supply wells.
The Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District's (SWCD) Stump and Sagatagan Lakes Subwatershed Stormwater Treatment Projects will retrofit sub-catchment drainage areas on St. John's University (SJU) campus that drain untreated stormwater runoff directly into Stump and Sagatagan Lakes. This area of the region has been identified as ecologically significant by the Nature Conservancy's Eco-Regional Plan and the MN DNR's County Biological Survey.
The Two Rivers Watershed is listed as a high priority in the Stearns County Comprehensive Water Management Plan. This project will inventory the existing public drainage systems and develop a targeting program to measure, prioritize and target the factors causing the water quality problems of Two Rivers Lake (impaired for nutrients) in Stearns County. With public access and a county park on the lake, it is a destination for fisherman in the area.
The West Central Technical Service Area (WCTSA) serves 12 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in west central Minnesota and has been experiencing increased workload due to greater requests from member SWCDs. This funding will sustain a limited-term technician and purchase related support equipment to assist landowners in implementing targeted, high priority practices that result in the greatest water quality outcomes.