The Wright Soil and Water Conservation District has partnered with the Crow River Organization of Water and the Natural Resources Conservation Service on phase three of a comprehensive sediment reduction project that focuses on stabilizing seven of the most active gully erosion sites on the North Fork Crow River. These seven areas were chosen due to the high level of turbidity and low dissolved oxygen within that stretch of the North Fork Crow River, which has led to biological and turbidity impairments.
The purpose of this project is to identify effective irrigation and nutrient management best management practices and technologies and the barriers that prevent irrigators, producers, and other agricultural partners from adopting them in Otter Tail County. The primary goal is to reduce nitrate in areas where groundwater is susceptible to contamination as mapped by The Minnesota Department of Health by identifying effective BMPs and addressing the barriers to their adoption.
The purpose of this monitoring project is to maintain water quality data collection, build upon existing data for Phase II of the Intensive Watershed Monitoring approach, and develop a better understanding of what impacts the rivers located in central Minnesota specifically in the North Fork Crow Watershed.
The Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead on implementing conservation practices that protect water quality. Those who implement and maintain approved conservation practices will be certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. This program will help address concerns about changing regulatory requirements from multiple state and federal agencies.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) along with Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Counties, landowners, and drainage authorities in the ten member counties will install conservation drainage practices to improve water quality. 103E drainage systems with documented sediment or water quality issues are the focus with the goal of installing 52 practices such as improved side inlets (grade stabilization structures), alternative tile inlets, denitrifying bioreactors, saturated buffers, storage wetlands and others.
The District is seeking to further its goals of meeting multipurpose drainage management requirements under its obligations as a 103E drainage authority. Judicial Ditch 1 is the largest system in the District, and proportionally one of the largest contributors of sediment and nutrients to the downstream reaches of the North Fork Crow River.
There is one lake and three streams in the North Fork Crow River Watershed District impaired by excess nutrients and impaired biotic communities. The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies have identified large areas and subwatersheds that have the potential to contribute high pollutant loads to the streams and lakes throughout the watershed. This Subwatershed Assessment study will evaluate three high loading subwatershed catchments in the North Fork Crow River Watershed.
This contract will be to initiate the second cycle of the North Fork Crow River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) development. The project will provide needed information and analysis to make sure that implementation strategies are well thought out and targeted. The result will be a framework for civic and citizen engagement and communication, which will contribute to long-term public participation in surface water protection and restoration activities throughout the watershed.
The purpose of this project is to develop a detailed tool that can be used in all watersheds within the Otter Tail and Becker counties to prioritize, target, and measure implementation practices at the field scale. The PTM App will significantly increase the targeting capabilities in Otter Tail and Becker Counties. The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy has not been completed for Otter Tail County, yet, and the PTM App will be able to assist targeting and prioritizing when those documents are created.
This project will result in the development of three critical pieces of information. They include: 1. Development of restoration and protection strategies for all waterbodies in the district relative to the State's Non-point Source Funding plan 2. Use of PTMApp to tie the WRAPs implementation tables from the Buffalo and Red River Watersheds to targeted on-the-ground projects and practices that will provide measurable water quality improvements, and 3.
Realizing the need for increased technical capacity in the field offices, the Becker, East Otter Tail and West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation Districts have developed an agreement that will increase technical capacity while minimizing costs to each district. The first step was taken in this agreement through the recent hire of a shared engineer. Currently, minimal survey grade equipment is owned by the districts. This grant will be used to purchase an integrated survey system.
The Upper Buffalo River Sediment Reduction Project area lies in the first major land use transition within the buffalo's flowage, where intact forests and modestly developed lakes give way to altered hydrology and tilled fields of highly productive soils near the top of the Red River Basin. This abrupt change in land use within the watershed is directly linked to stream impairments within the project area.