The Accelerated Water Quality Project Implementation Program will increase the connection between landowners, local government units and the landscape to accelerate efforts addressing non-point source loading to surface waters throughout the Red River Valley Conservation Service Area.
The Red Lake River is impaired for turbidity. It is also the drinking water source for residents living in East Grand Forks. Burnham Creek is a tributary to the Red Lake River and its watershed is well known for its intensive agriculture, flat topography and frequent flooding. Over the last 20 years, head cutting of the bottom of the channel has led to bank failures, flow restrictions, sedimentation and constriction of fish passage. Soil loss from this is approximately 117 tons per year.
Phase II of the Burnham Creek Watershed Restoration Project will conduct inventory on 2,050 acres, 85.4 miles of ditch channel within the Burnham Creek Watershed of West Polk County. This inventory includes surveying, assembling all available GIS data, ArcMap, LiDAR, review aerial photography, location of tile intakes, determine size of the erosion sites, and prioritization of severity. The district will partner with the Area DNR Hydrologist and the Polk County Highway Department-Drainage & Ag Inspector to verify data and identify any additional ditch segments.
The Thief River is the source of drinking water for the City of Thief River Falls. The river's other designated uses also include recreation and aquatic life. Water quality monitoring conducted by local agencies discovered that the Thief River is not meeting state water quality standards for both turbidity (muddiness) and dissolved oxygen. Each year, approximately 12,376 tons of sediment is deposited into the Thief River Falls reservoir by the Thief River. That is the equivalent of over 1,200 dump trucks full of dirt.
In the early 1900s, a joint State and County drainage project constructed a 1 mile outlet channel to Grand Marais Creek to provide a shorter outlet to the Red River and effectively abandoned the lower 6 miles of the natural channel. In recent times, the ditch has eroded from its original shape to a channel of steep gradients and unstable banks. This has resulted in head cutting of the channel and nearly continuous channel erosion and bank sloughing with the effect of depositing up to an estimated annual average of 700 tons of sediment into the Red River.
Increases in crop prices have reduced the acreage of land in conservation set-aside programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program and other marginal land use. Significant conversion of grasslands to cultivated agricultural crops has increased the levels of runoff and sedimentation. Phase III of this project addresses the need to protect vulnerable sites by installing water and sediment basins. These basins are earthen embankments built to temporarily detain sediment-laden runoff, allowing sediment to settle out before runoff is discharged.
This project is Phase IV of work to install water and sediment basins located within Sand Hill Watershed. A water and sediment basin is an earthen embankment built so that sediment-laden runoff is temporarily detained, allowing sediment to settle out before runoff is discharge. These are installed on agricultural cropland where erosion exceeds the allowable soil rate. Minimum detention time to store water is 36 hours for a 10 year, 24 hour runoff event. Starting in 2010, the District received dollars to assist landowners with flood-related projects.
Consistent with the implementation recommendation of the Total Maximum Daily Load Study , the goal of this project is to install 30 grade stabilization structures along Polk County Ditch 80 to reduce sediment loading by 270 tons per year. Polk County Ditch 80 contributes a large amount of sediment to the Sand Hill River which currently does not meet state water quality standards for sediment.
This project will provide land and water managers in the Red River Basin with data and online tools to prioritize actions on the landscape that achieve water quality objectives identified in local and state plans. This will help identify strategically important locations for implementing erosion control and water management practices. Standardized watershed-based data products will be integrated into a web-based planning tool which will be added to the Red River Basin Decision Information Network (RRBDIN) being developed as part of the Red River Watershed Feasibility Study.
As part of the FY 2012 funding cycle, the Board of Water and Soil Resources granted funds for development of the Water Quality Decision Support Application (WQDSA). The WQDSA will provide land and water managers with geospatial data and online tools to prioritize, market, and implement actions on the landscape to achieve water quality objectives identified in local and state water plans and to ensure that public funding decisions are strategic and defensible.
The Red Lake Watershed District will create an inspection database for 103E ditches under their drainage authority. The district will acquire a database software solution to conduct field inspections and to track ditch maintenance projects and use the software to facilitate compliance with state statutes. The project will also develop a process for completing the annual inspection and reporting requirements under Statue 103E.
The purpose of the project is to reduce the amount of sediment entering Burnham Creek, which is a tributary of the Red Lake River within the Red River Basin. The Red Lake River is classified as a source water protection area for the City of East Grand Forks and currently does not meet state water quality standards for sediment. The goal of this project is to install one grade stabilization structure within the channel which outlets into the Burnham Creek channel and two side water inlets with buffers.
The East Polk Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) identified the Sand Hill Watershed as a priority area because of soil loss associated with steep slopes common in the area. The SWCD is working cooperatively with the Sand Hill Watershed District to keep soil from eroding, and to capture it where it does erode. The SWCD provides technical design services and receives funding from the Sand Hill Watershed District to install conservation practice such as sediment basins.
The Sand Hill watershed is a priority area because of soil loss associated with steep slopes common in the area. Portions of the Sand Hill River have been listed as impaired due to turbidity. Water quality is also a concern for fish habitat in the lower reaches of the Sand Hill River. This project is a continuation of 2011 Clean Water Fund project to implement erosion control/sediment reduction practices in the Upper Sand Hill River Watershed.
The Sand Hill River Watershed District along with the West Polk Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will install 18 rock riffles and 2 rock arch rapids to control the grade and stabilize the channelized reach of the Sand Hill River, which contributes thousands of tons of sediment downstream. The entire Sand Hill River is currently impaired for turbidity. The total project length is five miles of channel located between the cities of Fertile and Beltrami in western Polk County.