These funds are being used to systematically collect data and produce statistically valid estimates of the rate of soil erosion and tracking the adoption of high residue cropping systems in in the 67 counties with greater than 30% land in agricultural row crop production. Designed to establish a long term program in Minnesota to collect data and produce county, watershed, and state wide estimates of soil erosion caused by water and wind along with tracking adoption of conservation measures to address erosion.
These funds are being used to systematically collect data and produce statistically valid estimates of the rate of soil erosion and tracking the adoption of high residue cropping systems in counties with greater than 30% land in agricultural row crop production. Designed to establish a long term program in Minnesota to collect data and produce county, watershed, and state wide estimates of soil erosion caused by water and wind along with tracking adoption of conservation measures to address erosion.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 13 local governments with funds to complete 143 projects. More information is available in the detail reports below.
The Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank Watershed District will contract with the Water Resource Center at the Minnesota State University in Mankato to complete a Geographic Information System (GIS) terrain analysis for the watershed. It will concentrate on the impaired reaches of the Lac qui Parle and Yellow Bank Rivers and tributaries. This inventory will utilize LiDAR elevation datasets to create many GIS datasets by spatially analyzing the elevation data.
Lake Shaokatan and its 13.9 square mile watershed is the headwaters of Yellow Medicine River, which is one of the thirteen major watersheds in the Minnesota River and the largest watershed in Lincoln County. The primary land use is agriculture with the major crops being corn and soybeans. The trend for significant soil loss is due to the nature of the topography with the highest point in the Yellow Medicine Watershed in Lincoln County being 1,960 feet and the lowest being 1,160 feet, a drop of 800 feet in 25 miles.
Del Clark Lake is a regionally unique resource in the Lac qui Parle Watershed. This grant contains both restoration and protection strategies aiming to maintain the quality of this rare and valuable resource in addition to restoring the recently impaired Canby Creek, which feeds into Del Clark Lake. Three grade control structures will be implemented just upstream of Del Clark to protect against sediment and aid in regulating flows. An estimate 240 pounds of phosphorous and 2,700 tons of sediment will be reduced annually.
The Redwood and Cottonwood River Watersheds have been assessed and many reaches have been impaired for turbidity, bacteria, and low dissolved oxygen. This project will accelerate conservation efforts to reduce overland runoff sediment, bacteria, and nutrient loadings contributing to water quality impairments in targeted subwatersheds.
The Redwood River and Cottonwood River watersheds encompass approximately 2,020 square miles of southwestern Minnesota in the Minnesota River Basin. Land use in these watersheds is mostly agricultural and area geology makes them prone to erosion. Surface water issues within the two watersheds are a concern of local leaders. The counties and Soil and Water Conservation District leaders formed the Redwood Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) Joint Powers Board in 1983 to address sedimentation, water quality and quantity, and erosion issues.
Imminent Health Threat (IHT) systems are those that are discharging improperly treated human waste onto the ground surface or into surface waters. In addition to the potential water quality impacts, untreated sewage has the potential to introduce bacteria and viruses into the environment. When IHT systems are identified, county or city staff assist the homeowners through the process required to bring their systems into compliance with the septic ordinance.
The soil and water conservation districts within the watersheds for the Redwood and Cottonwood Rivers have been putting conservation practices on the ground for years in a long-running collaborative effort.
The Southwest Prairie Technical Service Area 5 (SWPTSA), located in the southwest corner of Minnesota, encompasses 11 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs): Cottonwood, Jackson, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, and Yellow Medicine. This project will protect natural resources within the three major river basins of Minnesota, Missouri and Des Moines Rivers. The SWPTSA will assist member SWCDs in locating and identifying priority subwatersheds that have soil erosion and water quality issues using terrain analysis.
Project partners play a vital role in the implementation of the Verdi Wellhead Protection Plan and have made this water source a priority in lowering nitrate levels. The aquifer used by the wells in the Verdi Well Field consists of a sand and gravel horizon about 30' thick which overlies clay-rich till. The geological sensitivity in all five of the Verdi wells is classified as "high".The Verdi Well Field supplies water to ten community water suppliers, 34 large rural users, and 1,126 rural hookups. Total population served by this water supply is about 7,500.
The Yellow Medicine One Watershed One Plan has identified Protecting and Preserving Groundwater Quality and Quantity as one of the three priorities addressed in the Plan. Seven priority sub-watersheds have been identified as priority areas, as well as two townships that have been identified by the Department of Agriculture to have vulnerable groundwater areas. Our goal is to provide 50% cost share to seal 34 abandoned wells that are located in these priority areas.
Over the years, the landscape of the Yellow Medicine Watershed has changed through drainage and loss of wetland areas. The Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Lincoln, Lyon and Yellow Medicine counties work cooperatively with the Yellow Medicine River Watershed District to oversee implementation of conservation practices in this watershed. Based on previous Clean Water Partnership diagnostic studies, it is known the river is receiving an excessive loading of nutrients, phosphorus and suspended solids. These conditions have led to declining dissolved oxygen levels as a result.
The Yellow Medicine River Watershed District will contract with the Water Resource Center at the Minnesota State University - Mankato to complete a Geographic Information System (GIS) terrain analysis for the watershed using recently completed LIDAR data in southern Minnesota. Analysis will concentrate on the impaired reaches of the Yellow Medicine River Watershed and its tributaries. This inventory will utilize the State of Minnesota LiDAR elevation datasets to create many datasets through the analysis of this elevation data.