Agricultural drain tiles with surface intakes are considered a significant delivery mechanism of nutrients to Minnesota River. Protecting those surface water inlets can reduce the direct path those nutrients have to the river. In addition, in agricultural fields with subsurface drainage, leached nitrate creates elevated nitrate levels in tile drainage water. These high nitrate concentrations can cause algae blooms that remove oxygen. To help remove nitrates leached into tile drains, wood chip bioreactors can be installed to remove nitrate from the tile water before it enters surface water.
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.
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.
Granite rock outcrops along the Upper Minnesota River are among the oldest exposed rock in North America, dating back approximately 3.6 billion years. These outcrops are also home to rare and specialized plant and animal communities rarely found elsewhere in Minnesota, including several types of cactus and one of Minnesota's only three lizard species, the five-lined skink. However, these rock outcrops are increasingly threatened by mining, overgrazing, and development.
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.
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.
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.
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.