This project targets nutrient reductions within the Mayhew and Big Elk Lake watersheds. The Benton Soil and Water Conservation District will work with farmers in implementing a variety of conservation practices including, but not limited to cropland erosion control projects, riparian pasture management, and nutrient management and feedlot pollution control systems. These strategies were identified through Total Daily Maximum Load Studies.
A completed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study has identified mid to late summer phosphorus loading as a significant stressor to lakes and streams within the Big Elk Lake watershed. While this comprehensive study serves its role as the unifying document that identifies pollutants and sources, further work is required in order to develop site-specific Best Management Practices, design these practices, and oversee their implementation in order to reach clean water goals.
The funds requested will provide Big Lake Township with the technical and financial assistance necessary to retrofit up to six locations for stormwater treatment practices within the direct drainage area of Birch Lake, an impaired water body which is very close to meeting state standards. The projects have been identified as high priority in several water quality plans including a TMDL, a subwatershed assessment, the County Water Plan and the Mississippi River (St. Cloud) WRAPS.
The Briggs Lake Chain Association (BLCA) is one of Sherburne County's most proactive lake associations. This sub-grant will provide for approximately 20-30 stormwater reduction best management practices on strategically targeted parcels previously identified as contributing to degraded water quality through Total Maximum Daily Loads, aerial lakeshore analysis and site-reviews conducted by the BLCA.
The Elk River Watershed Association Joint Powers Board, via the Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District, will utilize project funds to implement a pasture and manure management program which will provide technical and financial assistance to large animal/hobby farm owners. Staff will work with identified landowners to implement bacteria reduction best practices such as pasture renovation/management, riparian buffer strips, clean water diversions, vegetated buffer strips, and manure management including composting structures.
This project combines the use of automated soil moisture probes for irrigation scheduling with diverse cover crop planting to reduce or eliminate leaching of nitrogen and other nutrients on cropland with an early season harvested crop in the rotation. The more efficient use of irrigation waters provides a secondary benefit: less withdrawal from the aquifers that provide recharge for the Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer.
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.