The City of Thief River Falls drinking water is taken from a 135 acre reservoir that is supplied by the Thief River and Red Lake River. Sedimentation and erosion have significant impacts to the waters in Pennington County. The reservoir is filling with sediment faster than expected. Buffers and side water inlets will help reduce sediment and improve water quality for these types of erosion. Buffers would also reduce nutrients polluting the waters in Pennington County and have a beneficial impact to the dissolved oxygen impairment on both the Red Lake and Thief River.
The Pennington SWCD has collaborated with Pennington County for several years to identify priority County Ditch reaches that are in need of buffers and grade stabilization structures. This cooperative effort has resulted in the reduction of nutrient and sediment delivery to the Red Lake River Watershed. Pennington SWCD has recently inventoried buffer and grade stabilization needs on three different County Ditch systems: 96, 21 and 16. A total of 23 miles of ditch has been inventoried, 15 miles of buffer are needed along with 81 grade stabilization structures.
Sediment and water quality issues are local priorities within the Thief River and Red Lake River watersheds, which have their confluence in the city of Thief River Falls. The 1W1P effort underway in the Red Lake River Watershed will identify opportunities for projects and practices that are targeted and result in measurable water quality benefits throughout the watershed using PTMApp.
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.