This project will improve water quality, reducing phosphorus annually by 1,842 in the St. Croix, Kettle and Snake River Watersheds in Pine County by establishing cover crops to reduce erosion and phosphorus/fertilizer applications, increase soil fertility, permeability, and microbe activity. A no-till drill will be purchased for use by agricultural producers for installing cover crops as a means of decreasing soil erosion, reducing phosphorus and fertilizer applications and increasing soil health.
The Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District will partner with local lake associations and other eligible community partners to reduce the impacts of storm water runoff and retain water on the land. We will implement a mini-grant program that will install rain gardens and native vegetation buffers along shorelines using deep-rooted native vegetation that will filter runoff, promote infiltration, and control stormwater runoff and soil erosion.
The Project and Outreach Coordinator will facilitate efforts within the watershed to provide landowner support and assistance in identifying areas in need of conservation plans and best management practices. The coordinator would use the Watershed Protection and Restoration Strategy Report and county water plans to target and prioritize outreach and education to maximize water quality benefits. This will greatly multiply the number of educated landowners in the watershed and increase the number of projects implemented.
This project primarily focuses on riparian restoration (permanent vegetative buffer enhancements and plantings) on 6.5 miles (both sides) of targeted tributaries, ditches, and wetlands within five sub - watershed areas identified in the Snake River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) Report. These plantings will consist of native perennials, trees, and shrubs where practical. In addition to the riparian plantings, this project will include fence exclusions for cattle and heavy use protections at cattle crossings in streams and ditches.
Well-managed forests deliver the optimal quantity and quality of surface runoff and groundwater water recharge possible. This Forest Management and outreach program will help protect, preserve, and improve water quality and related water resources by hiring a Regional Clean Water Forester. The Forester will help LGUs in Technical Service Areas (TSA) 3 and 8 increase installation of water quality-related forestry practices.