Once thought to have an essentially inexhaustible groundwater supply, Minnesotans are now realizing our rates of use are regionally unsustainable. Recent advanced modeling by the MN DNR and Metropolitan Council of aquifer supplies, in conjunction with predicted demand, indicate the major metropolitan area aquifers are currently subject to extraction rates that exceed recharge. Simply stated, we are mining our groundwater.
This project will reduce sediment and nutrient loading to the main stem and local tributaries of the Lower Minnesota River (LMR) by providing cost share for practices that treat ravine headcut and channel erosion, streambank/shoreline erosion, ephemeral gully erosion, and direct-discharging open inlet drainage systems. Targeted Best Management Practices (BMPs) will include but not be limited to grade control structures, grassed/lined waterways, water & sediment control basins, shoreline/streambank stabilization and alternative tile inlets.
This project builds on the momentum of previous Clean Water Fund grants in making significant and quantifiable sediment, nutrient and runoff volume reductions to address the turbidity, dissolved oxygen and other impairments of the Lower Minnesota River (LMR). These water quality improvements will be achieved by constructing on-the-ground conservation best management practices (BMPs) in the targeted watersheds -including specifically Sand and Roberts Creek - and near channel sources.
At almost 4,000 acres, Trout Brook is the largest subwatershed in the Capitol Region Watershed District and the City of Saint Paul. The restored stream is part of the 42 acre Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary project, whose goal is to return the area back to some resemblance of its pre-industrialized valley of stream floodplain and wetlands. Monitoring results within the corridor show that phosphorus, sediments, bacteria, lead and copper are the pollutants of most concern.
The Cannon River is a designated Wild and Scenic River that originates in Rice County and joins the Mississippi River 120 miles downstream near Red Wing. The Upper Cannon, which encompasses 29% of the entire watershed, has been identified as a priority subwatershed.