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 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.
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.