The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will engage citizen and nonprofit groups to enhance, improve, and protect Crow Wing County (CWC) lakes and rivers. To do this, the SWCD will partner with the University of Minnesota Extension, MN DNR, CWC, nonprofits, and lake associations to implement a mini grant program and provide grant funds to 20 community groups.
The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) proposes to partner with citizen groups and nonprofit groups to complete projects that will reduce polluted runoff and keep water on the land in Crow Wing County's (CWC) 125 minor watersheds. To do this, the SWCD will implement a mini grant program and provide competitive grant funds to an anticipated 12 groups. Citizens groups will use their innovation and creativity to apply for project funds through the SWCD.
Crow Wing County, in cooperation with the municipalities within the County, plans to continue its successful well sealing program that pays 50% of the cost to seal unused/abandoned wells up to a maximum of $1000 per well. The amount of funding requested is $31,000 which is estimated to allow for the sealing of 80-100 wells. From 2012 to 2015, Crow Wing County sealed 65 wells as part of an earlier MDH well sealing grant from the Clean Water Fund. Priority will be given to wells located in or near existing wellhead protection areas.
As lake-focused development continues these high quality waters will see increasing amounts of land use change. The State Demographer projects that the targeted lake catchments will see population increases of 25-62% within 20 years. Isolating these contributing areas permits the Lake Protection Analysis project to perform multiple GIS analyses to accurately inform water quality discussions. The final framework will allow local water managers to prioritize across their water bodies, target activities to specific subsheds, and develop measurable goals.
Lake George is the premier recreational lake in Anoka County with above average water quality, a vibrant fishery, and a large regional park and beach that is among the most utilized in the county. Located in northwestern Anoka County within the Upper Rum River Watershed Management Organization (URRWMO), the Lake George Improvement District (LGID) was formed to tend to the lake's diminishing water quality and problematic invasive species.
This grant will fund the creation of a new Coordinator position with a primary focus on the Mille Lacs Lake subwatershed. Although not currently impaired, the Lake faces increasing development and land use pressure. Implementation of protection strategies is essential to the Lake's long-term health but current staffing does not allow sufficient time to be spent on project development and outreach to identify interested landowners.