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) will partner with citizen groups and nonprofit groups to complete projects to reduce stormwater runoff and retain water on the land in Crow Wing County's (CWC) 125 minor watersheds. The SWCD will implement a mini grant program and provide competitive grant funds to an anticipated 12 groups. This project will also address CWC Water Plan priorities one, two, and six, which involve stormwater management and sediment control, shoreline buffers, and agriculture best management practices.
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.
This project will identify and prioritize opportunities to implement a multipurpose drainage management plan that will provide adequate drainage capacity, reduce peak flows and flooding and reduce erosion and sediment loading, improving water quality to the West Branch Rum River.
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 project is a cooperative effort between Crow Wing and Itasca County to contract with RMB Laboratories to generate 65 lake assessment/trend analysis reports. The watershed protection model is an innovative and proactive approach to water resource management which is geared towards prioritizing areas of concern, targeting implementation strategies, and measuring their effectiveness. These assessments are also useful and understandable tools for lake associations and the public.
Ensuring natural resource practitioners are applying state-of-the-art approaches is the best way to achieve optimum Best Management Practice (BMP) selection, design, and placement in the landscape, thereby maximizing Clean Water Fund (CWF) benefits. To that end, it is critical to train new staff, create modeling protocols for new BMPs, refine and calibrate models, and test ever-advancing modeling applications.
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.
Crow Wing County is pursuing this grant to continue this proven community and landowner outreach campaign by developing new water planning tools and using print and social media strategies to effect a positive change in our watersheds. The County believes that landowners want to do the right thing and has the data to show that when doing the right thing can be presented in customer-focused, fact-driven, easy-to-understand format, they get engaged and conservation gets done!