The Crow River is a major river system in Wright County that is of local and regional significance. It is a major recreation area in its own right but also flows into the Mississippi River 20 miles from the Minneapolis Drinking Water Plant intake. Elevated sediment levels in the river increases the cost of treating the river water and threatens fisheries habitat.
Fish Lake is a headwater of the Watonwan River. The lake is a regionally known fishery due to its unusual depth >20', lack of a mud bottom, and a naturally reproducing smallmouth bass fishery. The watershed has many tile drainage systems that are a source of nutrients to the lake. Woodchip bioreactors will be installed to reduce nitrogen from all tile outlets entering Fish Lake. This will help achieve the goal of a 40% reduction in Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the Minnesota River.
Mower County has completed the first phase of their county-wide imminent public health threat inventory and are currently in the process of phase two. This project will fund the third phase which will allow Mower County to inventory over 1,400 sites and remove an anticipated total of 230 imminent public health threats from discharging to local waters or to ground surface.
Due to its high water quality, protecting Martha Lake is a prioirty for Wright County. A monitoring study of the tile system outlet that flows into Lake Martha revealed high amounts of dissolved phosphorus were entering the lake through the tile system. This validated the concerns of the Lake Martha Lake Association.
Through a long standing partnership, this project will continue to implement a process formalized with a 2010 Clean Water Fund Grant to conduct stormwater sub-watershed assessments. The goal of the sub-watershed assessments is to accelerate water quality improvements by focusing efforts in high priority areas. Specifically, subwatershed assessments are a tool used to identify the most effective urban stormwater conservation practice by location.
Water quality and flood damage reduction goals can't be accomplished without reducing flows and taking a targeted approach to the upper most reaches of the most critical waterways. Water and sediment control basins are eartern structures that retain water and have been identified as one of the best tool for measured success in reducing peak flows. For this project, basins will be targeted and implemented in the Upper Cedar River Watershed, specifically in the Dobbins Creek Watershed.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin is a large area within the Watonwan, Le Sueur, and Blue Earth River watersheds. Recent research by University of Minnesota, the National Center for Earth Dynamics, and others has found this basin to be the largest contributor of sediment to Lake Pepin.
The soil and water conservation districts within the watersheds for the Redwood and Cottonwood Rivers have been putting conservation practices on the ground for years in a long-running collaborative effort.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA), a nine County/SWCD JPO has identified buffers as a basin priority. This initiative will work towards the goal of identifying all DNR protected shoreland in the GBERBA counties without a 50 foot vegetative buffer. Buffer strips protect surface and groundwater from a multitude of pollutants. During stormwater run off events buffers can remove between 50 and 100 percent of nutrients, pesticides, pathogens, and sediment. The estimated sediment reduction for this project is 756 tons per year prevented from entering our waters.
This program is a part of a comprehensive clean water strategy to prevent sediment and nutrients from entering our lakes, rivers, and streams; enhance fish and wildlife habitat; protect groundwater and wetlands. Specifically the Wellhead Protection Conservation Easement program is targeted to protect drinking water through the Reinvest in Minnesota Program (RIM).