This project will guide local implementation planning efforts by identifying water quality goals, strategies, and implementation milestones in the Cedar River Watershed. This watershed includes 435 square miles in major portions of Mower, Freeborn and Dodge Counties, and incudes the regional center of Austin. A Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) report will be completed by this effort.
This project will build upon existing planning and implementation efforts already taken on in the project area. The collection of existing information will be used to complement water information in support of a more successful and sustainable water quality improvement and protection implementation program. This will be achieved by active civic engagement activities throughout Phase I of this project.
Improved levels of civic engagement and community participation in support for the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) processes in the St. Louis River, Lake Superior South, and Cloquet River Watersheds. Monitoring plans and compiled field data will be provided and summarized that will aid in the future completion of Total Maximum Daily Load Reports (TMDLs) in these watersheds and in the Lake Superior North Watershed.
The St. Louis River watershed is one of the largest watersheds in northern Minnesota and the largest single contributing watershed to Lake Superior. Surface waters are abundant with 353 lakes and 97 streams segments. Large areas of forest and wetlands help to sustain areas of exceptional water quality. However, land use changes have degraded many lakes, rivers, and streams. 21 stream reaches have aquatic life impairments, as identified by high turbidity (1 reach), poor quality aquatic macro-invertebrate community (16 reaches), and/or poor quality fish community (12 reaches).
The project’s first phase includes development and implementation of a sampling plan to investigate stormwater quality within impervious areas; soil borings to determine the soil type; a topographical survey to determine drainage patterns and infrastructure locations; and data gathering of existing infrastructure. A season-long stormwater quality monitoring program will monitor stormwater within the drainage areas that flow directly to the storm sewer, including monitoring of roof runoff and overland flow to determine potential pollutant sources and mitigation options.