The purpose of this project is to develop a framework to implement best management practices (BMPs) on ditches in headwater areas utilizing a partnership between drainage staff and the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA). By replacing failing side-inlets with an alternative design, we can make strides towards our water quality and water quantity goals. The alternative inlets serve to prevent sediment and phosphorus from washing downstream and the design can also alleviate peak flows by temporarily storing stormwater.
Demand for Engineering services in Northeast Minnesota's nine-county Area III Technical Service Area is exceeding the capacity to deliver the needed services. There are increased requests from Soil and Water Conservation Districts for engineering needed to design and install Best Management Practices in part due to requests related to Clean Water Fund projects. These funds will be used to hire an engineer, which will increase engineering capacity and result in the completion of at least five additional projects per year.
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.
St. Louis County's Comprehensive Water Management Plan Update 2010-2020 identifies providing financial assistance to qualifying homeowners to upgrade or replace failing septic systems as a Priority 2 action. Funds from the FY-16 Clean Water Fund Projects and Practices Grant will be used to provide funding to low-income homeowners to repair or replace SSTS identified as Imminent Threat to Public Health (ITPH) within the following watersheds: Lake Superior South, St.
This project will create a culvert inventory database for county and township roads in the southwest portion of St. Louis County that contains the St. Louis River watershed. Data will be used by the County Public Works Department to identify and prioritize stream crossings in need of replacement or increasing upstream storm water retention to reduce the potential for culvert failure during large runoff events, factoring in stream health (fish habitat and passage, sediment transport and hydrologic connection) while protecting infrastructure.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) along with Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Counties, landowners, and drainage authorities in the ten member counties will install conservation drainage practices to improve water quality. 103E drainage systems with documented sediment or water quality issues are the focus with the goal of installing 52 practices such as improved side inlets (grade stabilization structures), alternative tile inlets, denitrifying bioreactors, saturated buffers, storage wetlands and others.
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.
Approximately 70 percent of all Minnesotans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Wells used for drinking water must be properly sealed when removed from service to protect both public health and Minnesota’s invaluable groundwater resources. The Minnesota Department of Health protects both public health and groundwater by assuring the proper sealing of unused wells.
Clean Water funds are being provided to well owners as a 50% cost-share assistance for sealing unused public water-supply wells.
The Watonwan Watershed Technician will provide highly focused targeting of conservation programs and practices. The technician will enhance current staff capabilities in the Watonwan watershed by collecting landowner contact information from previous studies and GIS methods, produce mass mailings about funding opportunities, and meet one-on-one with landowners to discuss their conservation concerns. The technician will implement 45 projects/practices over a three year period.
With the completion of LiDAR data in southern Minnesota, it is imperative to use this data as effectively as possible. In order to do so, the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) will contract with a vendor to complete a Geographic Information System (GIS) terrain analysis in subsheds of the Watonwan River watershed. This inventory will utilize the State of Minnesota LiDAR elevation datasets to create many GIS datasets by spatially analyzing the elevation data.
The Watonwan Watershed Resource Specialist has been funding with Clean Water funds since 2012. Since that time, the Watonwan Watershed Resource Specialist has been a crucial connector between landowners and natural resource professionals in the Watonwan Watershed. As the technical ability and responsibilities of the WWRS expands, the need and urgency to secure extended funding becomes a priority. This project will fund half of the Watonwan Watershed Research Specialist position through year 2020.