MSU-Mankato Water Resources Center in the Mankato area will provide conventional pollutant monitoring at the following sites: Beauford Ditch, Big Cobb River, Blue Earth River, Le Sueur River (3), Little Cobb River, Minnesota River (2), Watonwan River.
This project will build network and the skill set of local resource professionals to do effective civic engagement work for water restoration and protection in Southeast Minnesota. The cohort will be administered through the Southeast Minnesota Water Resources Board (SE MN WRB) which is an area wide Joint Powers Board (JPB) established to help improve and protect the water resources of the area through coordinating local water planning efforts. This JPB has successfully administered water quality grants in the past that have positively impacted the water resources of this region.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been decimating ash throughout the Great Lake States and is currently advancing into Minnesota, threatening the future of the ash forests that occur across much of the state. Of particular concern is the impact EAB will have on the ecology and functioning of black ash swamps, which cover over one million acres in Minnesota and represent the state’s most common ash forest type. Black ash trees grow and thrive in swamps and occupy a unique wet niche where few other tree species grow.
Minnesota has 9.5 million acres of public forest lands that play an important role in sustaining Minnesota’s environment and economy. The policies and programs used by public timber sale programs can impact post-harvest ecological conditions and have pronounced effects on the composition, structure, and productivity of the forest in the future. Additionally, timber harvesting revenues play an important role in economic activity, employment, and tax revenue.
Over 527,000 acres of unmanaged woodlands are being used for livestock grazing throughout Minnesota. Managing these grazed woodlands based on the use of best management practices can provide environmental and economic opportunities, including improved water quality, maximized forage production, and higher-quality timber. The best management practices involved are commonly used in other parts of the country with other types of ecosystems, but have not been widely adopted in Minnesota due to a lack of knowledge and experience with implementing them within the ecosystems of Minnesota.
Minnesota has 15.9 million acres of forest land managed by a variety of county, state and federal agencies, and private landowners for timber production, wildlife habitat, and ecological considerations. Forest managers rely on inventory data to make effective planning and management decisions. Because forests are continually changing through natural and human processes, forest inventory data is periodically updated. However, doing so is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor and, as a result, much of Minnesota’s forest inventory data is currently out of date.
Woody biomass energy systems have shown themselves to offer more locally-based, stable energy supplies for some communities. Itasca Community College is using this appropriation to design a renewable energy system based on woody biomass that will serve as a demonstration and educational tool in the region.
This project will initiate the process of community engagement in the LeSueur River watershed by assessing the needs and interests of the community and bringing a diverse set of stakeholders together to determine how best to foster action in improving and protecting water quality.
Native to the western United States and Canada, mountain pine beetle is considered the most devastating forest insect in North America. Trees usually die as a result of infestation and an unprecedented outbreak in the west is currently decimating pine forests there. While mountain pine beetle is not presently believed to reside in Minnesota, there are risks posed by an expanding species range resulting from warming climate and the potential for accidental introduction via lumber imports from infested areas.
The project goal is to assist the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) with meeting the objectives of the Surface Water Assessment Grant (SWAG) to conduct field and water chemistry monitoring at MPCA specified lake sampling locations and stream locations. This will be accomplished by collecting water samples at seven lake sites and eight streams in the Kettle and Upper St. Croix Watersheds, as well as compiling and submitting the required data, information and reports.
Pollinators play a key role in ecosystem function and in agriculture, including thousands of native plants and more than one hundred U.S. crops that either need or benefit from pollinators. However, pollinators are in dramatic decline in Minnesota and throughout the country. The causes of the decline are not completely understood, but identified factors include loss of nesting sites, fewer flowers, increased disease, and increased pesticide use. Developing an aware, informed citizenry that understands this issue is one key to finding and implementing solutions to counteract these factors.
The University of Minnesota will develop effective interview questions for community watershed assessments in the Rainy River basin and provide assistance in understanding the data collected through community interviews.
This project will provide complementary (same year) physical and chemical data sets for three MPCA prioritized lakes in NE Minnesota to incorporate into the overall State database for MPCA assessment purposes as well as research purposes.
This assessment will be performed using scientific volunteers, will build capacity at a technical training program at Itasca Community College (ICC), and will provide MPCA with answers providing a reasonable expectation for water quality in this under-studied region of Minnesota.
Vermilion Community College will assist the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) with meeting the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) development objectives of collecting data and completing watershed assessments for the Rainy River Headwaters, Vermilion River, and Little Fork River watersheds. Services will include providing support for field water monitoring, other field sampling and measurements and related field data management, analysis, and assessments in these watersheds.