The goal of this project is to collect data, water chemistry and field parameters, which will be paired with biological data collected by the MPCA to assess water quality conditions at seven sites along targeted reaches within the Snake River Watershed and five sites in the Two River Watershed.
Two large, actively eroding gullies located a few miles apart in Amador Township are contributing tremendous loads of phosphorus and sediment to the St. Croix River. One gully (Gully A) includes a major agricultural gully, severe road erosion, and sediment deposits of a foot or more thick in a state park. The second gully (Gully B) is over 4 feet deep, adjacent to a road, and is an annual problem. Stabilizing these two gullies will greatly reduce the sediment and phosphorus loading to the St. Croix River, which will help meet the reduction goal of the Lake St.
Using a previous escarpment gully project as a model, the Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District will complete a similar inventory of actively eroding gullies along the Lower Sunrise River from the Kost Dam south to the confluence with the St. Croix, which includes the North Branch of the Sunrise, Hay Creek, and the Sunrise River main branch. There are major erosion issues along this stretch of river, no organized and efficient way to begin work in the area. The inventory report will provide the missing link.
The Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District has been successful in implementing Best Management Practices in certain targeted locations within the county, including the prioritized and assessed areas of Chisago City, Lindstrom, and Center City. However, there are many areas that want to implement conservation projects but aren't within targeted areas. This award will empower community partners, especially lake associations, to award grants for rain gardens, shoreline buffers, and other worthwhile projects to improve water quality.
The Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has had such great success implementing gully stabilization projects along the St. Croix River escarpment that all of the current grant funding has been encumbered towards projects. Two large gully projects, one in the City of Taylors Falls and a second nearby in Interstate State Park, are lined up and ready to go as soon as funding is secured. Both of these gullies are large and have been actively eroding for many years, depositing large loads of sediment and phosphorus directly into the St. Croix River.
These funds are being used to systematically collect data and produce statistically valid estimates of the rate of soil erosion and tracking the adoption of high residue cropping systems in in the 67 counties with greater than 30% land in agricultural row crop production. Designed to establish a long term program in Minnesota to collect data and produce county, watershed, and state wide estimates of soil erosion caused by water and wind along with tracking adoption of conservation measures to address erosion.
This project targets nutrient reductions within the Mayhew and Big Elk Lake watersheds. The Benton Soil and Water Conservation District will work with farmers in implementing a variety of conservation practices including, but not limited to cropland erosion control projects, riparian pasture management, and nutrient management and feedlot pollution control systems. These strategies were identified through Total Daily Maximum Load Studies.
Little Rock Lake experiences severe algae blooms due to excess phosphorus and these blooms are the worst known regionally. The goal of this project is to reduce algae blooms, improve water clarity, and avoid risk of drinking water contamination. The project will result in installing one farmer nutrient management project , four cover crops, two lakeshore buffer strips, six septic systems that also demonstrated an imminent threat to public health, six erosion control projects , one wetland restored, and one feedlot runoff control system.
A completed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study has identified mid to late summer phosphorus loading as a significant stressor to lakes and streams within the Big Elk Lake watershed. While this comprehensive study serves its role as the unifying document that identifies pollutants and sources, further work is required in order to develop site-specific Best Management Practices, design these practices, and oversee their implementation in order to reach clean water goals.
Goose, East and West Rush Lakes are not meeting state water quality standards due to excessive phosphorus. These are three of the worst lakes in Chisago County in terms of water quality, yet also some of the most heavily used lakes for recreation. The quality of the water in the St. Croix River is directly influenced by the poor quality water leaving East Rush, West Rush, and Goose Lakes.
The Benton County Water Plan advisory committee has the goal of protecting groundwater resources in Benton County. One of the methods identified is to seal unused wells. In 2013, Benton Soil and Water Conservation District completed an aggressive campaign to identify unused wells. We used several sources to locate potential wells, completed site visits for many wells and collected site information to assisting in prioritizing limited cost share resources.
These funds are being used to systematically collect data and produce statistically valid estimates of the rate of soil erosion and tracking the adoption of high residue cropping systems in counties with greater than 30% land in agricultural row crop production. Designed to establish a long term program in Minnesota to collect data and produce county, watershed, and state wide estimates of soil erosion caused by water and wind along with tracking adoption of conservation measures to address erosion.
These funds will be utilized in cost-share for landowners to install Agricultural Best Management Practices following Little Rock Lake TMDL Implementation Plan. Example of projects include Feedlot Improvements, Waste Storage Facilities, Erosion Control BMPs, Filter Strips and Streambank Stabilizations. An estimated 830 pounds per year of phosphorus and 800 tons of sediment will be reduced annually.
The Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes watershed in southern Chisago County is made up of 18 lakes and outlets to the St. Croix River through the Sunrise River. The top 20 urban and rural projects around North and South Center Lakes that are identified in the Rural Subwatershed Assessment and Urban Stormwater Retrofit Analysis reports will be the top priority of this application. The goal is a phosphorus reduction of 100 pounds (4%) to North and South Center Lakes.
The Mallery Jerseys dairy farm is critically located along the bluff of the St. Croix River escarpment and drains directly to the St. Croix River. In 2018, a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan was completed and identified a number of additional practices that should be implemented to improve the water quality of the St. Croix River. The proposed practices will reduce the phosphorus and nitrogen by 76 pounds (83%)and 265 pounds (85%) respectively.
The goal of this project is to achieve a 10% reduction in overall sediment discharge to the Mississippi River from the Northeast St. Cloud Drainage Area by installing one regional underground stormwater detention and treatment facility in partnership with a Neighborhood Redevelopment Project. The project will have over 16,000 cubic feet of water storage capacity treating 35 acres of stormwater runoff and is modeled to reduce sediment by 4.5 tons, which is 10% of the sediment reduction goal for this drainage area.
A large, actively eroding gully has existed on the campus of Parmly, a senior living complex in Chisago City, for at least 50 years. The gully is on the banks of Green Lake, which is at high risk for becoming impaired in the near future. The Parmly gully project is identified as a source of untreated stormwater and phosphorus loading in the Chisago City urban subwatershed retrofit analysis report. Stabilization of the gully will provide a 20% reduction in phosphorus loading to Green Lake. The staff of Parmly is in full support of the project and a design is complete.
The St. Croix River escarpment has been a focal point for the Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District over the past 8 years, and continues to be one of the leading areas of Chisago County in terms of phosphorus reduction projects to Lake St. Croix. Of the original inventory, 16 of the 36 gullies have been stabilized. This application includes the stabilization of 5 gullies. These projects will reduce the phosphorus loading to the St. Croix River by at least 50 pounds per year and sediment loading by at least 50 tons per year.
A collaboration between the Roseau County SWCD and the Roseau River Watershed District (RRWD), the CD 8 Subwatershed Sediment Reduction Project will reduce sediment delivery to the Roseau River by implementing Best Management Practices on sites that have been identified as the greatest contributors of sediment. Sites were prioritized based on modeled data from the Watershed District's Site Prioritization Grant, and the International Watershed Institutes's Water Quality Decision Support Application (WQDSA) and local knowledge of the subwatershed.
This proposal accelerates the strategic permanent protection of 915 acres (220 wetlands and 695 grasslands) of Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) open to public hunting in Minnesota. Pheasants Forever (PF) will strategically acquire parcels that are adjacent to existing public land or create corridors between complexes. All acquisitions will occur in the prairie, prairie/forest transition, or metro regions.
This proposal accelerates the protection of 1,030 acres of strategic prairie grassland, wetland, and other wildlife habitats as State Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) open to public hunting. Pheasants Forever (PF) will be acquiring tracts that build onto or create a corridor between existing protected lands which will be transferred to the MN Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) to be included as a WMA. All acquisitions will occur within the prairie, prairie/forest transition, and metro planning regions. These areas have seen the greatest decline in upland and wetland habitat.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Accelerated Prairie Grassland Restoration and Management Program had a successful first round of funding from the Legacy Funds. The program worked through the growing pains and obstacles in getting a new program up and operational and was successful in enhancing nearly 5,800 acres of prairie and grasslands in eight of the ecological subsections of Minnesota. A contractor base has been established for this type of work statewide that needs to be evaluated and expanded on for future appropriations.
Ducks Unlimited enhanced 6,882 wetland acres through the bio-engineering and installation of water control structures on managed shallow lake outlets for Minnesota DNR, and protected 76 wetland and 103 upland acres on a shallow lake through a purchased conservation easement.
Many of Minnesota's wetlands have been lost and the remainder degraded. The original proposal planned for 15,000 acres of wetland/shallow lake enhancement to provide critical habitat for each life stage of waterfowl and wetland wildlife. The six projects subsequently completed with this appropriation enhanced 13,800 acres of wetlands and shallow lakes in the Prarie and Forest/Prairie Ecosections of Minnestoa.
Many of Minnesota's wetlands have been lost and the remainder degraded. Recent tiling and ditching have accelerated this situation. Through this proposal, shallow lakes and wetlands will be designed, constructed, and intensively managed to benefit wetland wildlife and Minnesota residents.
This appropriation funded 283 projects totaling 21,953 acres. The two largest types of enhancement were 112 woody removal projects totaling 10,160 acres and 134 prescribed burns totaling 10,082 acres. Additionally, we seeded 30 sites totaling 1386 acres, put in infrastructure for conservation grazing of 236 acres on 3 sites, conducted 3 oak savanna enhancements totaling 42 acres, and treated 47 acres of invasive species on 2 sites.
This program of on-the-ground conservation projects increased the wildlife and ecological values of forest communities on Minnesota's public forestlands. Restoration and enhancement projects in this program enhanced more than 10,000 acres of forest.
Water control structures and dikes were designed and constructed on six Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) in the counties of Becker, Clearwater, Itasca, Lincoln, Roseau, and Yellow Medicine. Dike work at Roseau River WMA protects and enhances 3200 acres of wetlands wetlands in Pool 2 of the WMA. Roseau River WMA has 10 large water control structures, seven moist soil cells, and four large pools covering 11,800 acres. Cells for a moist soil unit were constructed at Lac Qui Parle WMA in Lac Qui Parle County.
We protected 22.3 miles of trout streams and 1.3 miles of lakeshore via easements (585 acres in total), and 7.4 miles (504 acres) of lakeshore through fee-title purchase. We enhanced shoreline habitat on 524 acres of riparian land, and instream habitat on 3.1 miles of trout streams and 0.5 miles of warmwater rivers.
The Accelerated Water Quality Project Implementation Program will increase the connection between landowners, local government units and the landscape to accelerate efforts addressing non-point source loading to surface waters throughout the Red River Valley Conservation Service Area.
This proposal will address a backlog of shallow lake and wetland habitat work that will otherwise go unfunded. These projects will address work called for in the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan, Long Range Duck Recovery Plan, and Shallow Lakes plan.