The Thief River and its tributaries have deteriorating water quality due to sedimentation. Sediment plumes and deltas have formed at the inlets of pools in Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge (Agassiz Pool) and Thief Lake, an important recreational resource in Northwest Minnesota.
The AgBMP Loan Program provides needed funding for local implementation of clean water practices at an extremely low cost, is unique in its structure and is not duplicated by any other source of funding.The AgBMP loan program provides 3% loans through local lenders to farmers, rural landowners, and agriculture supply businesses.
This project will improve surface and groundwater quality in the rural sections of the Vermillion and North Cannon River Watersheds located in Dakota County through the installation of targeted structural and vegetative conservation practices. This project will leverage local and federal funds to provide technical and financial assistance to landowners that install agricultural water quality practices.
Clearwater County's lakes provide significant environmental, economic and recreational benefits . This project will assist local water management planning efforts by collecting and analyzing available lake water quality information and watershed characteristics for Bagley, Long Lake and Long Lost Lakes. Bringing the available water quality information that has been gathered and presenting it in a manner that is understandable to lake residents and other citizens is the goal of the project.
Based on the Minnesota Waters Lake and River Association database, Crow Wing County has the highest number of lake associations in Minnesota. Currently, there are over 136 lake association groups in the county, which does not include neighborhood, resort or religious groups. These lakes aer a cornerstone to the state's tourism econmy and there is a great demand for stormwater management incentive program to protect these local water resources.
Multiple water courses in the Buffalo River - Red River Watershed District are impaired for turbidity. These waterways include the Red River of the North, Wolverton Creek, Deerhorn Creek, Stoney Creek, South Branch Buffalo River, and the main stem of the Buffalo River. This project will provide a means of prioritizing areas of the watershed to implement conservation practices to reduce overland runoff contaminant loadings contributing to water quality impairments.
Erosion is a serious water quality issue found throughout the Buffalo-Red River Watersheds rivers and tributaries. Excessive erosion occurs in the beach ridge area where the land naturally has excessive slopes. The beach ridge area consists of sand and gravel deposited by wave action along the shoreline of Lake Agassiz at various times as the lake level rose and fell. The sand and gravel soils, combined with the relatively steep slopes of the area can be susceptible to erosion.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 13 local governments with funds to complete 143 projects. More information is available in the detail reports below.
Lambert Creek discharges into Vadnais Lake, the final impoundment reservoir containing the potable water supply for the city of St. Paul and eight nearby suburbs. Monitoring data indicates high nutrient levels and the creek is listed by the State as having high bacterial levels. In-stream work along Lambert Creek has been maximized with restoration improvements achieving nutrient load reduction. The next step to further improve water quality is to concentrate on restoration efforts on a subwatershed level.
Improving stormwater management in Grand Marais is a priority for the community. The Cook County Comprehensive Water Plan identifies water quality and quantity concerns related to residential development include increased runoff from roads, parking areas, roofs, etc. into Lake Superior.
The Clearwater Lake Chain has elevated nutrient levels which lead to poor water quality. The City of Kimball and surrounding agricultural area drains, mostly untreated, into a trout stream which empties into the Clearwater River Chain of Lakes.
Lambert Creek is wholly within the Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Area. Vadnais Lake is the drinking water reservoir for the City of St. Paul and surrounding communities. Lambert Creek has elevated bacteria and nutrient levels and water quality in Vadnais Lake will not improve unless there is a reduction in the phosphorus loading from Lambert Creek.
Bejou, Shoe and Dahlberg lakes are located in the upper reaches of one of the most popular fisheries in the region, the Cormorant Lakes chain.
Water quality issues impacting Bejou Lake were identified through the use of aerial photography. Results determined that a significant amount of sediment was being deposited into Bejou Lake from the 84 acre adjacent watershed. Several areas where water, sediment and erosion control basins could greatly reduce the amounts of sediments being delivered to the lake were identified.
The goal of this project is to offer grant funding to boat marinas located in Washington County on the St. Croix River to complete water quality improvement projects. St. Croix marinas own large amounts of shoreline plus there are roads, parking areas, buildings, and garages. These all produce runoff that drains directly into the St. Croix River. Marinas also often include pollution hotspots due to the presence of boat fueling areas.
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.
This project will provide baseline data through water monitoring, recording and analyzing the results of six unassessed rivers/tributaries, three unassessed lakes and five storm water outlets in the city of Mora which drain to the Snake River; promote and implement approved BMP’s.
The Comfort Lake Forest Lake Watershed includes numerous private ditches and partially drained wetlands which are a priority for mapping, assessment and restoration. The project will include the mapping and assessment of all drained and partially drained wetlands in the watershed. In addition, a web-based GIS system will be developed to inventory, assess, target and track the effectiveness of various conservation practices towards the attainment of water quality goals.
Installation of erosion control structures to eliminate or reduce the effects of gullies is a high priority due to the large amount of sediment they have contributed to the Red Lake River. The high sediment loading is affecting water quality, aquatic life, downstream water supply sources and recreational use of the Red Lake River.
BWSR will administer funding to eligible County projects that provide funds and other assistance to low income property owners to upgrade or replace Noncompliant Septic Systems. BWSR will also manage annual reporting completed by each County.
Gorman Lake has elevated nutrient levels and drains into the Cannon River. This project will provide a subgrant to the Gorman Lake Association to install a two-tiered retention pond to reduce both phosphorus and peak flow from a drainage ditch from reaching Gorman Lake. Project partners include three agricultural producers, the Le Sueur Soil and Water Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Green Streets for Blue Waters is a collaborative effort to install curb cut raingardens and other stormwater management practices within public right of way and on private lands. The project development was funded by the City of Bloomington and the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District, who worked with Metro Blooms to identify the project area and goals.
Comfort Lake is one of Chisago county's largest recreational lakes. Comfort Lake is of regional significance with public access for boating, fishing and swimming. A pollution reduction study was conducted for the lake because of decreasing water quality. This study identified highly urban areas as one of the sources of nutrients.
This project is concentrated in the Hay Creek Watershed, a 24-square-mile area in Becker County that features several high-quality lakes including Stinking Lake, valued for high-quality waterfowl habitat and flood water storage. Protecting the lake has been a local priority.
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.
In partnership with the Chisago Lakes Lake Improvement District, subwatershed assessments for the communities of Center City, Lindstrom and Chisago City, all within the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes watershed have been completed. The tourism economy of these communities depends on the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes.
In partnership with the Washington Conservation District and City of Woodbury, this project will improve water quality in Colby Lake through implementing 30 priority small-scale water quality conservation practices. Projects may include bioretention, vegetated swales and pond modifications. Priority projects were identified as part of the Colby Lake Watershed Retrofit Assessment and represent the most cost-effective means to reduce excess phosphorus loads that have impacted Colby Lake.
Green Lake is a popular and regionally significant lake. Monitoring data collected on Green Lake indicates that the lake's water quality is declining. Over recent decades, development in the City of Spicer and around Green Lake has increased dramatically, resulting in much higher percentages of impervious surfaces such as parking lots, driveways and roads. The resulting increase in runoff velocities and volumes require the incorporation of stormwater infrastructure to accommodate water that previously infiltrated soils.
This water quality improvement project involves the retrofit of county ditch #31 also known as Connelly Ditch. The capacity of the ditch is inadequate and there is a need to reduce sediment and peak flows to it.
The Crow River is known to be one of the highest nutrient loading watersheds in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Years of water quality monitoring confirm a variety of water quality issues in drainage ditches. These include high nutrient loading and delivery of high levels of suspended solids to downstream receiving waters such as Diamond Lake which is negatively impacted for elevated phosphorus levels.
Agricultural drain tiles with surface intakes are considered a significant delivery mechanism of nutrients to Minnesota River. Protecting those surface water inlets can reduce the direct path those nutrients have to the river. In addition, in agricultural fields with subsurface drainage, leached nitrate creates elevated nitrate levels in tile drainage water. These high nitrate concentrations can cause algae blooms that remove oxygen. To help remove nitrates leached into tile drains, wood chip bioreactors can be installed to remove nitrate from the tile water before it enters surface water.
As the City of Wadena is being re-built after an EF4 tornado, it has become evident that more needs to be done to reduce runoff by retaining or diverting stormwater. The purpose of this project is to provide subgrants to citizens to install various conservation practices on their properties including grassed waterways, rain gardens and tree plantings. Through this subgrant program the citizens of Wadena will have a greater understanding of the importance of stormwater management.
In collaboration with the University of Minnesota St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, City of Stillwater and MN DNR Waters and Fisheries an iron-enhanced sand filter will be designed. This filter will remove approximately 118 pounds of total phosphorous per year from an area of Stillwater that ultimately drains to the St. Croix River, a national Wild and Scenic River that has a decling water quality trend.
The Kettle River is a major tributary in the St. Croix River Basin. It is a State Wild and Scenic River and designated canoe route. Reducing sediment and nutrient pollution to the Kettle will protect water quality within the watershed and will also benefit the St. Croix River and help to address excess nutrient loading in Lake St. Croix. This project is a partnership between Carlton, Pine, Kanabec, and Aitkin SWCDs, with the Carlton SWCD acting as the project administrator.
The Knife River is a state protected water and a Designated Trout Stream. It is nationally known as a prime fresh-water steelhead fishery and is managed as a cold-water trout fishery for native species including brook trout. The Knife River is characterized by steep gradients, multiple water-falls and cascades, tea-colored water, and remnant old-growth forest cover types including white pine, Norway pine and white cedar.
Lake Seven is located in Otter Tail County and is a waterbody of statewide significance, often leading the north central hardwoods forest ecoregion in water clarity. Lake Seven has also been identified by DNR Fisheries staff as one of 77 refuge lakes with the potential to maintain tulibee populations into the future given sufficent watershed protection and the only one in Otter Tail County.
Boy and Swift Lakes are connected lakes on the Boy River, the major tributary stream to Leech Lake. In cooperation with funding from the Boy/Swift Lake Association and the Initiative Foundation Healthy Lakes and Rivers program, this project will result in Subsurface Treatment System (SSTS) compliance inspections on up to 290 properties on Boy Lake and 69 on Swift Lake. The project will also result in an SSTS record review and inventory of all properties on the two lakes.
Lake Bronson State Park is one of only a handful of state parks in the Northwest corner of Minnesota. The Friends of the Lake Bronson State Park met with Watershed District staff to explore how to improve the water quality of the lake. The lake is subject to sediment and nutrient loading from several upstream ditches. A significant algae bloom during July of each year, at the height of the seasonal use of the lake, is most likely due to the current inflow conditions.
This project supports the planning, coordination and civic engagement/outreach components of the Leech Lake River Major Watershed project. Phase 1 will focus towards the development of project teams, identifying stakeholders, developing an initial civic engagement strategic plan and reviewing current and past watershed project data. Phase II of this project will focus on source assessment, running of watershed modeling scenarios, lake protection planning, stressor identification and the continuation of the Civic Engagement components of the project.
Lily Lake, near Stillwater, is a popular recreational spot for residents with its swimming beach, fishing pier, and canoe access. Lily Lake's water quality is declining because of excess nutrients. Restoring it is a priority for the community of Stillwater.