With over 500 public water lakes in Becker County, we are blessed with abundant and diverse lake resources that, like those of much of lake country, are at risk of degradation due to increasing development pressures, redevelopment of non-conforming lots, rising stormwater runoff and land use changes within their watersheds.
The Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program identifies environmental contaminants for which current health-based standards currently do not exist or need to be updated, investigate the potential for human exposure to these chemicals, and develop guidance values for drinking water. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff include contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.
Pasture and hayland account for 62% of the agricultural land use in Clearwater County. In 2012, it was the 12th largest producer of beef cattle in Minnesota. In a county where 22% of pasture/hayland acres are within 300 feet of riparian areas, management practices need to be introduced that enhance rather than restrict the farm operations that use these zones for their livelihood. Clearwater County's Silver Creek and Ruffy Brook are currently listed as impaired by fecal coliform.
The goal of this project is to engage citizens in local watershed monitoring, work with regional partners to promote understanding and protection of watersheds, and organize and facilitate gathering of scientific data for the benefit of water quality in the Red River Basin.
The purpose of this project is to improve understanding of primary productivity in the Red River and the diversity and population structure of the algal communities occurring along the river system. This will be accomplished through taxonomic identification of periphyton and phytoplankton assemblages necessary for characterizing responses to nutrient gradients along the Red River of the North.
An effective regulatory program is key to the successful implementation of local land use and water management plans. Yet, county, watershed, and other state, tribal, and local agencies charged with enforcement and permit review often work in silos and infrequently coordinate with each other or share information. This leads to higher enforcement costs, conflicts between agencies, redundancy of inspections, property owner frustration, and reinforces negative stereotypes of regulatory agencies.
The South Branch Wild Rice Sediment Reduction Project will implement 45 erosion control structures and 40 acres of filter strips to reduce sediment loading to the South Branch of the Wild Rice River in Becker County. Sediment leaving the project area contributes to water quality impairments downstream where Total Suspended Solids (TSS) are affecting aquatic life and aquatic recreation. This project is projected to reduce sediment loads leaving the project area by 26% and reduce TSS in the Lower Wild Rice River by 7%.