Vegetated buffer and filter strips along waterways is a practice that addresses many surface water concerns. Establishing permanent vegetation along waterways is an implementation priority in the Blue Earth County Water Management Plan and required by local ordinance and Minnesota Rules. Minnesota Shoreland Rules, Chapter 6120 and the County Shoreland Ordinance contain standards for agricultural uses in shoreland. Agricultural uses are permitted in shoreland areas if steep slopes and shore and bluff impact zones are maintained in permanent vegetation.
Ravine, stream bank and bluff erosion contribute significant amounts of sediment to rivers and streams. The MPCA report, Identifying sediment sources in the Minnesota River Basin, found the Blue Earth and Le Sueur watersheds contribute as such as half of the sediment to the Minnesota River, even though they account for only one-fifth of its drainage area. These watersheds contain the majority of the bluffs in the basin as well as many large
Enrollment of private lands in conservation programs can provide important natural resource and other public benefits by taking the lands out of production so that they can provide various wildlife and ecological benefits. This appropriation is enabling Minnesota's Board of Soil and Water Resources to provide grants to local soil and water conservation districts for employment of technical staff to assist private landowners in implementing conservation programs.
This project will assist farmers across Southeast Minnesota by providing guidance on management of nutrient sources including livestock manure, commercial fertilizers, and legumes. This project is important because excess nutrients and bacteria are causing negative impacts to the quality of waters. Two Nutrient Management Specialists will work one-on-one with farmers to develop 70 plans each year. Over time, it is anticipated that the number of new nutrient management plans will decrease as acres with plans increase.
PROJECT OVERVIEW The Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Wetlands Reserve Program restores wetlands and grasslands through the purchase of permanent conservation easements on privately owned land. The easements limit future land use and put conservation plans in place for future management. The Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources is using this appropriation to accelerate the RIM Wetlands Reserve Program resulting in additional permanently protected wetlands and grasslands throughout the state.
The lack of sewage treatment in some small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Fourteen of these communities will be the target of the technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes discharging raw sewage directly into the environment;surfacing sewage or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
Turbidity and sediment yield from the Le Sueur River watershed to the Minnesota River is a problem. Studies have shown that 200,000 tons/yr come from non-field sources and 25,000 tons/yr come from field sources. With this grant we will develop strategies to reduce sediment yield from the Freeborn County Cobb River Ditch subwatershed.
The Sauk River watershed was selected to participate in the federal Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) program in 2010 to decrease nutrient contributions to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The MRBI program provides federal cost share funds to landowners to install conservation practices.