The goal of this project is to perform water quality monitoring and load calculation duties to accomplish MPCA's Watershed Pollutant Load Monitoring Network monitoring efforts at seven sites for the Redwood and Cottonwood River watersheds as well as the Minnesota River site near Morton.
Currently, over 235 miles of open ditch are under the jurisdiction of the Brown County Ditch Authority. A majority of Brown County public ditches drain into large, impaired rivers including the Minnesota River (Turbidity), Cottonwood River (Turbidity/Fecal Coliform), Little Cottonwood River (Turbidity/Fecal Coliform) and Watonwan River (Turbidity/Fecal Coliform). Thus far the Brown County Drainage Authority has been inventorying ditches as requested for repair by residents in the ditch system.
This project will establish a framework with County, Soil and Water Conservation District and watershed staff that will outline their involvement throughout the development of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) for the Cottonwood River and Redwood River watersheds.
The Cottonwood River watershed is one of the last remaining watersheds to complete Cycle I of the Watershed Restoration & Protections Strategies (WRAPS) process. The scope of this project upon completion is have two reports developed; a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies report and a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the entire watershed.
This project will support a civic engagement cohort that will be offered in southwest Minnesota to foster partnering and build capacity of local government, organizations, and residents for effective civic engagement in water protection and restoration. This project will also build networks and the skill set of local resource professionals to do effective civic engagement work for water restoration and protection. The cohort will be administered through the Minnesota River Board (MRB), established in 1995 with a goal of focusing water management efforts on the local level.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) along with Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Counties, landowners, and drainage authorities in the ten member counties will install conservation drainage practices to improve water quality. 103E drainage systems with documented sediment or water quality issues are the focus with the goal of installing 52 practices such as improved side inlets (grade stabilization structures), alternative tile inlets, denitrifying bioreactors, saturated buffers, storage wetlands and others.
In 2017 and 2018, Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) will collect water chemistry samples from the 10 lakes and 24 stream sites identified in the Redwood and Cottonwood River watersheds. Six samples will be collected at 10 lakes from May through September in 2017; five samples will be collected at 5 lakes in 2018 from May through September. Eleven samples will be collected at each of the 24 stream sites following the Basic Regime in 2017. Sixteen samples at each stream site will be collected in 2017 and 2018 following the E.coli monitoring regime.
Approximately 70 percent of all Minnesotans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Wells used for drinking water must be properly sealed when removed from service to protect both public health and Minnesota’s invaluable groundwater resources. The Minnesota Department of Health protects both public health and groundwater by assuring the proper sealing of unused wells.
Clean Water funds are being provided to well owners as a 50% cost-share assistance for sealing unused public water-supply wells.
This project will further assess the water quality within Brown County by monitoring its rivers, streams, ditches and other waterbodies. This project will also be working in cooperation with individual volunteers to perform grab samples and visual assessments of seven waterbodies throughout Brown County.