This project targets retrofit stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) on public land to assist partnering Local Government Units (LGUs) achieve water quality goals identified in local stormwater plans. The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) provides technical assistance and distributes Clean Water Funding (CWF) to leverage local funding through its time-proven Stormwater Retrofit Partnership (Partnership) cost share program.
This project is a continuation of the Dakota County Community Initiative, which has received Clean Water Funds in 2012 and 2013. It will provide cost share funding to organizations and associations who voluntarily construct medium sized water quality best management practices (BMPs) in Dakota County.
This project will use the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District's existing Conservation Initiative Funding program to provide technical assistance and monetary incentives for targeted, medium-sized projects such as raingardens, bioinfiltration, biofiltration, bioswales, shoreline stabilizations, and other best management practices (BMPs). Project proposals will be solicited from faith based organizations, homeowner associations, school organizations, lake associations, and others that own or manage large areas of land.
With limited funds and limited staff time available for targeting critical service areas and implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs), Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tools that pinpoint locations where BMPs will have the highest effectiveness are increasingly important. The Blue Earth County/SWCD Watershed Implementation Targeting project will utilize LiDAR topographic data to determine areas of high importance for BMP implementation. The county is located in the Blue Earth, LeSueur, Watonwan and Middle Minnesota watersheds where there is a high density of impaired waters.
The Cannon River Watershed is a diverse watershed from the standpoint of topography, land use, and land cover, but a central issue of concern is increased sedimentation and turbidity within the river. One of the best ways to keep sediment from entering the Cannon River is to install vegetative buffers on the smaller tributaries in the upper reaches of the watershed. This project is important as it aims to help identify strategic locations where buffers are needed and to assist landowners to install buffers that will directly help reduce sedimentation within the watershed.
Once thought to have an essentially inexhaustible groundwater supply, Minnesotans are now realizing our rates of use are regionally unsustainable. Recent advanced modeling by the MN DNR and Metropolitan Council of aquifer supplies, in conjunction with predicted demand, indicate the major metropolitan area aquifers are currently subject to extraction rates that exceed recharge. Simply stated, we are mining our groundwater.
Le Sueur County has completed water quality assessments of its lakes, which are on the impaired waters list for excess nutrients. The Francis Rays Sakatah Tetonka Lakes Septic Inventory project will complete up to 400 shoreland septic compliance inspections, create an ArcMap GIS layer, create community assessment reports on priority areas and provide education and outreach to the public through informational meetings and website development. The project will also jump-start upgrading non-compliant septic systems.
The German-Jefferson Subordinate Service District Board (board) completed a voluntary septic inventory through the Clean Water Fund in 2013. 344 out of 754 parcels participated in the inventory. Approximately 50% of the septic systems were found to be non-compliant with MN Rules Chapter 7080. That project included an assessment of septic systems on non-participating properties that identified eleven priority areas in populated communities with small lots. Three community feasibility studies out of the eleven priority areas were conducted.
The goal of the Lake Volney Targeted Restoration project is to improve the water quality draining to Lake Volney, which is impaired for excess nutrients. The project contains eight priority areas and will install a variety of Best Management Practices, including stormwater basins, ag retention, wetland enhancement, and more.
Ensuring natural resource practitioners are applying state-of-the-art approaches is the best way to achieve optimum Best Management Practice (BMP) selection, design, and placement in the landscape, thereby maximizing Clean Water Fund (CWF) benefits. To that end, it is critical to train new staff, create modeling protocols for new BMPs, refine and calibrate models, and test ever-advancing modeling applications.
The Cannon River Watershed includes approximately 941,000 acres of primarily agricultural landscape. Because of its large size, four subwatershed lobes are often referenced: Straight River Watershed, Upper Cannon River Watershed, Middle Cannon River Watershed, and the Lower Cannon River Watershed. Rice County is proposing utilizing LiDAR topographic data to determine areas of highest importance for Best Management Practice (BMP) Implementation for sediment within the Middle and Lower Cannon subwatersheds.
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.
Through this project, the North Cannon River Watershed Management Organization (NCRWMO) works cooperatively with the Dakota Soil and Water Conservation District (DSWCD) and landowners to establish best management practices (BMPs) that reduce runoff and decrease the movement of sediment, nutrients, and pollutants into the Cannon River and its tributaries including, Trout Brook, Chub Creek, and Pine Creek.
Regionally, nitrate nitrogen concentrations are continuing to increase in both surface water and ground water based on monitoring data. The increasing trends are thought to be attributable to over application of manure and commercial nutrients on row-cropped fields. In order for nitrate concentrations to decrease, nutrient management is needed throughout the basin. Two nutrient management specialists will assist landowners in the eleven-county Southeast Minnesota Area with writing nutrient management plans and implementing conservation practices for manure and fertilizer use.
The goal of this project is to better target restoration activities in the Cannon River watershed via a paleolimnological study of a selected set of the lakes addressed in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the watershed. The goals are to better constrain lake phosphorus budgets, and determine the magnitude of ecological change experienced by a range of lake types.
This project will engage the public and community partners in Rice County. The goal of this project is the implementation of conservation practices that retain water on the land by providing up to five sub-grants for rain gardens, vegetative buffers, and wetland restorations.
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.
Over the past two years, Dakota County has learned that many properties within the city do not have septic system records identifying the presence or condition of their septic system, and anecdotal evidence that some are failing. The County will use CWF Accelerated Implementation Grant dollars to inventory and inspect all septic systems within the City of Randolph. As part of the inspection, a well inventory will also be conducted. Based on a preliminary assessment, there are 105 properties that will require inspection.
Shattuck Saint Mary's, located atop of a bluff area upland of the east bank of the Straight River, encompasses a land area of 324 acres that contains over 16,426 miles of mild to extensively eroded ravines and gullies; many of which directly discharge to the Straight River. In addition to pollutant loads in runoff from the school's watershed and eroded ravines, banks and gullies, the Straight River also experiences pollutant loading from eroding stream banks in this reach; annual sediment loads average 1,962 tons per year.
The lack of sewage treatment in many small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Ten of these small communities will be the target of the technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes which are discharging raw sewage directly into the environment, surfacing sewage, or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
The lack of sewage treatment in many small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Fourteen of these small communities will receive technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes which are discharging raw sewage directly to the environment, surfacing sewage, or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
Spring Park watershed is over 225 acres. Most of the watershed has been fully developed into a variety of residential, commercial, and institutional land uses. Project funds would be utilized to conduct a watershed analysis with the goal of identifying pollutant load sources and potential areas for structural stormwater BMPs for future retro-fit projects to reduce instances of localized flooding, reduce peak storm flows, and improve the quality of stormwater runoff discharging into Crocker's Creek.
The project will develop, adopt, and implement an agricultural erosion control ordinance for Steele County. Project funds will be used to hire a consultant to assist in this endeavor to gather input from citizens, organize meetings and develop a draft ordinance. County staff will assist with organizing meetings, holding hearings, and the formal process of adopting the developed ordinance.
Rice County Water Resources Division will complete a Surface Water Assessment for six lakes located in the Cannon River Watershed. The lakes chosen include: Sprague Lake (66-0045-00), Mud Lake (66-0054-00), Hatch Lake (66-0063-00), Pooles Lake (66-0046-00), Logue Lake (66-0057-00), and Phelps Lake (66-0062-00). Each lake chosen is currently unassessed, and both Sprague and Mud lake are priority lakes for testing. Sampling will include testing dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, Secchi, Total phosphorus, and chlorophyll-a. The samples will be taken by volunteers and paid staff.
This project will improve surface water quality within the sediment degraded Trout Brook, a designated trout stream and tributary to the Cannon River. The project will focus on the installation of best management practices that will reduce the amount of sediment transport within the watershed. Approximately 20 practices will be installed through this project which will reduce an estimated 2,000 tons of sediment per year.
The Cannon River is a designated Wild and Scenic River that originates in Rice County and joins the Mississippi River 120 miles downstream near Red Wing. The Upper Cannon, which encompasses 29% of the entire watershed, has been identified as a priority subwatershed.
The purpose of this project is to complete subwatershed analysis for Cannon River and Vermillion River sub-watersheds to prioritize and target Best Management Practices based on cost-effectiveness with regard to pollutant reduction. This process is intended to proactively assist local water management and partner agencies in maximizing the value of each dollar spent to improve water quality in the respective rivers.