South Central Technical Service Area (SCTSA) will use this Clean Water Fund grant to provide Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other local organizations in its eleven-county area with a Geographic Information System (GIS) Technician to assist in using available GIS information to target specific locations where Best Management Practices (BMPs) can be installed to help improve water quality.
The goal is to facilitate strategic networking, learning, and implementation in targeted groups to assess, build, and leverage community capacity (i.e. community resources and values) to increase best management practice (BMP) adoption to restore and protect water quality in the Blue Earth River watershed
The nine member Counties and Soil and Water Conservation Districts of the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) will be able to enhance our effectiveness to provide elevated levels of technical assistance, education and outreach in the areas of urban stormwater, wellhead protection, nutrient management, conservation agronomy, drainage and agricultural best management practices to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Blue Earth, Le Sueur and Watonwan River Watersheds.
On behalf of the Metropolitan Council, Environmental Financial Group Inc. generated a matrix of water conservation programs with detailed information about the costs and benefits of the programs. Tools were also developed to allow users to calculate potential water savings, estimate program implementation costs, and test the effects of various water conservation programs and rate structures.
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 goal of this project is to create a contact strategy for community/landowner opportunities, obstacles, and opinions on land management and water quality that will result in the identification of restoration and protection strategies for the East Fork Des Moines River watershed.
This project will gather long term watershed data necessary for assessment, stressor identification work, and Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) development work for Elm Creek and the Blue Earth Watershed.
Martin County has 149 lakes and several are impacted by elevated phosphorus levels. Restoring the water quality of these lakes is a priority for county. In partnership with Minnesota Waters, Barr Engineering and the University of Minnesota Extension, this project specifically aims to educate residents about the threats to Martin County water resources. The goal is to engage residents in protecting and improving the quality and management of the lakes by establishing a minimum of four lake associations within the county.
This project will improve water quality in the nutrient impaired Fairmont Chain of Lakes. These 5 lakes are a surface water drinking water source for a City of over 10,000 people. Phase one of this multi-phase water quality restoration project focuses on installing 12 targeted agricultural best management practices such as bioreactors, saturated buffers and grassed waterways and will reduce nitrogen by over 1,000 pounds per year, sediment by over 130 tons per year, and phosphorus by over 200 pounds per year.
The purpose of this project is to develop a framework to implement best management practices (BMPs) on ditches in headwater areas utilizing a partnership between drainage staff and the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA). By replacing failing side-inlets with an alternative design, we can make strides towards our water quality and water quantity goals. The alternative inlets serve to prevent sediment and phosphorus from washing downstream and the design can also alleviate peak flows by temporarily storing stormwater.
Minnesota statutes and pre-design costs can prevent conservation practices from being explored earlier during the analysis of public improvements to watersheds. With a large increase in the requests for drainage improvements, the Martin County Drainage Authority feels that planning assistance for conservation practices earlier in the process will give these practices a better opportunity for implementation as part of repair and improvement projects.
Martin SWCD is proposing to monitor three lakes sites and three stream sites in the East Fork Des Moines River watershed. The lake sites will be monitored by kayak and the stream sites will be monitored from the shore. Sites will be analyzed for field conditions and water chemistry.
Martin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is proposing to monitor six lakes sites and two stream sites in the Blue Earth River watershed. The lake sites will be monitored by kayak and the stream sites will be monitored from the shore. Sites will be analyzed for field conditions and water chemistry. Martin SWCD will subcontract with Faribault SWCD to monitor fourteen stream sites and with Blue Earth SWCD to monitor one lake site and three stream sites.
The Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead on implementing conservation practices that protect water quality. Those who implement and maintain approved conservation practices will be certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. This program will help address concerns about changing regulatory requirements from multiple state and federal agencies.
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.
The objective of this project is to manage streambanks and floodplains along Elm Creek in Martin County in order to improve water quality and reduce erosion. Elm Creek flows into the Blue Earth River, which flows into the Minnesota River. Elm Creek is currently listed as impaired for fish bioassessments, turbidity, and fecal coliform.
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 with the assistance of the Board of Water and Soil Resources protects both public health and groundwater by assuring the proper sealing of unused wells.”
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin is a large area within the Watonwan, Le Sueur, and Blue Earth River watersheds. Recent research by University of Minnesota, the National Center for Earth Dynamics, and others has found this basin to be the largest contributor of sediment to Lake Pepin.
Monitor nitrate online and SCADA interface with alarm to avoid MCL exceedance and use aerators to mix source water to improve water quality. Purchase direct current batteries to use solar power for surface mixers to aid in algae reduction.
Imminent Health Threat (IHT) systems are those that are discharging improperly treated human waste onto the ground surface or into surface waters. In addition to the potential water quality impacts, untreated sewage has the potential to introduce bacteria and viruses into the environment. When IHT systems are identified, county or city staff assist the homeowners through the process required to bring their systems into compliance with the septic ordinance.
This area of the Minnesota River Basin has been identified as contributing significant amounts of sediment to the watershed. The primary cause of the sediment is from gullies and ravines. This project by the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) continues efforts begun with FY2011 Clean Water Funds. Using data collected through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and LiDAR, GERBA will install best management practices to address severe ravines and gullies in targeted specific locations.
To be able to manage resources in the Blue Earth and Le Sueur Watersheds into the future and have a positive effect on water quality, resource managers need high quality accurate data to support decision making of best management practice (BMP) implementation. Digital elevation data is a valuable resource for modeling water flow, however in its current state it cannot represent water conveyance through features such as roadways. These flow barriers limit the accurate use of data for recently developed targeting tools identifying BMP suitability and effectiveness down to the field scale.
The Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA), a nine County/SWCD JPO has identified buffers as a basin priority. This initiative will work towards the goal of identifying all DNR protected shoreland in the GBERBA counties without a 50 foot vegetative buffer. Buffer strips protect surface and groundwater from a multitude of pollutants. During stormwater run off events buffers can remove between 50 and 100 percent of nutrients, pesticides, pathogens, and sediment. The estimated sediment reduction for this project is 756 tons per year prevented from entering our waters.
The Metropolitan Council, in conjunction with CDM Smith and HKGi consultants, reorganized and expanded the water conservation tools on the water supply planning pages of the Metropolitan Council’s website. The revised toolbox was organized into an online, web-based guide format. These tools are supplemented with fact sheets and case studies that serve to educate and provide useful information to support water conservation programs and activities.
The Watonwan Watershed Technician will provide highly focused targeting of conservation programs and practices. The technician will enhance current staff capabilities in the Watonwan watershed by collecting landowner contact information from previous studies and GIS methods, produce mass mailings about funding opportunities, and meet one-on-one with landowners to discuss their conservation concerns. The technician will implement 45 projects/practices over a three year period.
With the completion of LiDAR data in southern Minnesota, it is imperative to use this data as effectively as possible. In order to do so, the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA) will contract with a vendor to complete a Geographic Information System (GIS) terrain analysis in subsheds of the Watonwan River watershed. This inventory will utilize the State of Minnesota LiDAR elevation datasets to create many GIS datasets by spatially analyzing the elevation data.