The Faribault Soil and Water Conservation District will provide mini-grants to conservation-conscious community organizations who voluntarily construct best management practices that provide storage and treatment of stormwater runoff at its source.
These funds are being used to systematically collect data and produce statistically valid estimates of the rate of soil erosion and tracking the adoption of high residue cropping systems in in the 67 counties with greater than 30% land in agricultural row crop production. Designed to establish a long term program in Minnesota to collect data and produce county, watershed, and state wide estimates of soil erosion caused by water and wind along with tracking adoption of conservation measures to address erosion.
These funds are being used to systematically collect data and produce statistically valid estimates of the rate of soil erosion and tracking the adoption of high residue cropping systems in counties with greater than 30% land in agricultural row crop production. Designed to establish a long term program in Minnesota to collect data and produce county, watershed, and state wide estimates of soil erosion caused by water and wind along with tracking adoption of conservation measures to address erosion.
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
This project will utilize a systematic approach to identify principal sources, or “hot-spots”, of sediment contributions and work with individual landowners, county drainage officials, and municipalities to coordinate and implement critical Best Management Practices (BMP’s), establish demonstration sites, and provide education and outreach efforts. This project will also establish baseline watershed data with the addition of site specific information, and determine high priority watersheds. Appropriate practices will be identified and mapped utilizing GPS and GIS equipment and software.
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.
Nearly 700 miles of open water flow through Faribault County's borders. Over one-third of these miles are artificial drainage systems. Artificial drainage systems are necessary to remove excess precipitation and improve the productivity of agricultural land, however they also have a direct effect on the water quality and quantity of receiving waterbodies. With limited resources available to manage these systems, innovative and efficient management tools will play a critical role in targeting improvements for water quality.
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 East Branch Blue Earth River is currently negatively impacted and has been shown to contribute disproportionately high sediment loads to the Minnesota River. With limited funds available for implementing conservation practices, targeting tools to pinpoint locations where conservation practices have the highest effectiveness are increasingly important. Innovative use of technology can help streamline these targeting procedures.
At the public drainage system scale, Faribault County will develop comprehensive Multipurpose Drainage Management Plans that focus on traditional and innovative conservation practices to reduce on-field and in-channel peak flow and erosion with enhanced water quality and wildlife habitat benefits. Planning will occur in conjunction with an established Redetermination of Benefits (ROB) schedule or as initiated through the petition process.
Faribault County Soil and Water Conservation District will develop a mini-grant program to partner with area non-profits, community groups and lake associations to implement stormwater management practices that will intercept, treat, filtrate and/or infiltrate runoff that will reduce phosphorus and sediment loads into high priority and TMDL impaired waters in Faribault County. This program would provide cost-share and technical assistance to enable these organizations to go beyond planning and take action to protect our water resources.
The Faribault County Soil and Water Conservation District Drainage Engineer will inventory public drainage ditches to identify priority systems and areas where erosion, sediment, and nutrients contribute to water quality degradation. Sites identified for potential side inlet control, buffer strip need, or water storage will be prioritized for landowner contact and follow through by seeking external funding opportunities.
Working with a consultant, a current online database to manage public drainage systems will be enhanced and a corresponding mobile inspection app will be developed to facilitate drainage compliance and improve inspection planning. With these improvements, a long-term, comprehensive, GIS-compatible database will be in place to help plan, collect, document, summarize, and analyze system condition, repair needs, and violations with the overall goal of protecting and improving water quality.
Provide education, outreach and civic engagement necessary for the development of structural and non-structural best management practices needed to improve water quality within the Greater Blue Earth River Basin. General Education will have a regional focus to landowners. Outreach effort will be focused on regional officials, staff and landowners. Civic engagement efforts will have a smaller watershed scale focus with efforts resulting in structural BMPs being placed on the land and non-structural BMPs being adopted. Implementation of structural best management practices on the land.
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.
Faribault County Soil and Water Conservation District will develop two watershed plans using charettes, an intensive planning process used to engage citizens, conservation agencies, and others to collaborate on a vision for the development of a drainage watershed scale plan. The process allows landowners, producers, businesses, townships, cities and the county to partake in a comprehensive plan directly relating back to concerns and solutions related to surface water and nonpoint source pollution.
This project will provide additional monitoring data to be utilized in the watershed assessment process for the Le Sueur River Watershed Project. Monitoring will take place for an additional year at two sites along the Maple River.
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.
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.
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.