The Wright SWCD applied for, and received, a Soil Erosion and Drainage Law Compliance grant in 2015. This grant was used to inventory Joint Ditch 15 (JD 15) for areas that could benefit from the installation of Side Inlet Control Structures (SICS) and vegetated buffer strips (buffers). JD 15 is known to have areas of significant erosion that effect both benefited landowners as well as a number of impaired waters downstream. The impaired downstream waters include Sucker Creek, Cokato Lake, and the North Fork Crow River. The JD 15 Inventory was completed during the summer of 2015.
The Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District will hire an Accelerated Water Quality Technician to focus on projects in the Middle Sauk area showing the greatest pollution reductions. After identifying and prioritizing targeted sites with the highest pollution potential, the Stearns County SWCD will begin surveys and designs and complete them in a timely fashion while current implementation funds are available. The accelerated survey and design in Stearns County will relieve our natural resources of the current strain put on them by the environment and land use.
The Wright County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will implement a targeted fertilizer application program in the Ann Lake watershed, allowing producers to measure soil fertility and apply needed fertilizer more accurately, preventing over-application and consequent runoff of nutrients, especially phosphorus, into surface waters. Phosphorus reduction will help meet the goals of the County's Water Management Plan and the TMDL implementation plan for Ann Lake.
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.
The Wright Soil and Water Conservation District has partnered with the Crow River Organization of Waters (CROW) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on phase two of this comprehensive sediment reduction project to focus on stabilizing five of the most active gully erosion sites in targeted subwatersheds on the North Fork Crow River, as well as use the installed best management practices to help promote future conservation practices.
The Wright Soil and Water Conservation District (Wright SWCD) has partnered with the Crow River Organization of Waters (CROW), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Wright County Planning and Zoning on this bacterial impairment reduction project to bring feedlot operations into compliance in the targeted North Fork Crow River (NFCR) impaired Unnamed Creek watershed. An analysis of the NFCR TMDL for Bacteria, Nutrients, and Turbidity was done to determine the area to be prioritized for further review of livestock operations in order to reduce the E.
The Wright Soil and Water Conservation District has partnered with the Crow River Organization of Water and the Natural Resources Conservation Service on phase three of a comprehensive sediment reduction project that focuses on stabilizing seven of the most active gully erosion sites on the North Fork Crow River. These seven areas were chosen due to the high level of turbidity and low dissolved oxygen within that stretch of the North Fork Crow River, which has led to biological and turbidity impairments.
The Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District is home to many natural resource organizations, all of which have a vested interest in the quality of local and regional resources. The District will provide financial assistance in the format of sub-grants to local partners to implement Best Management Practices to improve water quality.
Diamond Lake and its neighboring lakes feature numerous public water accesses, resorts, parks, and trails and are supported by the recreational and aesthetic values that good water quality provides. In 2006, Diamond Lake was placed on MPCA's List of Impaired Waters. Improving water quality in Diamond Lake to meet state standards is a top-ranking priority for the district.
The Sauk River Watershed District (SRWD) is the drainage authority for Stearns and Pope Counties. The SRWD manages 12 public drainage systems totaling over 90 miles. The majority of the public systems provide drainage for agricultural land uses and were constructed in the early 1900s.
The Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program identifies environmental contaminants for which current health-based standards currently do not exist or need to be updated, investigate the potential for human exposure to these chemicals, and develop guidance values for drinking water. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff include contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.
The Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District will conduct a river assessment to determine the scope of eroding riverbanks and a stormwater modeling project to identify targeted locations for stormwater management. The river assessment will: 1) verify that streambank erosion is the major contributor of pollutants, including sediment, Phosphorus, and Nitrogen; 2) catalog and quantify the erosion, and; 3) provide an assessment of reductions that could be achieved using specific solutions.
McLeod County will create an inspection database for 103E ditches under their drainage authority. The County will acquire a database software solution to conduct field inspections and to track ditch maintenance projects. This software will be used to facilitate statutory compliance including developing a process for completing the annual inspection and reporting requirements. The project will lead to improving the County's data management capabilities and better identification of drainage system needs that could lead to helping improve water courses that are impaired for turbidity.
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 District is seeking to further its goals of meeting multipurpose drainage management requirements under its obligations as a 103E drainage authority. Judicial Ditch 1 is the largest system in the District, and proportionally one of the largest contributors of sediment and nutrients to the downstream reaches of the North Fork Crow River.
There is one lake and three streams in the North Fork Crow River Watershed District impaired by excess nutrients and impaired biotic communities. The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies have identified large areas and subwatersheds that have the potential to contribute high pollutant loads to the streams and lakes throughout the watershed. This Subwatershed Assessment study will evaluate three high loading subwatershed catchments in the North Fork Crow River Watershed.
The North Fork Crow River Watershed District will develop an inventory and inspection database for 103E ditches under their drainage authority. The district will acquire a database software solution to conduct field inspections and to track ditch maintenance projects throughout the district. This software will be used to facilitate statutory compliance including developing a process for completing annual inspection and reporting requirements.
Rice Lake, in Stearns County, is an impaired water for nutrients that has a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation plan developed. Rice Lake is one of the larger lakes in the county, offering major water recreation opportunities, economic benefits as well as fish and wildlife habitat. It is a priority for Stearns County to implement projects that have positive impacts on this resource.
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 purpose of this project is to create an inventory and priority list of where inlet control and buffer strips are needed along Judicial Ditch 15 to reduce the nutrients, sediment and volume of water being transported by field tile. This will help protect landowner drainage needs, while focusing on applicable best management practices that will reduce on-field and in-channel peak flow erosion. This ditch system is the headwaters to Cokato Lake, which connects to the North Fork Crow River.
The Wright Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will expand its partnership with its USDA partners; this will be the first time that SWCD staff will conduct compliance spot checks for USDA Highly Erodible Land plans. This activity will add a level of certainty that these plans are in compliance.
This project will allow lake associations and other motivated groups to use their local landowner networks and site specific knowledge to effectively implement best management practices that fit within the greater context of Wright County's Water Management Plan.