The Mille Lacs County agricultural landscape largely consists of long shallow slopes that are prone to intermittent streams, as well as sheet and rill erosion. Nutrient and manure management, reduced tillage, residue management and cover cropping, as well as runoff and erosion control structures, have all been identified as local priority practices necessary to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to surface and ground water.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 13 local governments with funds to complete 143 projects. More information is available in the detail reports below.
Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater and drinking water. Activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, feedlot water quality projects, SSTS abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects. For the fiscal year 2012, BWSR awarded 12 local governments with funds.
This project aims to reduce pollutant loading to Mille Lacs Lake by working with the City of Wahkon to develop a comprehensive stormwater management plan for the City of Wahkon, located on the south side of the lake. Wahkon has no stormwater facilities and pollutant laden runoff flows into Mille Lacs Lake, untreated. This project will delineate and model stormwater flow in the City of Wahkon watershed, prioritize and target BMPs in the city watershed and conduct outreach to keep all stakeholders informed and build buy-in for future project implementation.
This project will identify and prioritize opportunities to implement a multipurpose drainage management plan that will provide adequate drainage capacity, reduce peak flows and flooding and reduce erosion and sediment loading, improving water quality to the West Branch Rum River.
Demand for Engineering services in Northeast Minnesota's nine-county Area III Technical Service Area is exceeding the capacity to deliver the needed services. There are increased requests from Soil and Water Conservation Districts for engineering needed to design and install Best Management Practices in part due to requests related to Clean Water Fund projects. These funds will be used to hire an engineer, which will increase engineering capacity and result in the completion of at least five additional projects per year.
This grant will fund the creation of a new Coordinator position with a primary focus on the Mille Lacs Lake subwatershed. Although not currently impaired, the Lake faces increasing development and land use pressure. Implementation of protection strategies is essential to the Lake's long-term health but current staffing does not allow sufficient time to be spent on project development and outreach to identify interested landowners.
Northern white cedar wetland plant communities provide unique ecological, economic, and wetland functions, including high value timber, long-term carbon storage, winter refuge for deer and other wildlife, wildlife habitat, and thermal buffering for brook trout streams. However, these plant communities have been declining in Minnesota for decades mostly as a result of development impacts. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at improving the quantity and quality of white cedar wetland plant communities in Minnesota.
The Rum River is designated as a 'Wild and Scenic River' and is the major watershed in Mille Lacs County. Maintaining and protecting its water quality is a significant concern. The Clean Water Fund grant will result in the timely and successful implementation of ten nutrient management plans resulting in land management changes with an estimated average reduction of 30 pounds of Phosphorus and 40 pounds of Nitrogen per year on almost 2,000 acres.
Mille Lacs Lake is recognized as one of the premier walleye producing lakes in the world. The current water quality of the lake is good, however recent monitoring of the lake and its watershed indicates the potential to develop problems. Since 1997, the Mille Lacs Lake Watershed Management Group has worked to preserve the water quality of Mille Lacs Lake. Five priority projects were identified by the Group partners in an effort to preserve water quality. Support for these projects was provided by a grant from the Clean Water Fund.
This project will protect the groundwater and the city of Princeton's drinking water from nutrient contamination associated with livestock manure storage. Well water tested throughout Mille Lacs County, and specifically within the Anoka Sand Plain area of Princeton, routinely indicate the presence of nitrates in shallow drinking water wells.
The purpose of the project is to reduce sediment and nutrient deposition in surface waters within priority areas of the watershed. A five percent reduction goal has been established in the County Local Water Management Plan and Impaired Waters project in progress. Eleven Best Management Practice (BMP) installations are planned for this project in cooperation with local landowners, Cities, Townships and Lake Associations.
The Project and Outreach Coordinator will facilitate efforts within the watershed to provide landowner support and assistance in identifying areas in need of conservation plans and best management practices. The coordinator would use the Watershed Protection and Restoration Strategy Report and county water plans to target and prioritize outreach and education to maximize water quality benefits. This will greatly multiply the number of educated landowners in the watershed and increase the number of projects implemented.
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.