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.
This project is a model for future drainage projects across the state and represents a fundamental shift in the way rural drainage systems interact with the landscape. This is a community-based water quality and treatment demonstration project in which landowners, local government, and state agencies have developed a watershed approach to improving water quality and replacing outdated drainage systems. The project will improve water quality, improve wildlife habitat, and develop a process for future projects by constructing water quality features within the 6,000 acre watershed.
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.
Vegetated buffer and filter strips along waterways is a practice that addresses many surface water concerns. Establishing permanent vegetation along waterways is an implementation priority in the Blue Earth County Water Management Plan and required by local ordinance and Minnesota Rules. Minnesota Shoreland Rules, Chapter 6120 and the County Shoreland Ordinance contain standards for agricultural uses in shoreland. Agricultural uses are permitted in shoreland areas if steep slopes and shore and bluff impact zones are maintained in permanent vegetation.
Ravine, stream bank and bluff erosion contribute significant amounts of sediment to rivers and streams. The MPCA report, Identifying sediment sources in the Minnesota River Basin, found the Blue Earth and Le Sueur watersheds contribute as such as half of the sediment to the Minnesota River, even though they account for only one-fifth of its drainage area. These watersheds contain the majority of the bluffs in the basin as well as many large
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.
This project will conduct Inventory and Inspection of four drainage ditches in Blue Earth County: JD116, CD5, CD86 and CD56. The inventory of these drainage ditches is important in order to identify where erosion, sediment and/or nutrients contribute substantially to water quality degradation. The project will also prioritize sites for future side inlet control, buffer strip implementation, and/or storage and treatment implementation.
The goal of this project is to reduce the number of vulnerable unused wells located within sensitive areas and to prevent potential groundwater contamination. Most Minnesotans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Unused and improperly sealed wells can serve as an open conduit to groundwater aquifers, allowing surface water runoff, contaminated water or improperly disposed waste to reach an uncontaminated aquifer. Properly sealing unused and improperly sealed wells is a preventive practice that protects groundwater aquifers from contamination.
The LeSueur River has been identified as one of the leading contributors of sediment to the Minnesota River. A majority of this sediment has been determined to come from the banks, bluffs and ravines located along the river. This project focuses on a one mile reach of the LeSueur River where stream channel migration and mass wasting are significantly eroding four bluffs. Two township roads and many houses are in danger of falling into the river.
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.
The purpose of this project is to reduce phosphorus loading to Crystal Lake transported primarily through County Ditch 56. Crystal Lake is listed on MPCA's 303d listing for phosphorus impairment. Increased phosphorus levels have caused toxic algal blooms, reducing its appeal to recreationalists and economic draw for the City of Lake Crystal. This project will directly address phosphorus sources from agricultural land.
This project is a collaboration between Blue Earth and Watonwan County. The two counties will share information, ideas and resources as they complete mining reclamation and wetland management plans to include in their local water management plans and comprehensive land use plans. Master plans for mining reclamation and wetland management will be used as guidance for planning and zoning decisions and implementing water management priorities that will enhance water quality protection and restoration efforts.
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 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.
Lakes and streams located in Blue Earth, Le Sueur, and Waseca Counties provide important public benefits such as hydrologic storage, economic and recreational opportunities, and regional water quality improvement. However, several of the lakes and streams have been listed as impaired because of excess nutrients and sediment from runoff.
Successful long-term treatment of sewage depends on a system capable of providing adequate treatment and effective on-going operation and maintenance. Clean Water Fund Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS) Program Enhancement funds are used by counties to strengthen programs dedicated to SSTS ordinance management and enforcement. These funds are used for a variety of tasks required to successfully implement a local SSTS program including inventories, enforcement, and databases to insure SSTS maintenance reporting programs.
Grants to counties to implement SSTS programs including inventories, enforcement, development of databases, and systems to insure SSTS maintenance and of reporting program results to BWSR and MPCA and base grants.
The Le Sueur Watershed Technician will provide highly focused targeting of conservation programs and practices in this key watershed. The technician will enhance current staff capabilities in the Le Sueur watershed by collecting landowner contact information, producing landowner mailings about funding opportunities, and meeting one-on-one with landowners to discuss conservation concerns they may have. This has been a highly successful method for targeting projects, project identification, landowner contact, and project follow through.
The LeSueur River Watershed is one of the highest nutrient loading watersheds for both phosphorus and nitrogen in the State of Minnesota. The LeSueur River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) Report was completed in August 2015 and further identifies pollutant sources and reduction goals within the LeSueur River Watershed. The WRAPS report highlights the Beauford Ditch watershed and the Madison Lake watershed area amongst the highest sources of nutrient loading to the LeSueur River.
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 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.
The Watonwan Watershed Resource Specialist has been funding with Clean Water funds since 2012. Since that time, the Watonwan Watershed Resource Specialist has been a crucial connector between landowners and natural resource professionals in the Watonwan Watershed. As the technical ability and responsibilities of the WWRS expands, the need and urgency to secure extended funding becomes a priority. This project will fund half of the Watonwan Watershed Research Specialist position through year 2020.