The Rock County Soil and Water Conservation District/Land Management will build upon terrain analysis products developed by a Rock River Watershed 2013 BWSR grant and extend the data products to include additional water quality, Best Management Practices (BMP) suitability, BMP effectiveness, and BMP value datasets. This project will also extend this analysis to the remainder of Rock County, specifically Mud Creek, Beaver Creek and Split Rock Creek which are all listed for turbidity impairments.
The AgBMP Loan Program provides needed funding for local implementation of clean water practices at an extremely low cost, is unique in its structure and is not duplicated by any other source of funding.The AgBMP loan program provides 3% loans through local lenders to farmers, rural landowners, and agriculture supply businesses.
The DNR is working with local communities and an interagency team to define, prioritize, and establish groundwater management areas in Minnesota. Groundwater management areas will have increased data collection and monitoring that allow the state and local communities to understand water supplies, uses, limitations, and threats to natural resources that depend on groundwater. This information will support detailed aquifer protection plans that ensure equitable and sustainable groundwater and drinking water use for the future.
Governor Mark Dayton's landmark buffer initiative was signed into law in 2015. The law establishes new perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along rivers, streams, and ditches that will help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment. The new law provides flexibility and financial support for landowners to install and maintain buffers.The DNR's role in Minnesota's new buffer law is to produce a statewide map of public waters and public ditches that require permanent vegetation buffers. The DNR is scheduled to produce these maps by July 2016.
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.
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.
The DNR works with the Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) to develop County Geologic Atlases to convey geologic and hydrogeologic (groundwater) information and interpretations to government units at all levels, but particularly to local governments, as well as private organizations and citizens. The MGS focuses on geology (Part A reports) and DNR focuses on groundwater (Part B reports).These studies provide information about the region’s geology and groundwater’s presence, direction of flow, natural quality, age, and pollution sensitivity.
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.
This is a legislatively mandated project. In order to receive $1,075,000 in water recreation account appropriations for enhancing public water access facilities in FY 2014 and FY 2015 respectively, the commissioner must develop design standards and best management practices specifically for improving water quality by avoiding shoreline erosion and runoff for water accesses.
The Discovery Farms program is a farmer-led effort to gather information on soil and nutrient loss on farms in different settings across Minnesota. The mission of Discovery Farms Minnesota is to gather water quality information under real-world conditions.
The DNR works with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health to determine the level of contamination from mercury and other harmful chemicals in fish from Minnesota's lakes and rivers and to track the success of efforts to reduce mercury pollution. Clean Water Legacy funding is being used to significantly increase (more than double) the number of lakes and rivers that are assessed for mercury contamination on an annual basis. Fish are collected during DNR fishery surveys, processed for laboratory testing, and analyzed for contaminants.
The goal of this project is to construct, calibrate, and validate a watershed model using HSPF. RESPEC will produce a HSPF model that can readily be used to provide information to support conventional parameter TMDLs.
The Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) is a tool that can identify water pollution problems based on how the type and abundance of certain species in a biological community vary from expected conditions. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency currently uses IBIs for fish and macroinvertebrates (stream-dwelling insects and other critters) to help determine whether streams and rivers are impacted by water pollution.
This project will support the sampling of six stream sites: two reaches of the Little Rock River, two Locations on the Kanaranzi Creek, one location on the East Branch of the Kanaranzi Creek as well as one location on the Ocheyedan River.
The goal of this project is to analyze and document database architecture, platform, table structures, systems and data fields at six Minnesota agencies (Board of Soil and Water Resources, Department of Natural Resources, MN Department of Agriculture, MN Department of Health, Metropolitan Council, and MN Pollution Control Agency) for 30+ databases related to water.
This project works with local partners that implement conservation project to provide learning opportunities, technical help, and grants that result in cleaner water through healthier watersheds and shorelands. The DNR's natural resource experts help prioritize conservation areas and target project locations so they improve water quality while providing habitat and other benefits. Stream experts provide designs for stream projects that provide long-term stability by using natural features.
This project will establish a web-based permitting system to capture essential water appropriation information. The system will include an online permit application process for water use and other permits. The online system will streamline the permitting process for applicants and significantly reduce staff time correcting and managing permit applications and water use reports that are incomplete or have incorrectly calculated permit fees. The use of technology in the application and reporting process will also eliminate staff time needed to enter data and scan and route documents.
Numerous studies have shown that stream bank erosion can be a significant contributor to the decline of water quality in the Rock River. The Clean Water dollars provided for this project assisted in three stream bank projects that address the turbidity (muddiness) impairment of the Rock River and bring the river closer to the level of water quality required for the EPA Clean Water Act.The $25,000.00 of Clean Water dollars were successful in leveraging $30,000 of US Fish and Wildlife funding as well as $20,000 of landowner and SWCD investment.
The Rock River is classified as impaired for bacteria and turbidity by the EPA. Local citizens and farmers assisted in writing an Implementation plan that lists stream bank stabilization and city storm water management as priority implementation strategies to address these impairments of the Rock River.The Clean Water Fund grant provides $46,598 for these projects but also leverage over $19,000 of US Fish and Wildlife dollars along with over $13,000 of local match from the landowners.
The Rock River Watershed encompasses runoff from the four counties of Rock, Pipestone, Murray and Nobles. The Rock River Watershed, along with the adjacent Elm Creek are listed as impaired by turbidity and fecal coliform. With limited funds available for restoration projects, targeting tools to pinpoint locations where projects stand to have the highest effectiveness are increasingly important.
This project is a partnership with farmers, livestock, commodity and conservation organizations and agencies to install, demonstrate and expand water drainage conservation within the Rock River Watershed. Up to four sites will be chosen based upon local selection criteria, installed and demonstrated to the public in 2013 and 2014.
Stream flow information is essential for understanding the state of Minnesota's waters. Clean water funding has allowed the DNR to expand a network of stream gages that support planning and implementation for clean water protection and restoration. These gages are also used as part of the interagency Flood Forecasting/Warning System.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) each collect similar information on streams in Minnesota such as water quality, fish species presence, or the quality of fish habitat. For example, the DNR might sample stream fish to assess whether the agency’s management activities such as fishing regulations or stocking are creating good angling opportunities for the public, while MPCA might sample fish to assess whether a stream meets regulatory standards for a healthy fish community.
The Nobles Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will test waters needing data for impairment listing in the Rock River and Little Sioux watersheds. Two reaches of the Little Rock River and the Ocheyedan River need stream water assessments. Iowa Lake needs sampling completed for impairment identification. The project will obtain adequate stream and lake data to either list the tested stream reaches and lake on the 303(d) list as impaired, or provide evidence that the stream reaches and lake is not impaired.
This project will collect water quality data at eight stream sites in three of the MPCA targeted watersheds. The sites are located on Medary Creek, Flandreau Creek, Pipestone Creek (2), Split Rock Creek, Rock River, Poplar Creek and Chanarambie Creek. This project will also promote a citizens monitoring program and encourage individuals to participate in a monitoring program.
This comprehensive water sampling program will assess the water quality of six sites: two main points on the Rock River, two main tributaries to the Rock River, and two points where streams leave the state (Mud and Beaver Creek) for a period of two years.
This project is a comprehensive two year water sampling program that will effectively assess the water quality of three main tributaries that contribute to the Rock River. These tributaries are the Champepadan Creek, Mound Creek and an unnamed Creek. The sampling frequency will be two times per month in the year 2010 and three times per month in the year 2011. Sampling will begin in April, when the channels are mostly free of ice and continue until October each year.
The Southwest Prairie Technical Service Area 5 (SWPTSA), located in the southwest corner of Minnesota, encompasses 11 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs): Cottonwood, Jackson, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, and Yellow Medicine. This project will protect natural resources within the three major river basins of Minnesota, Missouri and Des Moines Rivers. The SWPTSA will assist member SWCDs in locating and identifying priority subwatersheds that have soil erosion and water quality issues using terrain analysis.
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 Watershed Health Assessment Framework is a web-based tool for resource managers and others interested in the ecological health of Minnesota’s watersheds. The framework uses five ecological components to organize and deliver information about watershed health conditions in Minnesota. The five components are: hydrology, connectivity, biology, geomorphology, and water quality. The WHAF website strives to make complex issues easier to visualize. An interactive map delivers 27 health scores organized by the five components.
This project delineates and maps watersheds (drainage areas) of lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands for the state of Minnesota and provides watershed maps in digital form for use in geographic information systems. These maps become the basis for clean water planning and implementation efforts.
The DNR's Regional Clean Water Specialists and Area Hydrologists work with other state agencies and local partners to help identify the causes of pollution problems and determine the best strategies for fixing them. A statewide coordinator works with the DNR and external partners to ensure funds are spent in the most effective and efficient manner to meet the State's clean water goals.