Most of Hubbard, Todd and Wadena Counties' irrigated acreage consists of highly permeable, low water holding capacity, sandy textured soils overlying shallow and buried sand and gravel aquifers. These aquifers are very susceptible to non-point water quality degradation from land use practices.
The Crow Wing River is a valuable natural resource and forested regions in the watershed are at risk from conversion to cropland and clearing for other uses. In order to maintain the high quality upland that protects the water quality, forestry practices are being encouraged with cost-sharing and education in an effort to manage, protect, and improve existing forest stands.
The purpose of this project is to identify effective irrigation and nutrient management best management practices and technologies and the barriers that prevent irrigators, producers, and other agricultural partners from adopting them in Otter Tail County. The primary goal is to reduce nitrate in areas where groundwater is susceptible to contamination as mapped by The Minnesota Department of Health by identifying effective BMPs and addressing the barriers to their adoption.
As the City of Wadena is being re-built after an EF4 tornado, it has become evident that more needs to be done to reduce runoff by retaining or diverting stormwater. The purpose of this project is to provide subgrants to citizens to install various conservation practices on their properties including grassed waterways, rain gardens and tree plantings. Through this subgrant program the citizens of Wadena will have a greater understanding of the importance of stormwater management.
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.
A large portion of Wadena County has been identified as having a high or moderate probability of elevated nitrate concentrations. With almost all of the residents in Wadnea County getting there drinking water from groundwater sources, this issue is a top priority to the county. Through this project, nitrates and other water soluble contaminants leacing into sensitive sand plain aquifers will be reduced by providing cost-share incentives to encourage irrigation producers to convert high or medium pressure irrigation systems to low pressure systems.
This pilot program protected 1,210 acres of wild rice lake shoreland habitat in the Northern Forest Section by securing 14 permanent RIM conservation easements and four fee-title acquisitions, surpassing our goal of 700 acres, and doing so $250,202 under budget.
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.
A new GIS technician will help prioritize and target conservation activities and protection strategies in nine north-central Minnesota counties. The GIS technician will create GIS products, assessments, and watershed analysis to identify the high priority areas in each County or watershed in need of protection or restoration using all available data, including LiDAR, soils, land use, completed WRAPS and other datasets. These areas will then be targeted for future resource management efforts, Clean Water Fund projects, and additional conservation activities.
This project will build off the success of the additional geographic information system (GIS) and water planning expertise the TSA8 added in 2016 to provide consistent mapping, water planning assistance and training to partners. This project will help soil and water conservation districts prepare for the 1W1P process before the planning starts. A unified protection methodology is essential for the 1W1P process to be successful. This project will include: unified GIS mapping and protection model for all nine counties respectively.
Twenty six easements protecting 1,173.3 were recorded which exceeded the original proposal by 173 acres (15%). 11.6 miles of shoreline were protected which exceeded the 8 acre goal by 30%. Total expenditure was $1,355,000 which was 17% lower than originally budgeted. No fee-title land acquisition opportunities on wild rice lakes that fit within DNR and other government agency land plans were available during this time period thus DU did not expend any of the $100,000 budgeted for fee-title acquisition. Instead the program focused on RIM easements.