Two large, actively eroding gullies located a few miles apart in Amador Township are contributing tremendous loads of phosphorus and sediment to the St. Croix River. One gully (Gully A) includes a major agricultural gully, severe road erosion, and sediment deposits of a foot or more thick in a state park. The second gully (Gully B) is over 4 feet deep, adjacent to a road, and is an annual problem. Stabilizing these two gullies will greatly reduce the sediment and phosphorus loading to the St. Croix River, which will help meet the reduction goal of the Lake St.
Using a previous escarpment gully project as a model, the Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District will complete a similar inventory of actively eroding gullies along the Lower Sunrise River from the Kost Dam south to the confluence with the St. Croix, which includes the North Branch of the Sunrise, Hay Creek, and the Sunrise River main branch. There are major erosion issues along this stretch of river, no organized and efficient way to begin work in the area. The inventory report will provide the missing link.
The Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District has been successful in implementing Best Management Practices in certain targeted locations within the county, including the prioritized and assessed areas of Chisago City, Lindstrom, and Center City. However, there are many areas that want to implement conservation projects but aren't within targeted areas. This award will empower community partners, especially lake associations, to award grants for rain gardens, shoreline buffers, and other worthwhile projects to improve water quality.
The grant will use local data to develop stormwater planning options that prioritize, target, and measure the effectiveness of Best Management Practices and allow local city officials to make decisions on stormwater Best management Practices that reduce pollutants in the stormwatershed.
The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will partner with citizen groups and nonprofit groups to complete projects to reduce stormwater runoff and retain water on the land in Crow Wing County's (CWC) 125 minor watersheds. The SWCD will implement a mini grant program and provide competitive grant funds to an anticipated 12 groups. This project will also address CWC Water Plan priorities one, two, and six, which involve stormwater management and sediment control, shoreline buffers, and agriculture best management practices.
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.
This project is a cooperative effort between Crow Wing and Itasca County to contract with RMB Laboratories to generate 65 lake assessment/trend analysis reports. The watershed protection model is an innovative and proactive approach to water resource management which is geared towards prioritizing areas of concern, targeting implementation strategies, and measuring their effectiveness. These assessments are also useful and understandable tools for lake associations and the public.
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 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.
Crow Wing County is pursuing this grant to continue this proven community and landowner outreach campaign by developing new water planning tools and using print and social media strategies to effect a positive change in our watersheds. The County believes that landowners want to do the right thing and has the data to show that when doing the right thing can be presented in customer-focused, fact-driven, easy-to-understand format, they get engaged and conservation gets done!