Nearly $14 million in Clean Water Fund grants to improve water quality in streams, lakes and groundwater across the state was approved by the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources.
Most of the grant funding — $11.7 million — is allocated for voluntary conservation projects across Minnesota. In addition, $1.4 million will support accelerated implementation for high-priority projects, and $610,000 will fund multipurpose drainage management.
A total of $13.7 million will fund 52 separate grants, 36 of which are dedicated to specific projects and practices.
Projects receiving grants include:
• Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District, $320,000, in partnership with the Buffalo Red River Watershed District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and landowners, to install 59 side inlets to stabilize high-priority gullies that are contributing sediment to Whiskey Creek. When these 59 gullies are stabilized, sediment loading to Whiskey Creek will be reduced by an estimated 1,006 tons per year and total phosphorus reduced by 794 pounds per year.
• Martin SWCD, $220,000, to improve drinking water in the Fairmont area by implementing agriculture best management practices near the Fairmont Chain of Lakes. Upon project completion, sediment in the chain of lakes is estimated to be reduced by 130 tons each year.
• Stearns SWCD, $697,000, to install a regional underground stormwater detention and filtration treatment facility treating a 47-acre drainage area affecting Lake George. The underground facility will target phosphorus, reducing an estimated 27 pounds of phosphorus and 7 tons of sediment annually.
• Benton SWCD, $456,500, to achieve a 10% reduction in overall sediment discharge to the Mississippi River from the northeast St. Cloud drainage area by installing one regional underground stormwater detention and treatment facility. The project will treat 35 acres of stormwater runoff and is modeled to reduce sediment by 4.5 tons, which is 10% of the sediment reduction goal for this drainage area.
• Douglas SWCD, $356,960, to improve drinking water quality by upgrading, replacing or closing existing damaged or unpermitted manure storage areas, in addition to addressing open lot runoff. Five project locations have been identified, and up to four more are anticipated to be identified in the next two years, for a total of up to 10 projects. Estimated pollution reduction is 421 pounds of nitrogen and 122 pounds of phosphorus.
• Pennington SWCD, $542,642, to complete three streambank stabilization projects identified as high-priority projects in the Thief River Falls Water Quality Study. The proposal will use a combination of bendway weirs (low-level rock dikes), toe protection by building a floodplain bench, and live stake plantings. It has been estimated that a total of 385 tons per year of sediment from these three locations is entering the river, contributing to impairment downstream.
• Chisago SWCD, $105,000, for Mallery Jerseys dairy farm, along the bluff of the St. Croix River escarpment and draining directly to the river. A Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan identified several additional practices that should be implemented, which will reduce the phosphorus and nitrogen by 83% and 85%, respectively.
• Southeast Minnesota Water Resources Board, multiple counties, $269,356, to provide cost-share funds to landowners in vulnerable groundwater areas to incorporate cover crops in their crop rotation, and to provide education related to nitrogen best management practices through field trials and nutrient management plans. An anticipated 100 producers in highly vulnerable areas will plant 3,000 acres of cover crops, resulting in preventing potentially 19,800 pounds of nitrate from leaching into groundwater.
About the Minnesota Clean Water Fund: Minnesota voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in 2008 to protect, enhance and restore wetlands, prairies and forests; and fish, game and wildlife habitat; to preserve arts and cultural heritage; to support parks and trails; and to protect, enhance and restore lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater. The Clean Water Fund receives 33% of the sales tax revenue generated by the Legacy Amendment.
Learn more about the 52 grant recipients at:
• Projects and practices, (36 grants)
• Accelerated implementation (12 grants)
• Multipurpose drainage management (4 grants)
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