In this issue:

Chisago County's North Center, South Center lakes delisted

With two lakes removed from the impaired waters list, Chisago SWCD, NRCS staff continue to work with landowners, community partners to advance positive water quality trends emerging throughout the 20-lake chain

Itasca SWCD, Coleraine protect Trout Lake with stormwater-focused solution

Clean Water Fund-backed project to preserve water quality of popular fishery started with rain gardens planted by fourth-graders; partners include the Mississippi Headwaters Board, Blandin Foundation and lake association

Pipestone SWCD, farmers work to cut nitrates, protect drinking water

Clean Water Funds from BWSR help cut the risk of trying nitrate-reducing cover crops and perennial cover such as Kernza within drinking water supply management areas outside Holland and Edgerton.

Dodge County dairy’s feedlot upgrade benefits farm, Mississippi River

Dodge County brothers Ben and Jay Currier improved their dairy farm’s efficiency, optimized the fertilizer it produces, and played a role in protecting the Mississippi River when they installed a new manure pit — one of the projects funded through the $3.2 million Lower Mississippi River Feedlot Management in Minnesota Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

Clearing up Serpent Lake

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources in 2014 awarded the Crow Wing Soil & Water Conservation District a $1.2 million targeted watershed grant for projects to reverse the trend in declining water quality and to preserve the regional resource. 

Water quality work in N. St. Paul, Maplewood, protects Silver Lake

Valley Branch Watershed District's Clean Water Fund project focuses on phosphorus reduction by treating stormwater before it reaches lake known for public boat launch, fishing, swimming beach

Lake of the Woods SWCD targets sedimentation of Bostic Bay with ditch fix

Clean Water Fund project also protects northern pike spawning habitat

Le Sueur County SWCD advances chain of lakes water quality work

In a watershed that feeds the Cannon River, Clean Water Funds from BWSR, cooperation from landowners and support from the Greater Jefferson German Lakes Association result in prioritized phosphorus reduction practices

Building a productive pasture: Pope County rotational grazing

With NRCS rotational grazing plan and EQIP assistance, Pope County beef producer improves forage on former CRP enrollment, anticipates water-quality benefits

Re-created stream in St. Paul aids water quality, quality of life

St. Paul Parks and Recreation, Capitol Region Watershed District staff's Clean Water Fund supported work at Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary treats stormwater; attracts people, animals to habitat on site of former rail yard

Crow Wing SWCD’s lake protection work leads to Crosslake projects

The Clean Water Fund project that protects Big Trout Lake’s cold-water fish habitat by treating pollution-carrying stormwater became a catalyst for similar water-quality work at two more sites along Crow Wing County Road 66.

City of Adrian secures wellhead protection

Clean Water Fund project involving willing landowners, Nobles SWCD, Minnesota Rural Water Association, ensures permanent cover continues to filter nitrates from city drinking water supply

Pennington County ditch fixes stabilize banks, stanch erosion

Landowners work with county engineer, Pennington SWCD on sediment reduction in Red Lake River watershed. Side-water inlets stop erosion where field outlets drain into county ditches. Clean Water Funds make the projects possible.

Kittson County livestock producers find success with NRCS grazing plans

All 40-some plans implemented with EQIP assistance over the years remain in operation. With reliable water supplies installed, farmers see faster weight gain in calves and higher-quality forage in paddocks.

Douglas County dairy transition taps NRCS, Clean Water Funds

A first-generation farmer with a passion for cows gets a start, and a longtime producer finds a way to pass on his farm. Assistance from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and Clean Water funds from BWSR play a role in the gradual transition that will result in a more efficient and environmentally sound setup.

Rock County easements target nitrate reduction

Native grasses replacing row crops have shown the most dramatic results in efforts by Rock SWCD, Rock County, Rock County Rural Water, BWSR, state departments of health and agriculture working with landowners

Red Lake River bank stabilizations protect water quality, infrastructure

Pennington SWCD is working with Thief River Falls to stabilize three prioritized sites where erosion is contributing to a downstream water quality impairment. One site is encroaching upon city wastewater treatment infrastructure.

Wright County farmers, lake residents anticipate improved drainage, water quality

Wright SWCD's $490,000 project treats 10% of county ditch system affecting Ann Lake, taps multipurpose drainage management Clean Water Fund grant

Rice SWCD transforms soil health field day to drive-in film screening

When COVID-19 canceled the field day, staff curated short films featuring area farmers incorporating cover crops and conservation tillage. A $500 grant from BWSR, NRCS and the Minnesota Office for Soil Health helped to pay for a projector and FM transmitter. A machine shed door served as the screen. The reservation-only Film on the Farm was limited to 20 cars.

Landowners, leveraged funds, partners key to $10M Whiskey Creek restoration

Clean water, wildlife habitat, drainage solutions are priorities of Wilkin SWCD, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District project that taps 7 funding sources including a $2.9M NRCS award, MPCA pilot

Initiative extends conservation to forest, streams in Root River watershed

A Winona County landowner is working with Root River SWCD staff and assistance from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to remove invasive buckthorn from hunting property bordered by a trout stream. Water quality and wildlife benefit.

Three Rivers' Baker Park ravine work targets Lake Independence water quality

Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed Management Commission taps $416,000 Clean Water Fund grant from BWSR, $59,500 grant from Hennepin County, to reduce phosphorus loading to nutrient-impaired lake

Lincoln County wetland easements fix ditch, create water storage, habitat

The project that saved farmers $175,000 could become a statewide model. Landowners, along with local, state and federal partners, made it work.

Becker County farm sees grazing, cover crops as a way to expand its cattle operation

With soil health in mind, Todd and Michelle Andresen tap Becker SWCD and NRCS technical expertise to fine-tune full-season cover crops and install fencing. BWSR Clean Water Funds and NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program assistance cut the financial risk.

Restoring Wolverton Creek

Water-quality benefits of a 21-mile-long Wolverton Creek restoration extend to the Red River. The restoration will improve drainage, widen habitat corridors, curb soil erosion and flood damage to fields, and cut Fargo-Moorhead’s drinking water treatment costs. The project leverages Clean Water Fund dollars.

Becker SWCD, NRCS’ expertise, funds, converge in Upper Buffalo River watershed

Conservation gains momentum as staff works with willing landowners on targeted sediment reduction designed to improve water quality. Partners include the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District. Clean Water Funds, EQIP assistance, EPA grants are in play.

Trout habitat helpers: Arresting upland erosion

Upland dams built to stop gully erosion and retain topsoil keep sediment out of trout streams that enter the Mississippi River/Lake Pepin. The prioritized work centered on spots where conservation fixes would do the most to improve water quality and stream habitat.

‘It will demonstrate what we’re capable of’

Traverse County’s first ditch retrofit eases flood damage as it improves water quality within west-central Minnesota’s Bois de Sioux Watershed District.

Buffering Camp Ripley

Buffer preserves wildlife habitat, provides water-quality benefits while protecting 24/7 regional training center from development in Morrison, Crow Wing and Cass counties. The Mississippi River corridor benefits. BWSR and NRCS programs are in play.

Root causes, Root solutions

This is the story of one farm family involved in the Root River Field to Stream Partnership, which delves into how farm practices affect water quality. Findings apply to fields and rivers across southeastern Minnesota.

Rum River gains RIM easement option for water quality, wildlife protections

In a watershed spanning from Lake Mille Lacs to the Mississippi River, voluntary enrollment of targeted, prioritized parcels would protect a Twin Cities and St. Cloud drinking water source, aid wildlife habitat

Fine-tuning irrigation to improve water quality and crop yields

Clean Water Funds from BWSR and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture plus assistance from NRCS support East Otter Tail SWCD's site-specific, science-based irrigation scheduling work with farmers

NRCS prescribed burns revive habitat

About 33,000 acres of wildlife habitat enrolled in federal Wetlands Reserve Program easements across Minnesota will benefit from prescribed burns planned over the next five years. The work is made possible by $3.3 million in dedicated Farm Bill funds from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

‘The potential application is huge’

Minnesota is watching as the Rice Creek Watershed District tests a new way to remove carp. Designed to improve water quality in Long Lake, the techniques used here could be applied throughout the state where carp migrate to spawn.

Taking a whole-farm approach to conservation, water quality

Fixes bring 100-year-old ditch into alignment with modern ag practices

Upstream Battle

Trout anglers harbor hopes of stocked streams as the Carlton Soil & Water Conservation District embarks upon its third restoration and bank stabilization project within the Nemadji River watershed. With Clean Water Fund grants and willing landowners, the SWCD is tackling failed red clay dams built in the 1970s to keep sediment out of Lake Superior.

Clean Water Fund stories by region