Clean Water Funds back work tied to 9 removals from impaired waters list

BWSR grants support conservation partners’ projects that contribute to water-quality improvements in seven lakes, a river reach and a stream segment.

Winona County sheep producer boosts productivity with rotational grazing

A Rushford area farmer draws from NRCS assistance and grazing specialists’ technical expertise to establish an intensively managed system that improves both animal health and soil health.

Becker County farmers' erosion control benefits Wild Rice River water quality

Becker SWCD and NRCS’ Clean Water Fund-backed, EQIP-supported work with producers improves the efficiency of fieldwork while curbing sediment-loading to the Red River.

Fish species signal potential for delisting as Sand Hill River water quality improves

The return of redhorse to a 32-mile-long stretch of the Sand Hill River in Polk County reflects improving trends that could lead to removal from the state’s impaired waters list. Water-quality work has involved the Sand Hill River Watershed District, West Polk SWCD, BWSR, the DNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Maple Grove's popular Fish Lake poised for removal from impaired waters list

Three Rivers Park District, the Em Creek WMC, Fish Lake Area Residents Association and Hennepin County were among the partners in water-quality improvement work backed by Clean Water Funds.

Water-quality goals drive collaboration between McLeod SWCD, city of Winsted

The McLeod SWCD’s collaboration with the city of Winsted resulted in a constructed wetland that filters stormwater bound for Winsted Lake. Backed by a multipurpose drainage management Clean Water Fund grant, the work builds upon the SWCD’s erosion-control projects with farmers upstream.

Duluth's Lincoln Park revamp includes stormwater treatment, aids trout habitat

One element of the $4.2 million revitalization, stormwater work supported by a BWSR Clean Water Fund grant addresses a temperature impairment in Miller Creek, a designated trout stream.

What's next for Stillwater's Lily Lake? Partners consider post-delisting options

Water-quality improvement work didn’t stop once Lily Lake was removed from the state’s impaired waters list — an effort that took 20 years, involved the Middle St. Croix WMO and a host of partners, and tapped nearly $1 million in Clean Water Funds from BWSR.

Neighboring farmers, neighboring SWCDs drive Pope, Swift county conservation

BWSR Clean Water Funds and NRCS assistance support water-quality work in the East Branch Chippewa River watershed, which spans Pope and Swift counties and eventually flows to the Minnesota River.

First 7 miles of Whiskey Creek restoration show effectiveness of NRCS-backed work

An NRCS National Water Quality Initiative award, MPCA pilot grant, Outdoor Heritage Funds and BWSR Clean Water Funds support the Wilkin SWCD and Buffalo-Red River Watershed District's work with landowners, which will benefit water quality, water quantity and wildlife habitat.

Sauk River Chain of Lakes water-quality solutions start with livestock producers

NRCS assistance and Clean Water Funds support new manure storage solutions that curb runoff and benefit water quality. Stearns County SWCD and NRCS staff led the $1.9 million endeavor.

NRCS - Morrison SWCD partnerships focus on forested lands around Camp Ripley

NRCS’ $400,000 contribution agreement with Morrison SWCD and its $2.7 million Regional Conservation Partnership Program renewal focus on the Sentinel Landscape, where management can improve habitat and protect the National Guard’s mission.

Bois de Sioux Watershed District builds on multi-partner, multi-benefit successes

With projects that combine water quality, flood reduction and wildlife habitat improvements, the watershed district at the headwaters of the Red River gained support from landowners and funding sources alike.

Coon Creek Watershed District project links stormwater, habitat improvements

A two-phase stream restoration on Sand Creek overcame constraints of its urban setting to improve habitat, reduce the likelihood of flash flooding and curb pollution bound for the Mississippi River.

In Meeker County, MN CREP outreach brings awareness, voluntary enrollments

“If we never make an ask, we never bring it up, and people are never going to know that it’s an option.” — Josh Pommier, Pheasants Forever Farm Bill biologist

Big Stone SWCD's work with farmers to fix gullies aids Marsh Lake water quality

Big Stone SWCD worked with West Central TSA engineers, landowners on BWSR Clean Water Fund-backed project in Five Mile Creek watershed

Faribault County SWCD's cover crop trials spark some permanent conversion

Most farmers who signed on to the three-year, incentivized trial supported by a Clean Water Fund demonstration grant have committed to continuing the soil health practice.

Rice County MN CREP enrollment restores wetland and uplands, preserves legacy

The 157-acre enrollment near Millersburg, which borders a creek that flows to the Cannon River, reduces the likelihood of downstream flooding.

Blue Lake alum treatment caps work by Isanti SWCD to protect water quality

Delivered in two parts, the final phase of Clean Water Fund-supported efforts targets in-lake phosphorus. Previous work within the watershed reduced upland phosphorus-loading.

Stevens SWCD erosion fixes catching on in Pomme de Terre River watershed

Farmers are seeing the benefits of Clean Water Fund-backed conservation projects that mend gullies, slow runoff and reduce nutrient-loading to Perkins Lake. Federal assistance is also in play.

NRCS’ Mississippi River Basin Initiative in Chisago County improves water quality

Dedicated MRBI funding supports farmers’ conservation work in the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes’ Green Lake watershed. The benefits flow from the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers to the Gulf of Mexico.

Pickerel Lake focus, collaboration in the Shell Rock River Watershed District

Targeted Watershed Program Clean Water Fund grant-supported work includes 245-acre wetland restoration, partnerships involving U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Minnesota DNR and Pheasants Forever

Lincoln County collaboration: One site yields big rewards for Yellow Medicine

Landowner's work with NRCS, Lincoln SWCD and the Southwest Prairie TSA to curb field erosion advances watershed's water quality goals; EQIP assistance, Clean Water Funds, MPCA grant in play

Clearwater River Watershed District sees rewards of cooperative clean water work

Two Central Minnesota lakes' removal from the state impaired waters list reflects the cumulative effects of rural conservation, Clean Water Fund-backed urban stormwater treatment

Red Lake County SWCD gully fixes save topsoil, improve river's water quality

Clean Water Funds from BWSR, backing from Red Lake Watershed District and Red Lake County support agricultural practices that stanch field erosion, focus on Lower Clearwater River

Crow Wing SWCD's targeted approach to Serpent Lake yields deeper rewards

Crow Wing SWCD’s targeted watershed Clean Water Fund grant-supported work with Deerwood and Crosby helped to reverse a trend in declining water quality. Serpent Lake is twice as clear as it was 10 years ago, and phosphorus levels are down. The work also changed the way the SWCD approaches conservation and forged new partnerships.

Goodhue County farmer optimizes cover crops for forage, fertilizer, soil health

What began as a cost-saving experiment in no-till for Ed McNamara led to 25 years of fine-tuning practices to improve soil health, boost forage quality, maximize nutrients and improve water quality.

Delisting sampler: Clean Water Funds linked to lake, stream improvements

BWSR-backed water quality work that contributed to proposed removals from the state's impaired waters list in 2022 include projects led by Sherburne, Pope, Stearns County and Grant SWCDs, plus Middle St. Croix and Lower Mississippi River WMOs.

Shingle Creek's linked restorations augment habitat, curb bank erosion

Within the confines of an urban stormwater system that drains to the Mississippi River, Shingle Creek WMC's Clean Water Fund-backed habitat and water quality work focuses on stretches within Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center

MN CREP easement links tracts of public land, augments habitat

Voluntary program fit Cottonwood County farmer's goals of permanently protecting marginal cropland, creating a wildlife haven

BWSR's road bank program improves safety, efficiency, wetlands' quality

The Local Government Road Wetland Replacement Program provides wetland mitigation credits to local road authorities for qualifying projects.

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

Beltrami SWCD stormwater project protects Lake Bemidji water quality

Clean Water Fund-backed work targets nutrient-impaired Lake Irving, but its benefits extend downstream. The project also will safeguard a source of Twin Cities drinking water, contain the flow in case of an oil spill, beautify a bike trail and augment pollinator habitat.

Clay County farm family reaps long-term benefits of cover crops, no-till practices

Despite setbacks, they've come out ahead overall as they've expanded the soil health practices started with NRCS assistance to improve water infiltration, reduce compaction on cropland

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

AmeriCorps plays central role in controlling noxious weeds

Mississippi River, trout streams benefit from feedlot upgrades

Twisted creek, restored habitat

North Shore forest Transformation

RIM easements on retired ag land protect St. James’ drinking water

AmeriCorps crews power Root River SWCD's streambank stabilizations

Improving trends in the Elk River watershed

‘Our water is our diamond’

Mississippi River Basin Initiative feeds Chisago Chain of Lakes improvements

Shoring Up Support to Protect Blue Lake

Experimental nitrate treatment holds promise for water quality

Lake Ida: Clear, cold, in danger of degrading

St. Cloud’s $1.3M stormwater project affects city’s drinking water supply

Building conservation careers

North Fork Crow River clean-up stabilizes gullies, retains topsoil

Conservation in the glacial hills

New twists on Twin Cities paddling route built to improve water quality

Engineered erosion: A fix on a Minnesota River tributary

Koochiching SWCD exceeds conservation enrollment goals for forested private lands

With restored river channel comes improved road safety

Critical corridor: Mississippi River headwaters habitat, recreational resource gain protection

Lakeshore lawns: In Detroit Lakes, native plant restorations catch on

Pomme de Terre conservation aims to improve water quality