• Funded through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources
• Timeframe: July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016
• Grant funds: $116,031.98
• Match: $94,860.83
• Total project cost: $210,892.81
Overall Project Outcome and Results
The Heron Lake watershed, approximately 472 square miles, is located within portions of Nobles, Jackson, Murray, and Cottonwood Counties in southwestern Minnesota. Heron Lake, a public water of the State of Minnesota, is impaired for phosphorus. Decreasing the amount of phosphorus and sediment entering Heron Lake would be valuable for reducing water pollution. The Heron Lake Watershed District Watershed Management Plan and county water plans recognize on-the-ground projects as the most effective way to address phosphorus and sediment.
Funding from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund was used to install projects in Nobles, Jackson, and Murray Counties. They included a biodetention basin, multiple water and sediment control basins, a bioretention basin, and a streambank stabilization. The purpose of these projects was to reduce sediment and nutrient loads into streams and lakes. The projects affected more than 300 acres and have an estimated reduction rate of 620 pounds of phosphorus and 575 tons of sediment per year. The grant dollars covered 75 percent of the project costs, with the landowner paying 25 percent.
Funds were also used to gather water samples at three sites in the watershed – Jack Creek, Okabena Creek, and the Heron Lake Outlet. The water samples were analyzed and compared to data gathered since 1996. The Jack Creek and Okabena Creek sampling sites decreased in phosphorus. Okabena Creek showed an increase. All sites showed a reduction in sediment.
Plans were made to visit three project sites in April of 2016. A newsletter summarizing the grant activities and promoting the project site tour was distributed to approximately 3,500 watershed residents, agency personnel, and legislators. Attending the event were eleven members of the general public, one Board of Water and Soil Resources staff, two news reporters, two Heron Lake Watershed District board members and three employees.
Project Results Use and Dissemination
Over the course of the grant period, information about the grant was presented at many meetings and events. Each year annual reports contained a project summary. The grant activities were summarized in a newsletter which was distributed to approximately 3,500 watershed residents, agency personnel, and legislators. In addition, reporters published articles regarding the project site tour in the Daily Globe, Tri County News, and Fulda Free Press.