Board of Water and Soil Resources awards $14 million in Clean Water Fund grants
Water. It’s so essential to Minnesota’s identity that our state’s very name comes from a Dakota word for the same, and caring for it has become a statewide priority.
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) awarded more than $14 million in grants to its local government partners that will help protect and restore Minnesota’s streams, rivers, lakes and groundwater.
Some of the projects include work to reduce runoff and pollutants from entering the Mississippi River and other smaller rivers and streams, investing in restoration of the Ann River Watershed in central Minnesota and reducing soil erosion and sedimentation in places like Zippel Creek along the Canadian border.
John Jaschke, BWSR executive director, said these projects are making a difference in lakes and rivers all across the state.
“By pursuing these investments in clean water, local governments are demonstrating a commitment to improving and protecting Minnesota’s landscape.” Jaschke said in a news release. “From cleaning up shorelines, to installing rain gardens and providing technical assistance for conservation practices, the projects receiving funding are as diverse as the communities they will benefit.”
Crow Wing County’s Serpent Lake is one example of how Clean Water funds are being put to good use. A highly used and valuable public resource, Serpent Lake is a tourism hub for the area, with parks, beaches, and fishing piers. The FY2014 project builds on previous research and analysis to target and implement high priority stormwater projects, mitigating runoff and, according to estimates, reducing phosphorus in the lake by 27 pounds per year and sediment by almost 5 tons per year. This, in turn, will reduce algae blooms and increase water clarity.
The Clean Water Legacy funds are targeting polluted and at-risk waters throughout the state. Some funded projects will create catchment areas to slow down water, allowing pollutants to filter out before reaching a lake or stream. Others will filter water entering drainage systems, protect drinking water wells, and reduce soil erosion.
The need still outweighs the funding. In this grant round BWSR received 244 applications totaling $51 million in requests for the $14 million in available funds. “There are many exceptional projects to choose from for the limited resources that are available,” Jaschke said. “BWSR and its agency partners use a decision-making process based on good science, sound planning and local commitment to do our best to identify those projects that will be the most effective.”