Watershed Network News - Jan. 27, 2012

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MN Crow Watershed

Jan. 27, 2012

Good turnout, discussion at TMDL list update meetings

More than 60 citizens and agency staff attended an afternoon or evening meeting about the 2012 Total Maximum Daily Load list, hosted Jan. 24 in Benson by the Chippewa River Watershed Project. Altogether, about 200 attended one of the series of seven meetings statewide rolling out the updated list. At Benson the formal program included an overview of the TMDL process by MPCA project manager Joe Hauger, and the 2012 list update by Howard Markus, MPCA-St. Paul. The meetings at Benson wrapped up with informal discussion in the "world cafe" format, coordinated by Jennifer Hoffman. “It went really well,” says Kylene Olson, CRWP manager. “We’re excited about the discussion. It was so engaging.” Jennifer was among those participating in the training last April on conducting ‘meetings that work’.

The 2012 list of impaired waters totals 2,171, an increase of 511 from the 2010 list. Apart from mercury, impairments for nutrients, turbidity, and bacteria lead the list. More biological monitoring is identifying an increasing number of biological impairments. The updated TMDL list is open for public comment through Feb. 27. More information about the list and comment period is available on the MPCA impaired waters list webpage.
Paul Wymar-TMDL meeting

Netland leaves Hawk Creek Watershed Project for DNR

Hawk Creek Watershed Project Coordinator, Cory Netland, has accepted a position with DNR-Fisheries and will start working from the New Ulm office Feb. 29. Highlights from Cory's three-year tenure at Hawk Creek include: Completion of the Long/Ringo Lake Nutrient Total Maximum Daily Load project, securing five grants - including the project’s first BWSR Clean Water Fund grant and a Surface Water Assessment Grant (SWAG) that covered the chemical analysis needed for the intensive watershed monitoring approach. The cumulative funding secured through the five grants exceeded $1 million, and $800,000 of SSTS loans. HCWP implemented over $300,000 of best management practices over the past three years. It completed nine grant projects over the past three years and continued its track record of having used every dollar of grant funding awarded since its inception.

His new job will primarily handle aquatic habitat (shoreland restoration) grants in the southern Minnesota DNR region. The grants are available to counties, cities, watershed districts, other local units of government, conservation groups and lake associations to conduct shoreline and watershed enhancement projects with native plants, with the goal of improving aquatic habitat and water quality for fish and wildlife. Further details on this grant opportunity are available at the DNR Shoreland Habitat Restoration Grant webpage.
Cory Netland

Great program set for Hawk Creek annual meeting Feb. 8

A good turnout is expected at the annual meeting Feb. 8 of the Hawk Creek Watershed Project. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. at the Kandi Entertainment Center in Willmar. Project coordinator Cory Netland will give a project update and farewell. At 9:30 a.m. Redwood County farmer Bruce Tiffany will talk about "Whose problem is it anyway? An upstream-downstream conversation about water." Also on the program, Shawn Schottler, St. Croix Watershed Research Station, will address "More erosive rivers: Consequences and drivers," and Heiko Schoenfuss, St. Cloud State University, will explain biological and regulatory implications of contaminants of emerging concern. Registration is necessary to reserve lunch; call the project at 320-523-3666 by Feb. 3.

Yellow Medicine WD repairs flood damage in 2011

The Yellow Medicine River Watershed District finished the year of 2011 with the completion of nine repair projects funded by $45,000 from FEMA, for flood damage occurring during the fall of 2010. The District has installed a total of 10 permanent pool structures in the watershed in the past 20 years. These structures are invaluable in controlling flood waters that develop after significant storms, affected  largely due to the topography of the watershed. The watershed has a fall in elevation of approximately 1,100 feet from its source location, Lake Shaokatan, to the mouth of the Yellow Medicine River where it enters the Minnesota River. Much of the FEMA work involved repairs on the intakes of the flood control structures. Additional projects included repairs to tile intakes and culverts on various watershed drainage ditches, of which the District oversees eight drainage ditches, totaling approximately 35 miles of open drainage ditches. Landowners are allowed to tile into the drainage ditches, and the watershed staff completes an annual inspection of the drainage ditches and the flood control structures.

Water quality dialogue Feb. 2 at Owatonna

The public is invited to attend a watershed wide, citizen–led conversation on water quality issues facing the Straight, Cannon, Le Sueur  and Mississippi Rivers to be held on Thursday, Feb. 2 at the Holiday Inn & Suites 2365 43rd St NW, Owatonna from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The event is free, but advanced registration is required. The conversation is being sponsored by a wide range of grassroots citizen groups, farm groups, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and InCommons. The purpose of the meeting is to explore how citizens, businesses and government can share leadership by collaborating to restore water quality in the four river systems. To register for the meal and dialogue or for more information, call 1-877-269-2873 by Jan. 25. Seating is available for 80 people on a first come, first served basis. 

Watershed alliance pursues mayors' fishing opener plans

Among its priority projects for 2012, the Minnesota River Watershed Alliance plans to develop and promote a "mayors' fishing opener." The group had been exploring the possibility of landing a Governor's fishing opener. When the idea of organizing a mayor's fishing opener surfaced, it drew wide support from alliance participants. It would seek the support and participation of communities along the river and throughout the basin, and perhaps be linked to existing community events. In other business at its quarterly meeting Jan. 17, the alliance plans to continue the paddler patch program, to support a new documentary by John Hickman and Jon Carlson, support the Blue Ways Program for the Minnesota River, continue support of the Friendship Tours, and support the removal of the Minnesota Falls dam. The Minnesota River Watershed Alliance is open to any and all interested persons, and meets the second Tuesdays in January, April, July and October at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson.

Minnesota River turbidity TMDL draft report posted

The draft report for the Minnesota River turbidity Total Maximum Daily Load project is posted on the MPCA website. The 60-day public comment period for the report is expected to be announced in the near future. This likely will occur in conjunction with the South Metro Mississippi (nutrients) and Greater Blue Earth River (turbidity) TMDL report public notice periods. The Minnesota River report report covers 18 reaches of the river including eight tributaries. A 30-member stakeholder advisory committee has provided significant input through a series of meetings as the report was being developed. For more information, contact Larry Gunderson, larry.gunderson@state.mn.us, 651-757-2400.
TMDL report cover

Federal, state agencies endorse ag water quality certification

Governor Mark Dayton joined U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson Jan. 17 to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing the state and federal government to develop a new program that will enhance Minnesota’s water quality by accelerating farmers’ voluntary adoption of on-farm conservation practices. The initiative will be designed to accelerate progress toward water quality goals while also giving Minnesota farmers greater regulatory and cost stability.  Participating farmers will be prioritized for cost-share funding from federal and state agencies reducing the uncertainty of their operating environment. Program details will be developed cooperatively in the months ahead among state and federal regulatory agencies, the partners will establish a Technical Advisory Committee to develop the certification program. Agencies participating in the agreement include the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program.

In the news

Agri-News, 1/26/12
NRCS news release, 1/25/12
MPCA news release, 1/9/11
MPCA news release, 1/4/11
Mankato Free Press, Jan. 2, 2012


Feb. 2: Water quality dialogue, 5-8 p.m., Owatonna Holiday Inn
Feb. 8: Hawk Creek Watershed Project annual meeting, Kandi Entertainment Center, Willmar.
Feb. 11, 2012: CURE annual meeting, Hollywood Theater, Montevideo.
Feb. 15: Nutrient management conference, Jackpot Junction, Morton.
March 8-9: Minnesota Erosion Control Association annual conference and trade show, Grand View Lodge, Nisswa.
March 19: Minnesota River Board, 9 a.m., K of C hall, Fairmont
April 17: Minnesota River Watershed Alliance, 6 p.m., Ridgewater College, Hutchinson


Watershed Projects


Watershed Districts


Joint Powers Boards and Associations



Watershed Network News welcomes news from partners about funding opportunities, project updates and events. Email your news to forrest.peterson@state.mn.us.  Please note that the MPCA has switched to a new service, called GovDelivery. To ensure delivery of these messages, please add mpca@public.govdelivery.com to your address book or safe sender list. Please forward this to any other interested parties. Past issues are located on the MPCA Minnesota River Basin webpage
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