BALMM to meet Feb. 20 at MPCA Rochester office

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February 2019

BALMM to meet Feb. 20 at MPCA office in Rochester

The Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota (BALMM) will meet Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 18 Wood Lake Drive S.E., in Rochester.

Agenda as follows:

  • 9 a.m.: “Protecting native brook trout: Temperature, streamflow and hydrogeology” – Bob Tipping, Minnesota Geological Survey-University of Minnesota
  • 10:30 a.m.: Break
  • 10:45 a.m.: “Displacement of brown trout by native brook trout in a Driftless Area stream” – John Hoxmeier, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Noon: Adjourn

Protecting native brook trout: Temperature, streamflow and hydrogeology

Brook trout in Zumbro River watershed in southeast Minnesota

The recent discovery of resurgent brook trout populations in southeast Minnesota has led to an increased interest in documenting and improving critical habitat for this native, most temperature-sensitive trout species. The goal of this project is develop and apply a workable temperature sensing methodology to candidate trout stream reaches in order to quantify the changes in temperature, flow, and trout distributions. Advances in temperature measurements using fiber optic cables (distributed temperature sensing, DTS) allow temperature to be recorded through time at regularly spaced intervals, over distances of 1 to 2 kilometers. At the Feb. 20 BALMM meeting, Bob Tipping of MGS/UMN will present an overview of methods and results from East Indian Creek in the Mississippi River-Winona watershed.

Displacement of brown trout by native brook trout in a Driftless Area stream

Brook trout photo from DNR

Competition with invasive species, degraded habitat, and a warming climate have threatened brook trout populations throughout their native range in North America. Contrary to previous observations and predictions, brook trout are displacing brown trout in a southeast Minnesota stream without direct fisheries management intervention. At the Feb. 20 BALMM meeting, John Hoxmeier, of the Minnesota DNR, will present brook trout and brown trout population data collected from 1981 – 2017 that show a rare example of a native species outcompeting a non-native invader.

Federal funding round opens for projects to reduce non-point source pollution

The MPCA is receiving proposals for federal funding for projects that reduce non-point source pollution to Minnesota lakes and streams. The funding is part pf the federal Clean Water Act Section 319 program. Deadline for proposals is 4:30 p.m. Feb. 26.

The agency anticipates $2.5 million total will be available for grants.

To be eligible, projects must:

  • Implement Best Management Practices
  • Be located in a critical area of the watershed
  • Have a Total Maximum Daily Load for that waterbody approved by the EPA by Feb. 26

Program rules prohibit one-to-one contact between the MPCA and proposers. You may still submit questions by sending an email to, subject line “FFY 19 Section 319 Grant,” by 4:30 p.m. Feb. 19. Questions and answers will be posted on the MPCA website within two working days of receipt. A final list of all questions answered during the open Question and Answer period will be posted by Feb. 22.

See complete details on the Section 319 webpage.

City of Rochester offers rain garden class at no charge

Thinking about adding a rain garden to your landscape? It’s never too early to start planning. As part of its quarterly “Stormwater Presents Speaker Series, the city of Rochester will offer a class Feb. 12 at no charge.

This class will cover the basics of rain garden functions, benefits of long-rooted and native plants, and importance of managing stormwater onsite. Learn the steps to success when planning a rain garden including site assessment, material selection, installation, and maintenance. A photo tour will highlight rain gardens throughout the city, including those installed as part of the Realize Rain Gardens Rochester Cost-Share Grant Program. Applications will be available for the 2019 Realize Rain Gardens Rochester Cost-Share Grant Program, which are due May 1.

Presenting the class will be Stephanie Hatzenbihler, environmental education specialist with the city of Rochester Public Works Dept.

  • Date: Tuesday, Feb. 12
  • Time: 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Place: Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota – Cascade Meadow, 2900 19th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901
  • Cost: Free.No reservations are necessary.

The Stormwater Presents Speaker Series is a quarterly program featuring topics related to stormwater management in the city of Rochester. This program is free of charge and no registration is needed. All presentations are held in Rochester at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota - Cascade Meadow (2900 - 19th St. NW). For more information, contact Hatzenbihler by email at or phone at 507-328-2440.

0% interest loans available to curb water pollution

Buffer of native plants along lakeshore in Minnesota

Up to $15 million in loans with 0% interest is available for local partners to address non-point source pollution through the Clean Water Partnership program.

Eligible projects include:

  • Urban green infrastructure such as rain water reuse, green roofs, porous pavement, or any stormwater best management practice (BMP)
  • Buffers: purchase of native seeds and vegetation
  • Septic system upgrades and replacements
  • Technical assistance, outreach, and education
  • Equipment such as conservation tillage equipment
  • Any nonpoint source BMP
  • Feedlot upgrades and replacement  

Project sponsors can use the loans to implement projects directly or to set up a loan fund for landowners and other stakeholders. Government entities may apply to the MPCA at any time. The maximum loan amount per proposal is $2 million.

See the program webpage for more information, or contact: 

Upcoming events: Downstream Film Festival

Upcoming events: Downstream Film Festival

In the news and online: MPCA announcements, funding rounds open