Beyond clarity: Crow Wing SWCD’s targeted approach to Serpent Lake

Clean Water Fund-backed, watershed-focused work reversed a trend in declining water quality. It also built partnerships and changed the way the SWCD approaches conservation projects.

Five people stand in a spot with yellow flowers in the foreground and trees in the background.
From left: Crow Wing SWCD Board Chairman Jim Chamberlin, Deerwood Public Works Foreman Patrick Radtke, Serpent Lake Association Vice President Terry Tichenor, EOR Senior Project Manager Jay Michels and SWCD Manager Melissa Barrick met July 20, 2021, in Deerwood at the site of one of the targeted watershed projects within the Serpent Lake watershed. Photo Credits: Ann Wessel, BWSR
Boats are docked in front of cabins where the water reflects trees.
Smoke from distant wildfires created a hazy view of the Summer Place cabins July 20 from a Serpent Lake dock in Deerwood. Heavy rains had flooded some — but not all — of the cabins. Getting all 13 to agree to the project generated conflict and negotiation. Those unaffected by flooding didn’t want to give up land for the two-stage retention basin and iron-enhanced sand filter that slows and treats runoff from a 30-acre drainage area.
A length of boardwalk covers the pipe that previously sent untreated stormwater directly into Serpent Lake. Crow Wing SWCD Manager Melissa Barrick stood in front of the outlet as she discussed the improvements with SWCD Board Chairman Jim Chamberlin, center, and Serpent Lake Association Board Member Jim Seletos.
Yellow flowers and tall plants grow in front of bare sand.
An iron-enhanced sand filter is part of the stormwater treatment at the Deerwood site just off Serpent Road.
Three people walk up a road with trees on one side and tall plants on the other.
From left: Crow Wing SWCD Board Chairman Jim Chamberlin, SWCD Manager Melissa Barrick and Serpent Lake Association Vice President Terry Tichenor walk up the road from the Summer Place cabins, site of one of the Serpent Lake targeted watershed projects backed by a $1.2 million Clean Water Fund grant from BWSR.
Tall grasses and plants border the shoreline. Boats and docked in the background.
Momentum created by the successful targeted watershed work has inspired more lakeshore property owners to make improvements — such as maintaining a buffer of runoff-filtering native plants — on their own.

Details

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources’ mission is to improve and protect the state’s water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners. Website: www.bwsr.state.mn.us

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Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

Our mission is to improve and protect Minnesota’s water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners.