Delisting sampler: Clean Water Funds linked to lake, stream improvements

Pelican Creek flows through Grant County to the Pomme de Terre River. A segment of the creek is among the waters slated to be removed from the state impaired waters list in 2022. Photo Credit: Grant SWCD

“The goal is to move that needle of progress towards improvement in our resources, and this is what we may see in the future, on a grander scale,” Kovarik said.

“It’s more mindset and behavior changes is what I think is happening there,” Thiel said. “All of the lakes that we’re actively working in are seeing improved water quality. That’s kind of as good as it gets. It’s a little bit better each year.”

In Sherburne County, Birch Lake’s water quality has improved as a result of Clean Water Fund-backed stormwater retrofits. Photo Credit: Sherburne SWCD

Sherburne County

“We realized meeting water quality standards was very much an achievable, feasible goal for us to work towards,” Cibulka said.

Outlet Creek flows from Lake Minnewaska to Lake Emily in Pope County. Photo Credit: Pope SWCD

Pope County

“You get a project accomplished that worked well, and it builds upon the next project. A lot of these landowners, we’ve done multiple projects with them,” Kovarik said. “Success builds on success.”

The regional stormwater management structure supported by a Clean Water Fund grant is buried under the parking lot shown here near Lake George in St. Cloud. The Stearns County SWCD project contributed to improved water quality. Photo Credit: Stearns County SWCD

Stearns County

An angler fished from the pier at Lily Lake in Stillwater. Photo Credit: Ann Wessel, BWSR

Washington County

“The Lily Lake delisting was a massive multi-year, multi-stakeholder project — both public and private — that took thousands of hours of collaboration and outreach to reach this point,” said Bryan Pynn, Washington Conservation District watershed restoration specialist. “Not only have the Clean Water Funds been instrumental in installing BMPs (best management practices) and reducing pollutants around the lake; but they also allowed the WMO to cast a wider net in terms of who their cooperative partners could be, and helped to create a larger visual presence in the watershed.”

A kayaker paddled on Sunfish Lake, where the Lower Mississippi River WMO initiated an alum treatment supported by a Clean Water Fund grant. Photo Credit: Lower Mississippi River WMO

Dakota County

“This project is a really great example from start to finish of how state and local agencies can work together to get results,” said Joe Barten, Lower Mississippi River WMO administrator.

Pelican Creek benefited from a livestock exclosure. Photo Credit: Grant SWCD

Grant County

“Essentially that is an indicator of everything upstream, and some of our biggest recreational lakes in the county are there, Pelican Lake being one. That’s an indicator of what’s going on in that lake,” said Jared House, Grant SWCD administrative manager. “Additionally, this creek is a conduit to the Pomme de Terre River, which is a huge recreational river for fishing and kayaking.”

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

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