Fifty-three landowners in Crow Wing County (CWC) have completed 79 water quality projects that will reduce soil erosion, filter polluted runoff and provide habitat for wildlife.
More than 120 local citizens volunteered more than 1,000 hours to help prep sites, install and maintain the projects.
Cumulatively, these projects cover about 1.1 professional football fields with native plants area of 64,545 square feet.
Projects were funded by the Clean Water Fund (from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment), Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) State Cost-Share, landowner cash and volunteer time.
Robert and Eloise Stancer, summer residents of Fifty Lakes, received a grant from the Clean Water Fund.
“We installed a rain garden on our property because we wanted to prevent erosion caused by runoff rain water and to keep West Fox Lake clean. We are very happy to be involved in this program and suggest that other people talk to the SWCD if they have runoff or erosion issues on their property,” said Stancer.
The Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) completed water quality projects on four streams and 17 lakes, including Gull, Pelican, East and West Fox lakes, Crosslake, Big Trout, Serpent Lake and the Mississippi River.
Melissa Barrick, SWCD district manager, wrote grants to receive competitive Clean Water Fund dollars.
“The SWCD targeted lake areas that contain a high ratio of lake area to impervious surface area. Impervious surfaces such as driveways, roads and buildings cause more polluted runoff than natural vegetation. The SWCD also took into account lakes that have a decline in water quality, addressed erosion issues on specific sites and targeted lakes that have high property tax values,” said Barrick.
Jeff Hrubes, a BWSR clean water specialist, said: “This is a great example of using Clean Water Legacy Funding to target, to enhance and to improve water quality in the Brainerd lakes area.”
Barrick added: “Because of the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment, the SWCD has completed five times more projects in 2012 than in 2008.”
Beth Hippert, district technician, managed many of the projects.
“More than 17 local contractors were involved with construction and installation of the projects. The SWCD purchased supplies and plants from local businesses and nurseries. The success of the clean water projects has helped to create a demand for stormwater and natural shoreline landscaping services in CWC,” said Hippert.
Darren Mayers, district technician, added, “The SWCD also partnered with churches, lake associations and cities to install six rain gardens and one shoreline buffer in public spots to help educate the public. People can see firsthand the benefits of shoreline buffers, shoreline stabilization and rain gardens.”
To ensure the projects function properly, the landowners are required to maintain the project for 10 years. The SWCD staff will inspect the projects on a regular basis.
Landowners who participated in the water quality projects include: Char Wentzell of Crosslake, Immanuel Lutheran Church of Crosby, Marvin and Patricia Hannon of Fifty Lakes, Lowell and Linda Naley of Nisswa, Tom and Deloris Hintz of Emily, Charles Costa of Breezy Point, and Robert Stancer of Fifty Lakes.
Many thanks go to all the partners: the DNR, BWSR, local government units, volunteers, contractors, lake association and landowners who participated in water quality projects.