A $470,000 grant to the Becker Soil and Water Conservation District to reduce sediment in the South Branch of the Wild Rice River is among several water projects in this area to receive funding from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.

In all, the board approved $13.9 million in 52 Clean Water Fund grants on Jan. 22 to improve water quality in streams, lakes, and groundwater across the state, according to a news release.

The grants come from Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy funds. The Clean Water Fund receives 33% of the sales tax revenue generated by the Legacy Amendment.

Becker Soil and Water Conservation District

The Becker Soil and Water Conservation District will launch Phase II of the South Branch Wild Rice Sediment Reduction Project -- continuing to targeting excessive erosion causing sediment and nutrient loading to the South Branch of the Wild Rice River in Becker County, according to the release.

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With 75 targeted site-appropriate combinations of structural and ecological practices including grade stabilizations, water and sediment control basins, grassed waterways, filter strips, wetland restorations and critical area plantings, this project is expected to reduce total suspended solids by 32%, helping to meet downstream reduction goals established within the Lower Wild Rice River Total Maximum Daily Load. The district’s $470,000 grant request was fully funded.

Otter Tail districts

Also fully funded was $167,000 to protect high-priority lakes in Otter Tail County.

The East and West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation Districts are targeting phosphorus reduction on the lakes of greatest concern, which have high levels of disturbance in their watersheds, high phosphorus sensitivity and frequent nuisance algae blooms.

These lakes were targeted from the over 1,000 lakes in the county, to the 60 assessed lakes, to the five lakes of greatest concern. District staff plan to implement 25 shoreline restorations and rain garden best management practices where they can provide the greatest benefit, according to the release.

Staff will also target 10 agricultural parcels for cover crops, perennial cover, nutrient management plans, and irrigation water management based on PTMApp results. These activities are expected to reduce phosphorus contributions to Big Pine, Little Pine, Walker, Wall and South Lida Lakes by at least 45 pounds per year.

Todd Soil and Water Conservation District

The Todd Soil and Water Conservation District received about $82,000 in “E. Coli Reduction Match” funding for the Partridge River, which flows between Wadena and Staples.

The project will reduce bacteria loading caused by outdated, unlined manure storage basins, unrestricted access of livestock to streams, and a lack of properly functioning vegetative buffers on the Partridge River in northern Todd County, according to a Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources news release.

Clay Soil and Water Conservation District

The Clay Soil and Water Conservation District received $165,000 for a Buffalo River grade stabilization project. It will partner with the Buffalo Red River Watershed District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and landowners to install 30 grade stabilization structures (side inlets) or similar conservation practices to stabilize high priority gullies that are contributing sediment to the Buffalo River. When these 30 gullies are stabilized, sediment loading to the Buffalo River will be reduced by 621 tons per year and total phosphorus is estimated to be reduced by 330 pounds per year.