Efforts to improve water quality in the St. Croix River are getting a million dollar boost from Minnesota’s Legacy Amendment. The 2008 amendment created a new tax to fund projects to help clean water, wildlife habitat, arts and culture, and parks and trails across the state.
In addition to grants which will help wetlands, groundwater and trout, the Star Tribune reports that two projects in particular are intended to improve water quality in the river:
The Washington Conservation District, which works to protect both soil and water, received $216,130 to work with willing rural landowners in the southeastern part of the county to keep water from washing fertilizers, soil and other materials into the river, and also to keep it from causing erosion and creating ravines.
Potential trouble spots are identified first by aerial photos, then verified by studies on the ground, Hong said.
The district then works with landowners to identify solutions, which could include installing sediment basins that capture fast-flowing water and drain it out more slowly, or taking steps such as planting cover crops on land that is otherwise left bare in the winter and prone to erosion.
The Middle St. Croix Water Management Organization also received $127,000, which will be used to help communities along the St. Croix update their zoning codes and ordinances to ensure that stormwater pollution from new developments doesn’t get into the river.
The first project mentioned above, reducing runoff in high-priority areas, is continuing innovative work highlighted in a St. Croix 360 story last summer.
More information about the projects is available on the East Metro Water blog.