Minnesota agency awards $10 million in Clean Water Fund grants

Variety of projects will reduce erosion and contamination of lakes and rivers with excess nutrients.

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Eroding lakeshore stabilized with coconut biologs and a native vegetation buffer on Martin Lake. (Photo courtesy Anoka Watershed District)

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) approved approximately $10 million in Clean Water Fund (CWF) grants today to improve water quality in streams, lakes and groundwater across the state. Most of the grant funding is allocated for voluntary conservation projects across Minnesota, including funding for projects that focus on improving and protecting drinking water.

“These grants will equip local governments to work in partnership with landowners across Minnesota to put projects on the ground that protect our valuable water and soil resources,” said BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke. “This locally led work is key to improving water quality and soil health in Minnesota.”

The $10 million will fund 32 grants. Learn more about the grant recipients in the St. Croix River watershed:

Sunrise Chain of Lakes Shoreland Stabilization – Phase 2
Anoka Soil and Water Conservation District
$107,000

This project targets the Sunrise River chain of lakes in NE Anoka County in the northern Twin Cities Metro. The chain includes larger recreational lakes (Martin, Linwood, & Coon Lakes) & smaller, shallower lakes best known for fish & wildlife (Island & Typo Lakes). These lakes, except for Coon & Island, are impaired & drain to the Sunrise & St. Croix Rivers where nutrient reductions are regional priorities. We will install at least 300 linear feet of shoreline stabilization including native aquatic and near shore plants. Measurable outcomes will include 8 lbs/yr of phosphorus and 5 tons of sediment reduction.

Big Carnelian Lake Stormwater Quality Improvements – Phase 2
Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District
$216,000

This project proposes to collect and treat 4.55 acres of stormwater flowing directly into Big Carnelian Lake with no water quality treatment. Four bioretention basins will reduce annual discharge by 2-acre feet and reduce 7.4 lbs. total phosphorus and 2.9 tons of sediment discharging into Big Carnelian Lake each year. Big Carnelian Lake is a high-quality recreational lake with a public access and declining water quality trends. These practices address significant sources of untreated urban stormwater discharging into the lake.

July Avenue Feedlot
Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District
$90,000

This project will implement cover crops and livestock waste management practices on a farm/feedlot in southern Chisago County. Proposed practices include: cover crops, roof runoff management, clean water diversion, waste management system, and vegetated treatment area. The proposed project is estimated to reduce approximately 61 lb/yr of watershed phosphorus loading to School Lake, which discharges through a stream to Little Comfort Lake.

2024 GCW TMDL Implementation
Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District
$250,000

East Rush Lake, West Rush Lake, and Goose Lake are three of the poorest lakes in Chisago County in terms of water quality, yet also some of the most heavily used lakes for recreation. All three are impaired for nutrients (total phosphorus) and rank at or near the bottom of the list of lakes in the county when all parameters are compared. This project will provide technical and financial assistance in the watershed to do targeted implementation of at least 20 Best Management Practices to reduce watershed runoff phosphorus loading to North/South Goose and East/West Rush Lakes and the St. Croix River by a minimum of 140 Lbs/Yr.

Valley Creek Mainstem Restoration Project
Valley Branch Watershed District
$462,000

The Valley Creek Mainstem Restoration Project will continue to protect and improve Valley Creek, a world-class trout stream located in the Valley Branch Watershed District (VBWD). The project will increase the creek’s floodplain connectivity by reshaping 600 feet of the creek’s banks and removing approximately 12,100 cubic yards of material. This will reduce the erosiveness of the waterpower and annually prevent 8.5 tons of sediment from eroding and silting over trout spawning sites. The project will establish a 60-footwide floodplain with native vegetation, replacing buckthorn, burdock, reed canary grass, and other invasive species. This will improve nesting habitat for birds, pollinator habitat, and a wildlife corridor.

Goose Lake Water Quality Improvement Project
Valley Branch Watershed District
$150,000

The proposed project includes the application of alum to Goose Lake, which will de-list the lake from the MPCA’s impaired waters list due to excessive nutrients. Goose Lake is located at the entrance to Washington County’s Lake Elmo Park Reserve. This project is expected to reduce the combined internal phosphorus load at Goose Lake South and North by an average of 127 pounds over the water year and 105 pounds during the growing season (which is an 80% reduction in the internal load).


BWSR awards competitive CWF grants annually. The state is shifting to a Watershed-Based Implementation Funding model, which offers consistent, non-competitive funding to planning partnerships with approved watershed management plans. This helps partnerships focus on the highest priority projects within a specific watershed. Competitive CWF grants remain an important part of conservation delivery despite this shift, offering funding to individual districts for projects and practices.

BWSR is the state soil and water conservation agency, and it administers programs that prevent sediment and nutrients from entering our lakes, rivers, and streams; enhance fish and wildlife habitat; and protect wetlands. The 20-member board consists of representatives of local and state government agencies and citizens. BWSR’s mission is to improve and protect Minnesota’s water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners.

About the Minnesota Clean Water Fund

Minnesota voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in 2008 to protect, enhance, and restore wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve arts and cultural heritage; to support parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater. The Clean Water Fund receives 33 percent of the sales tax revenue generated by the Legacy Amendment. More information about the Clean Water Fund is available here.


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Minnesota agency awards $10 million in Clean Water Fund grants