The Chisago Soil & Water Conservation District continues to secure grant funding, making projects to enhance and project water quality in the county possible. In 2014, more than $14 million dollars was available and awarded for clean water projects. These grants are funded through the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Constitutional Amendment passed in 2008.
The agency responsible for allocating the funding is the Board of Water Soil Resources. They received 244 applications requesting nearly $52 million dollars. The Chisago SWCD was awarded two Clean Water Fund (CWF) grants, totaling $367,000.
The first CWF grant awarded to the SWCD is focused on installing targeted best management practices in the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes Watershed. Urban sub-watershed assessments have been completed for the cities of Center City, Lindstrom, and Chisago City. These assessments prioritize areas within the watershed that have no current storm water treatment and where projects can get the best pollution reduction for the money spent on projects. A similar assessment for the rural parts of the watershed is also being developed. Together, these assessments pinpoint projects that get the best bang for the buck. The Chisago SWCD has received similar grants for this watershed in 2011, 2012, and 2013. With the funding, nearly 50 urban BMPs have been installed in the past three years, and several more are being designed for installation in the coming season.
The second CWF grant awarded to the SWCD will continue the implementation phase of the St. Croix River Escarpment project, which stabilizes active gully erosion sites along the St. Croix River. In 2011, an inventory of all active gullies was conducted along the St. Croix River Escarpment from the south end of Wild River State Park to the Washington County line. This report identified over 30 severely eroding gullies. The SWCD began stabilizing gullies that were identified in this report with a Clean Water Fund grant in 2012. To date, over 10 active gullies have been corrected. The 2014 grant will help the SWCD continue this program.
For more information about Clean Water Funding, visit http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/cleanwaterfund or visit the SWCD’s website at www.chisagoswcd.org.