Cleaner, clearer water. Healthier lakes, rivers, and streams. Thanks to Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization (VRWJPO) has received five Clean Water Fund (CWF) grants that total more than $1 million for water quality improvement projects in Lakeville (for South Creek and Lake Marion), Burnsville (for Lake Alimagnet), and Castle Rock Township (for the South Branch). The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) announced the grants for 2017 projects on Dec. 14.
Clean Water Funds are used to protect at-risk water resources and target impaired waters throughout the state. “These projects are prioritized and targeted to maximize the impact of the Clean Water Fund on our state’s natural resources,” says John Jaschke, BWSR executive director. BWSR funded 78 project applications for a total of $13.4 million for 2017. Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) also received a CWF grant to install up to 20 conservation practices along Trout Brook, a designated trout stream and tributary to the Cannon River.
The five projects awarded CWF grants in the Vermillion River Watershed are:
- Golden Pond/South Creek Restoration. South Creek, a tributary to the Vermillion River and a DNR-designated trout stream, flows through a large stormwater basin (Golden Pond) in Lakeville. The VRWJPO and City of Lakeville will create a new channel to separate the creek from the pond, resulting in significantly cooler stream temperature, increased dissolved oxygen, and less sediment in South Creek.
- AirLake Vortech Structure. The VRWJPO and the City of Lakeville propose to retrofit an existing stormwater pipe in the AirLake Industrial Park with a hydrodynamic separator, a technology that removes large amounts of sediment from stormwater. One hydrodynamic separator will be installed and is estimated to reduce sediment loads to South Creek and the Vermillion River by 7,200 lbs/year.
- Alimagnet Lake Subwatershed Assessment Projects. The VRWJPO and the City of Burnsville plan an overall improvement in the Alimagnet Lake subwatershed. Four individual projects will reduce phosphorus in water reaching the lake. The overall project will retrofit two existing stormwater ponds that drain to Alimagnet Lake (impaired for nutrients) with iron-enhanced sand filters that reduce phosphorus. Alum treatments within both ponds will reduce the amount of internal phosphorus being released by the pond sediments and contributing to nutrient impairment in Alimagnet Lake.
- County 78-06 Nitrate Treatment Project. As part of the Dakota County Transportation Department’s highway 78 road reconstruction project, the VRWJPO is partnering with Dakota County to install a nitrate treatment practice on a tributary to the South Branch of the Vermillion River adjacent to the road. The South Branch has the highest nitrate loads in the watershed and contributes to contaminated drinking water in the eastern portion of the watershed.
- County 50-19 Lake Marion Protection Projects. As part of the County Road 50 upgrade in Lakeville, the VRWJPO is partnering with Dakota County and the City of Lakeville to improve stormwater management along County Road 50 with additional phosphorus treatment. A treatment-train approach, featuring an iron-enhanced sand filter at the tail end to remove dissolved phosphorus, will be used to treat a drainage area that currently receives little to no stormwater treatment.