Best Management Practices

Best Management Practices (BMP) can help improve or protect our waters. BMPs are operational or management activities and structural systems that treat or remove pollutants before they reach rivers, lakes, streams, or wetlands. Best management practices reduce pollutants, slow runoff rates, or decrease the volume of runoff reaching our waters.

Resources about BMPs are available from a variety of sources, but the best source for BMP information and technical assistance is right around the corner. Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District and Scott Soil and Water Conservation District have experienced and knowledgeable staff members who consult with landowners about the best solution to pollution and water management problems. These experts can provide advice, design assistance, plan review, inspection, referrals, or financial incentives (grant funding, partner cost-share, or payment for conservation easements).

Ask your local SWCD about any of the following best management practices:
• Contour Farming
• Structural Runoff Control
• Wetland Management
• Rotational Grazing
• Feedlot Management
• Nutrient Management
• Riparian Buffers
• Grass Waterways
• Conservation Tillage
• Cover Crops
• Pesticide Management/Integrated Pest Management
• Streambank Stabilization
• Street Landscaping and Trees
• Stream Habitat Restoration
• Streambank Fencing
• Home Runoff Management
• Green Roofs
• Constructed Wetlands

Native gardens, raingardens, and stabilized shorelines are best management practices that can help water soak in and filter stormwater runoff. Excess stormwater runoff and associated pollutants are a big threat to lakes and rivers and can cause algae blooms, flooding, or other nuisance conditions.Homeowners can learn how to protect water quality by planning, purchasing and planting a native garden, rain garden, or stabilizing shorelines. Find out 2020 Landscaping for Clean Water workshop dates and locations, and register to attend. LEARN MORE

Collect runoff from your roof with a rain barrel and use the water to keep your landscape green. This simple solution reduces water use; nurtures the lawn, garden, and trees; and keeps water from carrying pollutants into storm drains.Leaves and grass clippings can enrich your plants, if you use a compost bin to transform yard waste into a great soil amendment. Natural bacteria, insects, air, and heat transform yard wastes – and even food wastes – into compost. Reduce your waste disposal costs and keep nutrients in leaves and grass working for you in your landscape and out of nearby water resources. Rain barrels and compost bins are sold at most home improvement stores, but other thrifty options are available.

The Recycling Association of Minnesota offers an annual sale on both products. Dakota County makes the rain barrels and compost bins more affordable by offering a discount to its residents. Or, you can make your own rain barrel! The Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization (VRWJPO) in coordination with Friends of the Mississippi River sponsors the Vermillion Stewards “Make and Take” rain barrel workshops in the watershed a few times a year.

Storm events with heavy rainfall and high winds often leave a trail of downed trees that obstruct waterways. Other materials such as sediment (silt, sand, or gravel), debris, and garbage can build up and obstruct flow in ditches and streams. The Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization (VRWJPO) and its Technical Advisory Group (which includes staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) prepared a fact sheet, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Stream Obstructions, to provide landowners with best management practices for keeping obstructions from adversely affecting stream flow, property, fish, and wildlife.

Despite living in the land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota does not have an unlimited supply of affordable, high quality water. Together, we can sustain our water supply by adjusting lawn-watering practices. Investing in technology for irrigationsprinkler, or soil moisture-based controls to manage timing and conserve water whether living in a single family home or association. Following these water-saving tips can help you navigate your way to smarter watering.

Try these organic lawn restoration ideas and make sure that when you fertilize, you green up your lawn, not your lakes and rivers.