Alternative Tile Intake Project - Enrollment Open
September 17th, 2015: Annandale, Minn. – The Clearwater River Watershed District (CRWD) is offering to assist farmers in the Kimball and Watkins area with replacing their open tile intakes with alternatives that maintain drainage and protect water resources. Click here to learn more!
Delinquent Utility Public Hearing Notice
September 16th, 2015: Annandale, Minn. – Notice is hereby given that he Clearwater River Watershed District Board of Managers will hold a public hearing on October 14, 2015 at 6:30pm at City Hall, Annandale, MN regarding delinquent utility accounts for the District's four communal sewer systems. All residents of the systems who have questions regarding their delinquent utility accounts should attend. If you have any questions, contact the District office at: (320) 274-3935.
By order of the Board,
Administrator, Clearwater River Watershed District
Kingston Wetland Restoration Leads to Healthier Environment
Kimball, MN – If you gaze west of the state highway 15 crossing of the Clearwater River (about 3 miles south of Kimball), you'll see the Kingston Wetland Complex, a large wetland and river ecosystem. This seemingly unremarkable wetland provides important habitat for a variety of creatures, as well as water quality benefits for the Clearwater River and downstream lakes. However, historical ditching as well as legacy pollutant loading from upstream had resulted in the degrading of this important wetland's ecological and water quality functions.
Over the past five years, the Clearwater River Watershed District (CRWD) undertook a large restoration effort to improve the ecological health of the wetland while addressing these legacy impacts. Previous studies showed the decay of organic matter in the wetland was causing a dissolved oxygen (DO) impairment in the river, and the wetland was exporting soluble phosphorus to downstream lakes (several of which are listed as impaired). The wetland was still somewhat protective of downstream water quality by trapping particulate phosphorus.
With a $404,000 grant from the MN Pollution Control Agency through a grant from the US EPA, Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Fund, the CRWD devised and executed a plan to solve the problems of phosphorus exportation and oxygen demand while maintaining existing wetland benefits. This is the first project in the state to tackle DO impairments without removal of a wastewater treatment plant or a dam.
The restored wetland and river channel comes close to pre-agrarian hydrology by re-meandering the low flow channel through the wetland. This addressed the DO impairment while lowering the frequency of times the wetland was exporting soluble phosphorus downstream. It also preserved access to the floodplain during high flows, which maintains the particulate phosphorus trapping capabilities of the wetland. In addition, a limestone filter berm was installed across the outlet of the wetland as it reenters the river to provide soluble phosphorus removal during low flow conditions.
By restoring the main channel and meander, the river goes from being a ditch through a wetland to a more significant recreational resource. Data collected post-construction shows the project meets its goals of addressing water quality issues and improving wetland and riverine habitat to support a broader range of species. For more information on this project, check out the CRWD's website at http://www.crwd.org. Also be sure to check out an informational sign on this project at Willow Creek Park in Kimball, MN, next to the playground.
Pleasant Lake Outlet Control Structure Opened
September 1st, 2015: Annandale, Minn. – The water level at the Grass Lake Dam on Clearwater / Grass Lakes has receded past 4.04 feet on the Grass Lake Dam Staff Gauge. Per the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' permit for the operation of the Pleasant Lake Outlet Control Structure, the outlet was opened at 6:30pm on August 31st, 2015. Residents on Pleasant Lake can expect water levels to fall due to the opening of the outlet. The Clearwater River Watershed District will continue to monitor water levels at the Grass Lake Dam throughout the season in relation to the operation of the Pleasant Lake Outlet Control Structure.
Please feel free to contact the District office if you have any further questions on this matter.
City of Kimball Stormwater Improvements Finished for Kimball Days
July 31st, 2015: Annandale, Minn. – The Kimball Stormwater Improvement Project is finished, just in time for Kimball Days. A partnership between the Clearwater River Watershed District (CRWD), the City of Kimball, and the State of Minnesota (MN), the project's goal is to protect Willow Creek and downstream lakes and rivers from the detrimental effect of stormwater runoff.
Stormwater runoff from the city drains to Willow Creek, a designated trout stream (rare for an urbanized area) and important park space for the community. Before this project, high-temperature stormwater runoff, laden with nutrients, drained untreated into the creek. Trout don't like high-temperatures, and too many nutrients can cause algae blooms in downstream lakes. Too much algae can make swimming and fishing unpleasant. The City also struggles with small-scale flooding during storm events. To address these issues, the CRWD and the city started working together in 2010 to provide treatment of stormwater runoff, thanks to two grants from the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources through the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment.
In conjunction with the city's street improvement work, the city now has an improved underground stormwater conveyance system (complete with up-sized grit chambers), which moves stormwater runoff to three treatment areas (one in Willow Creek Park, two adjacent to Hendricks Sand & Gravel). The treatment areas are designed to filter pollutants out and allow the water to infiltrate into shallow groundwater. In addition, several smaller installations address stormwater runoff in other areas of the city.
The residents of the City of Kimball can be proud of their new infrastructure, knowing they are ahead of many small cities in terms of addressing their stormwater runoff pollution. In addition, individual residents can do their part by making simple changes, such as rerouting house gutter downspouts to grass instead of pavement, mowing yards in such a manner that clippings are not blown into the streets or curbs, and raking leaves so they don't wash downstream. For more simple ideas, visit: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/living-green/citizens.html.
For more information on this project, check out the Kimball Stormwater Phase II Project webpage. Also be sure to check out the new Willow Creek Park sign, located next to the playground and Lions' Pavilion in Willow Creek Park. This sign includes a new trail map delineating the 2.5 miles of trials available for public enjoyment. Stop by the park today, wet a line, and enjoy this unique natural resource!