The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources approved $13.9 million in Clean Water Fund grants to improve water quality in streams, lakes and groundwater across the state, including for bacteria and phosphorus reduction in Todd and Otter Tail Counties.

The majority of the grant funding is allocated for voluntary conservation projects across Minnesota, including $2.1 million for projects that specifically focus on improving and protecting drinking water. Multipurpose drainage management projects will receive $734,441, according to a BWSR news release.

“Clean water is fundamental to the health and well-being of the people who call Minnesota home,” said BWSR executive director John Jaschke in the release. “These grants will improve water quality throughout our state and help provide more Minnesotans with the clean water they expect and deserve.”

  • The Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District received $81,909 for their project to reduce bacteria by 3 - 10% in the Partridge River. The current bacteria load is caused by outdated and unlined manure storage basins, unrestricted access of livestock to streams and a lack of properly functioning vegetative buffers on the river.
  • The East Otter Tail SWCD received $167,600 to reduce phosphorus by at least 45 pounds per year on Big Pine, Little Pine, Walker, Wall and South Lida Lakes. These lakes are considered the greatest concern because of high levels of disturbance in their watersheds, high phosphorus sensitivity and frequent nuisance algae blooms. SWCD staff plan to implement 25 shoreline restorations, rain garden best management practices and target 10 agricultural parcels for cover crops, perennial cover, nutrient management plans, and irrigation water management based on PTMApp results.