Prioritizing Watersheds for BMP Placement
Water quality across the state is under increased threat as land use and hydrologic pathways are altered to accommodate a growing population. Many watersheds are highly impacted by human influences, particularly by agriculture in the south and west as well as the urban/suburban areas throughout the state. Problems such as erosion and nutrient pollution in southern Minnesota negatively affect human and natural systems. Restoration and protection are the driving forces behind improving water quality. Strategic placement of in-field best management practices to mitigate water quality impacts is of upmost importance. The Board of Water and Soil Resources is developing a plan to prioritize watersheds for selection of focused efforts with the assistance of GIS generated data. A combination of in-field BMPs as part of a treatment train approach will be most effective at improving water quality. In southern Minnesota, an example from the Cedar River Watershed in Mower County includes the Mullenbach Two-Stage Ditch. Stability and nitrate removal assessment methods and results of this study gives insight into the feasibility and effectiveness of this approach.