Zumbro Watershed Plan
Funding Provided By: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Project Duration: April 2011-June 2013
Summary: Currently, seventeen stream reaches in the Zumbro River watershed are listed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as impaired for excess turbidity, or too much soil in the water. A turbidity Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study was completed in 2011 and is awaiting approval by the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2007, local partners, led by the ZWP, completed a two-year planning process that culminated in a watershed management plan for the Zumbro River. The plan provides detailed watershed history and background, discussion of key water quality issues of concern, proposed goals to achieve a planning-derived vision for the watershed, and a work plan to accomplish the goals. The watershed plan was completed in 2007 but is in need of revision to reflect the current status of the watershed.
The purpose of this project is to complete the turbidity TMDL implementation plan, as required by the MPCA, and revise the Zumbro River Watershed Management Plan to ensure it continues to reflect local needs, incorporates new information, and develops more effective linkages with related local, state and federal government programs.
Now it is time to move beyond sediment to develop a more comprehensive watershed management plan. This means addressing additional pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus and pathogens, plus additional topics such as groundwater protection. We also need to develop ongoing linkages between watershed implementation planning and local water plans at the county and city level. Education and communication also are essential elements of a comprehensive watershed management plan.
- Final Document
- Kick off meeting for the Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan July 26, 2012 Cascade Meadows Wetlands and Environmental Science Center, Rochester, MN
Prioritizing Critical Restoration and Protection Sites in the Zumbro River Watershed
Funding Provided By: Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund
Project Duration: July 2011-July 2013
Summary: This project will identify and prioritize areas in the Zumbro River Watershed that are critical for restoring and protecting water quality. Currently, conservation practices in the Zumbro Watershed are implemented opportunistically because a coordinated, watershed-wide approach for identifying critical sources of nonpoint source pollution, prioritizing sites and planning implementation projects is absent. Studies suggest that small areas of the landscape contribute disproportionately to nonpoint source pollution, so implementation of conservation projects should focus on those critical areas to maximize water quality benefits and ensure the most efficient use of resources. To arrive at our goal, we will 1) analyze Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data and other Geographic Information System (GIS) data to identify and rank critical areas of soil erosion and surface runoff for the 910,337-acre watershed and 2) develop and use an in-field assessment technique to further evaluate the top 50 source locations in the Zumbro Watershed. Outcomes of this project include determination of the top 50 critical sites, and identification of appropriate conservation practices and potential funding sources for those projects. In addition, Zumbro Watershed Partnership partners will be trained in the protocols developed so they can apply this process to the remainder of critical areas identified through the project and monitor changing conditions to update the list of priority projects as necessary. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is a collaborating agency on this project and will help disseminate results to other Minnesota watersheds that may want to conduct similar projects.
Surface Water Monitoring
Funding Provided By: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Project Duration: April 2012-June 2014
The ZWP has received a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to monitor a variety of chemical and physical parameters at 13 stream sites across the Zumbro. Sites will be sampled 9 times in 2012 and 6 times in 2013. The purpose it to give the Pollution Control Agency a picture of the health of the Zumbro River Watershed and results will be used to direct restoration and protection efforts in the watershed. Volunteers are needed for this project. If you are interested in helping collect water samples, take field measurements and visually assess the stream at the schedule described above please contact Lisa at 507-226-6787.
“Slow the Flow” Educational Campaign
Funding Currently Being Sought From: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and local businesses
Summary: The “Slow the Flow” Campaign is an educational initiative to engage residents, local governments, land owners, and businesses to take action to slow down and reduce the amount of water running into the Zumbro River. Increased water flow leads to riverbank and gully erosion, river turbidity and sedimentation, increased runoff pollution, and an increased danger of flooding. This initiative uses both short- and long-term strategies to encourage city residents to use more rain barrels and rain gardens, encourage rural landowners to install more farm ponds and terrace systems, and to encourage local units of government to create more stormwater holding ponds and other systems to reduce the speed and volume of runoff entering the river.
Funding has been secured from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to install 90 permanent signs in the watershed that make drivers and recreational visitors aware that they are crossing the Zumbro River and that they are within the Zumbro Watershed. Funding will also cover a professional survey to assess baseline knowledge and develop a plan to increase resident awareness about the main reasons for increased river flow volumes, erosion, sedimentation and flooding in the Zumbro River Watershed. Finally, two landowner-led councils will be established in priority subwatersheds to discuss and decide on best practices to implement in the subwatershed.
As part of this project, Zumbro Watershed Partnership is giving cities and counties in the watershed the opportunity to receive and install bridge signs that identify rivers and streams in the watershed at no cost. We are currently working with Olmsted, Dodge, and Goodhue counties and the city of Rochester to identify appropriate bridge sign locations.
Below is a map of "Proposed Bridge Sign Locations" in the city of Rochester.
Zumbro & Friends
Funding currently being sought from the Minnesota State Legislature
Summary: Southeastern Minnesota flooding is costing local communities, the state and federal government millions of dollars. These floods have wrought devastation upon the lives of the people in these rural communities who are our neighbors and a vital part of the fabric of Minnesota. At the same time,the floods have been a reset event, which has provided the opportunity to go forward with a new start. The Zumbro Watershed can't be looked upon as an unmanaged problem, but as a tremendous resource to many communities within its boundaries.
Zumbro & Friends was formed in response to the devastating September 2010 Zumbro River flooding. It is a true grassroots organization that is comprised of local citizens that are partnering with three established non-profit organizations-- the Zumbro Watershed Partnership, Coming Alongside, and Renewing the Countryside--- and the academic community to form an Executive Steering Committee. The common goal for this work is the development of a comprehensive Watershed Flood Control and Mitigation Plan.
Zumbro & Friends seeks to foster relationships between the faith community, private sector, local government agencies, regulating and supporting agencies, legislators and the citizens who live in the Zumbro Watershed. By working proactively, across community boundaries and across sectors, Zumbro & Friends hopes to develop a comprehensive, coordinated, multi-county development plan that can be applied to other parts of the state.