Regional Technical Assistance and Statewide Coordination for Clean Water

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
$1,750,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
$1,630,000
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
$1,630,000
2011 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
$1,182,500
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
$689,000
Source: 
Clean Water Fund
Status: 
In Progress
Start Date: 
July 2009
Activity Type: 
Modeling, Education/Outreach/Engagement, Preservation, Analysis/Interpretation, Technical Assistance, Restoration/Enhancement, Assessment/Evaluation, Planning, Research
Counties Affected: 
Statewide
Project Details:
2014 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2013, Ch. 137, Art. 2, Sec. 6(d)
Appropriation Language 
$1,850,000 the first year and $1,850,000 the second year are for developing targeted, science-based watershed restoration and protection strategies, including regional technical assistance for TMDL plans and development of a watershed assessment tool, in cooperation with the commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency. By January 15, 2016, the commissioner shall submit a report to the chairs and ranking minority members of the senate and house of representatives committees and divisions with jurisdiction over environment and natural resources policy and finance providing the outcomes to lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater achieved with this appropriation and recommendations.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$1,750,000
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
16.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY 14, DNR will continue to work with state and local partners, providing information and analysis to identify pollution problems and develop clean water restoration and protection strategies. Work will be a continuation of the outcomes stated for FY13. DNR staff will continue to participate in multi-agency partnerships to improve the process of assessing watersheds and recommending watershed restoration and protection strategies. Finally, DNR staff will participate in multi-agency review of state grants for Clean Water Funded work.
Project Details:
2013 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Ch. 6, Art. 2, Sec. 6(d)
Appropriation Language 
$1,730,000 the first year and $1,730,000 the second year are for TMDL development and TMDL implementation plans for waters listed on the United States Environmental Protection Agency approved impaired waters list in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, chapter 114D, and for development of a watershed assessment tool.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$1,630,000
Direct expenses: 
$995,643
Administration costs: 
$176,930
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
11.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY 13, DNR will continue to work with state and local partners, providing information and analysis to identify pollution problems and develop clean water restoration and protection strategies. This work includes the following tasks:
1) Gathering, analyzing, and sharing existing information. DNR has a wealth of information on stream flows, water levels, climatology, fisheries, habitats, rare species, watershed boundaries, and more, which is used in planning watershed assessments, identifying pollution types and sources, and developing watershed protection and restoration strategies that provide clean water and other ecological benefits.
2) Conducting technical watershed studies. This is generally field reconnaissance and collecting data about stream features (width, depth, bank erosion) that helps scientists develop computer models to predict pollution sources and amounts, as well as inform findings about the causes of water impairments and the best approaches for watershed restoration. The stream measurements - known as stream geomorphology - are also being used in more detailed studies of sediment movement in watersheds and floodplain mapping and analysis.
3) Developing Major Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies. With agency and local partners, DNR staff will participate in a process that uses model results, data synthesis, local input, and professional knowledge to recommend protection and restoration options that will be implemented locally for a given major watershed.

DNR staff will also participate in multi-agency partnerships to continually improve the process of assessing watersheds and recommending watershed restoration and protection strategies. Finally, DNR staff will participate in multi-agency review of state and federal grants for Clean Water work.
Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY13, DNR staff provided information and analysis to local and state agencies to identify pollution problems and develop clean water restoration and protection strategies. DNR’s data and expertise in stream and lake biology, geomorphology, and hydrology are instrumental in identifying and locating sources of pollution and developing watershed models for calculating pollutant loads. The result is a foundation for targeting of water quality restoration and protection work.

Field staff gathered and analyzed information in 30 watersheds and conducted 113 geomorphology studies, plus a detailed study of proper culvert design for stream stability. This information results in improved models and enhanced understanding of how water and pollutants move through watersheds.

DNR participated with interagency teams to develop watershed restoration and protection strategies in 23 major watersheds and 17 TMDL studies not associated with a major watershed project. DNR’s participation results in strategies that target the root causes of pollution problems and provide clean water and other ecosystem benefits.

DNR staff also participated in multi-agency review of over 162 state Clean Water Fund grant proposals for water quality projects.
Project Details:
2012 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Ch. 6, Art. 2, Sec. 6(d)
Appropriation Language 
$1,730,000 the first year and $1,730,000 the second year are for TMDL development and TMDL implementation plans for waters listed on the United States Environmental Protection Agency approved impaired waters list in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, chapter 114D, and for development of a watershed assessment tool.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$1,630,000
Direct expenses: 
$846,187
Administration costs: 
$337,915
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
9.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY 12, DNR will continue to partner with federal and state agencies as well as local communities to provide technical assistance to development of clean water restoration and protection strategies. This work includes the following tasks:
1) Gathering, analyzing, and sharing existing information. DNR has a wealth of information on stream flows, water levels, climatology, fisheries, habitats, rare species, watershed boundaries, and more, which is used in planning watershed assessments, identifying pollution types and sources, and developing watershed protection and restoration strategies that provide clean water and other ecological benefits.

2) Conducting technical watershed studies. This is generally field reconnaissance and collecting data about stream features (width, depth, bank erosion) that helps scientists develop computer models to predict pollution sources and amounts, as well as inform findings about the causes of water impairments and the best approaches for watershed restoration. The stream measurements - known as stream geomorphology - are also being used in more detailed studies of sediment movement in watersheds.

3) Developing Major Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies. With agency and local partners, DNR staff will participate in a process that uses model results, data synthesis, local input, and professional knowledge to recommend protection and restoration options that will be implemented locally for a given major watershed.

DNR staff will also participate in multi-agency partnerships to continually improve the process of assessing watersheds and recommending watershed restoration and protection strategies.

Finally, DNR staff will participate in multi-agency review of state and federal grants for Clean Water work.
Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY12, DNR staff provided information and analysis to local and state agencies to identify pollution problems and develop clean water restoration and protection strategies. DNR’s data and expertise in stream and lake biology, geomorphology, and hydrology are instrumental in identifying and locating sources of pollution and developing watershed models for calculating pollutant loads. The result is a foundation for targeting of water quality restoration and protection work.
Field staff gathered and analyzed information in 18 watersheds and conducted 30 geomorphology studies. This information results in improved models and enhanced understanding of how water and pollutants move through watersheds.

DNR participated with interagency teams to develop watershed restoration and protection strategies in 30 major watersheds and 36 TMDL studies not associated with a major watershed project. DNR’s participation results in strategies that target the root causes of pollution problems and provide clean water and other ecosystem benefits.

DNR staff also participated in multi-agency review of over 200 state Clean Water Fund grants for water quality projects.
Project Details:
2011 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2009, Ch. 172, Art. 2, Sec. 5(c)
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$1,182,500
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY11, DNR will work with state and local partners to provide technical assistance for development of clean water restoration and protection strategies.

The number of watershed strategies being developed are decreasing as MPCA has moved to larger scale watershed projects. However, the quality and depth of the technical assistance will increase and will result in more detailed and prioritized plans.
Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY11, DNR provided technical assistance to 52 clean water strategy efforts. This assistance included participation in pollution studies focused on impaired lakes and river reaches, as well as larger watershed-scale Major Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies. This technical assistance consisted of collaboration with state and local agencies in study and planning sessions, designing and conducting field reconnaissance work on fish passage, geomorphology, stressor identification, and Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) to review, enhance, or guide the design of watershed studies and restoration options.

DNR staff also participated in multi-agency review and evaluation of 184 grant proposals for 3 grant funding sources (Clean Water Partnership, Nonpoint Source Grant and Clean Water Fund) and did technical reviews on 41 other clean water studies or plans.
Project Details:
2010 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2009, Ch. 172, Art. 2, Sec. 5(c)
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$689,000
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY10, DNR will work with state and local partners to provide technical assistance for development or implementation of clean water restoration and protection strategies.
Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY10, DNR provided technical assistance to 63 TMDL (Total Maxiumum Daily Load) or watershed planning efforts. This assistance included:
- work on over 20 technical studies by assisting in design and conducting field reconnaissance work on fish passage, geomorphology, stressor identification, and Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) to review, enhance, or guide the design of TMDL studies and restoration options.
- review and evaluation of 50 Clean Water Partnership, 122 Nonpoint Source Grant, and 318 Clean Water Fund Grant proposals.

Project Overview

DNR's Regional Clean Water Specialists work with lake and watershed groups, soil and water conservation districts, watershed districts, cities, counties, townships, and other state agencies to help pinpoint the causes of pollution problems and determine the best strategies for fixing them. A statewide coordinator works with DNR and external partners to ensure funds are spent in the most effective and efficient manner to meet the state's clean water goals.

About the Issue

Minnesota's state and local agencies work together measure the health of the state's waters and to develop restoration plans for polluted waters and protection plans for healthy waters. In order to select the protection and restoration practices that will be the best investment for clean water, local resource managers need a robust understanding of how streams, lakes, wetlands and groundwater, interact with the areas of land that drain to them and how land use practices impact water health. DNR specialists help bridge gaps in understanding watersheds and specialized aspects of stream health, and provide a community connection to other DNR experts and programs.

Project Manager

Julie
Westerlund
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul
55155
651-259-5147