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Land and Waters Awards Grants

Web posted November 5, 2019
Land and Waters (L&W), a preservation trust, is a component fund of the Initiative Foundation (IF) and serves as a philanthropic vehicle for accumulating and distributing financial resources to benefit those in the area of the Pine River Watershed. It was established through a partnership between Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA), The Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA) and IF. The purpose is to provide a consistent stream of resources to protect and preserve the Whitefish Chain of Lakes and Pine River Watershed, so that future generations can enjoy the rivers, lakes and woods experience. Grants are made to 501c3 non-profits such as the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA), other lake associations in the watershed, the Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA), and local units of government that serve the Pine River Watershed.

Two grants were awarded in 2019. One grant will support a storm water project on Island- Loon Lake in Crosslake, and the other was for a Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) project to improve pasture management and soil health in the Whitefish Subwatershed and the South Fork Subwatershed which feed into the Pine River Watershed.

The Island-Loon Lake run-off project involves installation of a run-off treatment system to intercept and treat road run-off. This is a joint project of the Crosslakers with the City of Crosslake, Crow Wing County, and the Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District. A portion of County Road 66 runoff is currently collected and funneled, untreated, into Island- Loon Lake through curbs and gutters. Road run-off pollutants can adversely affect fish habitat, enhance algae and plant growth, and increase phosphorus and chloride levels above acceptable levels. A water quality study conducted in 2017 determined that Island-Loon Lake has a declining trend in water clarity (over 48” decline since 1992), indicative of an increase in sediments, nutrients and other pollutants. A system of three hydrodynamic filters and a holding pond to intercept and treat runoff from almost 43 acres along County Road 66 and Manhattan Point Boulevard was designed by Widseth Smith Nolting Engineering for the City of Crosslake, in a three-part effort including an initial evaluation of the run-off sites along Cty Rd 66; an estimate and evaluation of the potential reduction of the pollutant load; and to determine the best location for an intercept system. The new treatment system will reduce six pounds of phosphorus which supports about 3,000 pounds of algae and 1.2 tons of sediment per year from entering Island-Loon Lake. Construction will begin next spring or summer. Land and Waters has awarded a $5900 grant, and WAPOA and the Pine River Watershed Alliance have jointly awarded another $4,100 to support this project, bringing their total joint award to $10,000. These grants will cover a portion of the matching costs associated with this runoff project, which was also funded by the Clean Water Fund through a $475,000 grant to the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR).

Land and Waters also awarded a grant of $5900 to Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District for a grazing management project to improve pasture management and soil health in the Whitefish Subwatershed and South Fork Subwatershed. This funding will support a project on impaired streams, including Willow, South Fork, Wilson, and Arvig Creeks. Intensive grazing practices in these areas have compacted the soil, decreased vegetative cover, and enabled erosion into these streams during storm events. The funding will be used to hire a contractor to complete outreach and engagement to farmers in these communities. The goals are to obtain estimates of the number of cattle in this area; identify landowners utilizing continuous grazing; build relationships with the farming community; provide information to farmers on programs and benefits of adaptive grazing management; and to work with farmers one-onone and assist them with a grazing management plan, and to obtain potential cost-share dollars for fencing. After gathering this information, and through working with farmers, a plan for grazing management and improved soil health practices could then be developed to address these issues. The overall goal is to reduce the phosphorus level entering the Whitefish Chain of Lakes by 792 pounds per year – which could support about 396,000 pounds of algae. WAPOA and the Pine River Watershed Alliance have jointly awarded another $4,100 to support this project, bringing the total award for improved grazing management to $10,000.

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