Water and Soil board members to tour northeastern Minnesota projects

Members of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) will tour storm water projects, flood relief and wetland restoration sites in Lake County on their annual field trip Wednesday.

The 20-member board is appointed by the governor to set policy on watershed and conservation easements.

The group reports that it will start in Two Harbors and visit many projects in the area, including:

  • Cemetery detention basin: On July 4, 1999, the “BWCA Blowdown” blew 100-mile per hour straight-line winds and dropped approximately five inches of rain, prompting the City of Two Harbors to develop a systematic process to address storm water issues.
  • Skunk Creek stream bank stabilization: Caused partly by the flashiness of the stream and the orientation of the culvert, the 170-foot site contributed approximately 108 tons of sediment into the creek per year. In 2006, the Lake SWCD partnered with the City of Two Harbors, CN Railroad, Lake County Hwy. Dept., and Extension to correct this stream bank erosion problem.

  • Knife River stream bank stabilization: The Knife River is a trout stream and listed as an impaired water body for turbidity. In 2011, The Lake County SWCD used natural channel design to stabilize a section of eroding stream bank on private property. Less than one year after installation, the project was tested during the 2012 flood and successfully protected the streambank with no slumping or major erosion.
  • Dan Ziemet wetland bank: This wetland bank site was a gravel pit that had the majority of usable granular material removed from within its boundaries. Site improvement activities included excavation in areas down to native clay soils that encourage ponding, installation of a riprap channel and emergency spillway and shaping of berms to prevent erosion and to create stable side slopes for the mitigation area.
  • Jamie and Penny Juenemann bridge flood relief: After bailing out water from his basement and watching a waterfall form in his backyard, Jamie Juenemann thought he’d seen the worst of the 2012 June storms. That was until he and his family attempted to drive into Two Harbors, only to find out that half-way down their one mile driveway, their bridge over the Little Stewart River was in disrepair and virtually impassable. This project involved replacing the privately-owned bridge to protect water quality over the Little Stewart River, a trout stream tributary to Lake Superior.
  • Ron and Louise Thureen lakeshore stabilization: During the June 2012 flood, a large slump opened up along the forested shoreline of Lake Superior, dumping an estimated 7,000 cubic yards of rock and sediment into the lake, and taking the Thureen’s septic drainfield with it. In 2012, Lake SWCD provided financial assistance for critical area stabilization of the slump using hydraulic seeding/mulching and for replacement of the drain field away from the slump. The new drain field was installed within two months of the flood and incorporated peat filter technology, better suited to poor soils and limited space.

Later in the day, an issues forum on “Natural Resource Challenges in Lake County” will be moderated by Ron Shelito, BWSR Regional Manager. Panelists are:  Lake County Commissioner Rich Sve, Jo Kovach of the White Iron Chain of Lakes Association, Tom Gelineau, retired Lake SWCD Supervisor, and Leo Babeu of Advocates for the Knife River Watershed.

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