CRWD gets Clean Water Legacy funds for Dobbins Creek

Published 2:35 pm Thursday, December 23, 2010

Significant state funding is coming to the Cedar River Watershed District in 2011 for projects along Dobbins Creek northeast of Austin, mainly to improve water quality.

State of Minnesota officials this month approved the CRWD’s full request of $163,596 in Clean Water Legacy funding to do three projects next year that will start the CRWD’s implementation of its Dobbins Creek Ag Watershed Restoration plan. The first, approved projects will involve two streambank restorations and a stormwater retention site in the north branch of Dobbins Creek, which flows into the Cedar River in Austin.

“This funding is a great opportunity to put our planning into action,” said Justin Hanson, the CRWD’s resource specialist. “We had a grant opportunity to study the Dobbins Creek Watershed. Now we’re using that information to target practices and go to work on addressing the water quality needs in Dobbins and the rest of the Cedar River Watershed.”

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About $63,000 in matching funds will go into the overall project from the CRWD and Red Rock Township, which is a partner because the work will protect the integrity of the township’s roads.

In 2008, the CRWD got funding to study the Dobbins Creek Watershed for ways to improve water quality and slow stream flows. It identified Dobbins’ north branch as a target area, and revealed that Dobbins exceeded the state’s water-quality standards for turbidity (dirty water) in five out of 10 months analyzed.

Dobbins Creek — which has south and north branches converging in Austin’s Jay C. Hormel Nature Center before it forms East Side Lake — is prone to flash floods and has been shown to add greatly to Austin’s flooding.

The following projects were selected for construction in 2011:

•Stream bank restoration in Red Rock Township — This will prevent streambank erosion and provide bank stabilization to keep a Red Rock Township road from washing out during a flood on Dobbins Creek’s north branch about two miles northeast of Austin.

•Wetland restoration — A pair of restoration sites have been identified in Dobbins’ north branch. Staff is working with landowners and evaluating the two sites to determine which will be completed with the funds. Both provide on-site storage for stormwater, reduce the stormwater flows coming through their property and restore wetland conditions that allow stormwater to settle out in ponds. No crop land will be flooded due to the work, and affected land will be under a set-aside easement between the landowner and CRWD.

•Stream bank tree revetment — About 100 feet of stream bank in Dobbins’ north branch near the Dexter area has been identified for stabilizing by using tree material. Trees or shrubs will be cut down, stacked together and anchored into the banks to hold the banks and prevent further erosion.