Root River 1WIP work plan starting first year

Published 8:13 am Tuesday, February 27, 2018

After several years in the works, the Root River area’s watershed-based plan in southeastern Minnesota is moving forward with a two-year budget and list of projects.

Root River One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P), which includes Mower Soil and Water Conservation District, is preparing for its first year of projects in 2018 driven by the new plan that was one of five 1W1P pilot projects launched in 2014 by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR).

BWSR, the state agency facilitating the 1W1P funds, has committed $851,301 for a 2018-2019 Root River 1W1P budget and work plan that addresses groundwater; surface water; social capacity; and coordination/administration.

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Root River 1W1P’s policy committee approved the work plan and budget earlier this year. The committee has representatives from 13 local government units in the planning area.

Mower County’s headwaters area of the Root River’s middle and south branches is one of the two-year plan’s targeted sites for projects. Mower SWCD will have $118,128 to put toward stream-stability work that identifies crucial source areas.

It also will help build five water-and-sediment control basins and seven grass waterways totaling about 11,000 feet long. Landowner outreach will be a priority.

“We’re excited about the funding available for Mower County landowners in the Root,” Mower SWCD district manager Justin Hanson said. “This will expand our capacity to serve these landowners and address the priority resources.”

This focus area around Grand Meadow includes land involved in the ongoing Field to Stream study led by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and involving Mower SWCD and other local agencies.

Root River 1W1P’s local government units include Dodge, Fillmore (administrative lead), Mower, Olmsted, Houston and Winona (fiscal agent) counties along with their respective SWCDs. Root River SWCD represents Houston County. Crooked Creek Watershed District in Houston County also is among them.

Root River 1W1P’s planning area covers more than 1.3 million acres in parts of six counties. About 13 percent of Root River 1W1P’s planning area is in Mower County, including the townships of Bennington, Clayton, Dexter, Frankford, Grand Meadow, LeRoy, Lodi, Pleasant Valley, Racine and Sargeant.

Under the work plan, Mower SWCD, among other local agencies, also will benefit from $193,180 budgeted for over two years in the plan to hire a full-time professional to lead soil health and nutrient management efforts throughout the planning area. It will involve providing technical assistance to ag producers in vulnerable wellhead protection areas, nitrogen-impaired watersheds and townships.

A four-page summary document about the Root River 1W1P plan and priorities now is available to the public, including online on the Mower SWCD homepage at: