Nutrient Reduction Projects
Rice Lake Wetland Nutrient Reduction Project
Working for Cleaner Lakes
Over the past two decades, the Pelican River Watershed District has focused on the Detroit Lake watershed area, conducting diagnostic studies, monitoring, and modelling to pinpoint the largest contributors of phosphorus and sediment within the watershed area--untreated storm water runoff form impervious surfaces, nutrients from ditched wetlands, and soil erosion from ag fields and construction sites. The District is working closely with many partners including landowners, businesses, and other governmental agencies to construct practices and implement development rules needed to achieve long range water quality goals for Detroit and downstream lakes Sallie and Melissa.
Restoring the Rice Lake Wetlands for the health of Detroit Lake
The studies and monitoring data identified the upstream Rice Lake Wetland, a ditched 280 acre wetland, as the primary source and contributor of "legacy" phosphorus loading to Big Detroit, contributing 3,000-4,000 lbs/year and 100 tons of sediment/year to the Pelican River. The project water quality goal is to reduce by 40-60% the spring and summer episodes of phosphorus release from the wetland. This can be achieved by increasing and stabilizing the water level to increase water residence time and trap the phosphorus to prevent it from leaching out of the peat soils and traveling downstream to Big Detroit Lake.
Moving forward with the project in 2018-2019
January 2018 - Received Natural Resource Conservation (NRCS) Engineering Plans for Upper Structure. Project costs over $750,000 higher than previous estimates-primarily due to Anchor Road and Upper Structure costs and additional hydrological modelling for MN DNR dam safety permit. Houston Engineering reviewed project designs and will suggest ways to reduce construction costs. Houston Engineering gave a progress report to the Board of Managers and reviewed the project plans, updated budget, geotechnical evaluation, wetland restoration report, permit list, and process for Notice of Hearing and Draft Drainage Authority Petition to impound waters on a drainage system and Finding of Fact.
March 2018 - Board of Managers approved a resolution to impound waters on Becker County Drainage System 13 and appointed Houston Engineering as the project engineer to investigate the effect of the project and file a report of findings.
April 2018 - Complete City of DL property easements, structure site, and 20 ft access road easement. The District and Detroit Township reviewed the joint permits for the Anchor Road project construction and wetland replacement credits.
May 2018 - Public Notices were published and mailed to affected property owners. The Public Hearing was held on May 24th and the Petition to impound water on a public drainage system (Becker County Drainage System 13) was authorized by the Board of Managers. The Memorandum of Understanding and Maintenance Plan Agreements are under review by the MN DNR.
June 2018 - Project permits and wetland replacement credits were submitted for agency approval.
July 2018 - Detroit Township held a public input meeting on July 10 regarding Anchor Road Improvements and to begin discussion to vacate a portion of the road.
August 2018 - Houston Engineering modified plans in response to wetland permit review comments.
September 2018 - Continued to work with Detroit Township on partial Anchor Road vacation, updating additional flowage easements, completing the final order to impound water on Ditch 13. City reviewed Joint Powers Agreement.
October 2018 - Approval by City of Detroit Lakes of property flowage easements, structure and access road agreements, and joint powers agreement.
November 2018 - Final Approval and Adoption of the Findings, and Order granting the Petition to Impound, Reroute, Divert Drainage Systems for the Rice Lake Project. Houston Engineering submitted revised plans for the wetland replacement permits.
December 2018 - Continue to wok with Detroit Township to vacate a portion of Anchor Road
February 2019 - The Army Corp of Engineers has approved all of the necessary permits.
March 2019 - Partial vacation of Anchor Road discussions continued with Detroit Township. Managers stressed that time was running out for this decision to be made and did not want the project delayed.
April 2019 - Detroit Township notified the District via email that as of April 9 the Detroit Township Board had approved to proceed with vacating the west portion of Anchor Road between Becker County State Aid Hwy 21 and to the east approximately one mile. Staff is working with attorneys to draft the Memorandum of Understanding between Detroit Township and PRWD and private access easements.
May 2019 - A Memorandum of Understanding between the District and Detroit Township was drafted and sent to Detroit Township. Meadowland Surveying completed the survey of the section to be vacated.
June 2019 - Braun Intertec took soil borings on the upper structure location area on the City of DL property. Detroit Township vacated a portion of Anchor Road on June 11th.
In May of 2016, the District was notified that it had been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) from their Targeted Watershed Program grants. However, it is estimated that the cost of implementing the project will be $2.5 million. The balance of the funds will be supplied from the District's Stormwater Utility Fund and Districts loans.
For complete project background and calculations, see Exhibit D.