Concurrent Session IV, Track A: Improved Modeling and Tools for Water Management

1084: Integration of Multiple Watershed-Based Models and Tools Address Water Quality Impacts

Author(s): Matt Drewitz, MPCA

Description: Minnesota is fortunate to have robust watershed-based monitoring and modeling data to assist in the development of Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) and One Watershed One Plans (1W1Ps). Once WRAPS and 1W1Ps are completed, there is a need to better understand how the various outputs from watershed-based models and tools can be used together to help with local decision support processes and to compare the quantitative impacts of implementation work to meet sediment and nutrient reduction goals at different scales and pour points within a watershed. Additionally, there is a need to better integrate groundwater data and modeling with surface water based models and tools. Recently in the Root River Watershed in Southeastern MN, updates have been made to Hydrological Simulation Program Fortran (HSPF), Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF), and Prioritize Target Measure Application (PTMApp), along with geospatial terrain analysis products derived from LiDAR. This presentation will focus on the initial evaluation and comparison of outputs of these watershed model/tools, how to better utilize these geospatial outputs from ACPF and PTMApp to support decision making, and initial steps to coordinate these tools with other datasets to protect groundwater from nutrient contamination.

1095: A New Tool and an Updated Inventory for Minnesota Lakes

Author(s): Steve Kloiber, Minnesota DNR

Description: This presentation will highlight two recent Minnesota DNR efforts to provide better data on lakes: (1) a new online tool providing health assessments for thousands of lakes, and (2) an updated statewide GIS inventory for all Minnesota lakes.

WHAF for Lakes (WHAF-L) provides health indicators for lakes to help guide decisions about protection and restoration. This tool is part of a broader suite under the DNR’s Watershed Health Assessment Framework (WHAF). Data on water quality, biology, and hydrology are summarized and used to calculate lake health scores. The primary goal is to help users understand to overall health of lakes, but to also allow users to explore a variety of data and enhance their understanding through contextual information and comparison to other lakes.

The Lake Inventory Update is a comprehensive update of lake and pond data, which is one of the most requested datasets from the DNR. This update aims to address several issues with the current data including adding missing features, improving the accuracy of boundaries, and resolving classification errors. The process involves transferring DNR basin IDs for more than 26,000 lakes and ponds and correctly assigning waterbody types. The updated lake GIS data will also expand analysis capabilities by providing additional detail about lake habitat types.

Access to this information will help citizens, local government, and water resource agencies as they work together to develop and implement comprehensive lake management efforts.

1090: How to Explain Storage-Discharge Hysteresis Within the Watershed Boundary: An Experimental Design at Rum River Watershed, MN

Author(s): Pai-Feng Teng, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities/College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences; John Nieber, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities/College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences; Charles Regan, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Description: Spatial-temporal distribution of water storage has a strong relation with the total discharge from a designated watershed. To assess how the water storage distribution can be apply to improve existing rainfall-runoff model, we analyze storage-discharge hysteresis, caused by heterogenous soil characteristics and geographic characteristics. This presentation will study storage-discharge hysteresis by running a virtual experiment on hydrological model, Hydrological Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF). This virtual experiment seeks to interpret storage-discharge hysteresis by finding the storage-discharge steady point at the selected watershed, construct the primary drying and wetting curve of hysteresis at upscaled and downscaled watershed, and use Preisach operator to analyze the storage-discharge hysteresis at Rum River Watershed (1/2/1995 ~ 1/1/2015), Minnesota, USA. This research aims to (a) interpret storage-discharge hysteresis based on steady state and reconstruction of storage-discharge hysteresis (b) assess storage-discharge hysteresis that reflects the spatial-temporal variability of water storage distribution and (c) evaluate the potential for the analysis of storage-discharge hysteresis to improve the existing streamflow prediction models.

1011: Simulating Agricultural BMP Pollutant Removal with the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT)

Author(s): Katie Kemmitt, Stantec; Tom Beneke, Stantec

Description: Estimating existing and potential best management practice (BMP) pollutant removals is vital to agricultural watershed management. Diamond Lake in rural, agricultural Iowa is a drinking water source for the community which exhibits high concentrations of phosphorus and sediment. The watershed has existing BMPs to manage pollutant delivery to the lake, but currently lake managers are interested in identifying optimal locations for new and/or improved BMPs to further reduce inputs to the lake. Stantec developed an approach for estimating pollutant loading reductions from both new and proposed BMPs by coupling the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) with literature-based BMP reductions as a post processing step to the Hydrologic Response Unit module outputs. A spreadsheet tool was then configured from these outputs to allow managers to easily generate pollutant loading scenarios based on proposed pond BMP additions or modifications throughout the watershed, creating a user-friendly interface for nonexperts to develop cost-benefit scenarios.

Concurrent Session IV, Track B: Lake Management Successes

1098: Persistence Pays Off—Route to Sweeney Lake Delisting Follows Long and Winding Path

Author(s): Greg Wilson, Barr Engineering Co.

Description: Sweeney Lake’s water quality had not improved significantly since monitoring began in 1985, despite a whole lake aeration system that operated for decades and implementation of numerous BMPs in its fully developed 2400-acre watershed. In fact, data shows the lake exceeded the total phosphorus state standard 74% of the time and has a history of harmful algal blooms, negatively impacting its recreational suitability. The MPCA added Sweeney Lake to the impaired waters list in 2004 and the 2011 TMDL study identified the need to reduce internal and external phosphorus loading by 55% and 15%, respectively.

During the past ten years, the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission and Barr Engineering Co. worked with lake residents, the City of Golden Valley, and MPCA to study and mitigate the effects of aeration, carp, sediment phosphorus release and BMP short-circuiting. This presentation will highlight lessons learned and the adaptive management approach that led to improved water quality and delisting scheduled for 2024.

1018: Reestablishing Como Lake’s Aquatic Plant Community by Transplanting Native Vegetation from a Donor Lake

Author(s): Britta Belden, Capitol Region Watershed District; Eoghan O'Neill, Capitol Region Watershed District; Justin Townsend, Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation Division

Description: The native aquatic plant community in Como Lake (Saint Paul, MN) has been severely degraded over the last two decades due to poor water clarity and the takeover of the invasive curly-leaf pondweed (CLP). Following the implementation of management actions to address internal phosphorus issues (alum treatment) and the CLP infestation (herbicide treatments), Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) has sought to restore native vegetation in Como Lake because of the critically important role aquatic plants serve for wildlife and nutrient management.

With CLP under control, CRWD developed a plan in 2021 to jump-start Como Lake’s native aquatic plant community by transplanting live plants from a nearby donor lake into four fenced enclosures. Ten different species were selected (both whole plants and plant fragments), each of which have been found historically in Como Lake. The enclosures were constructed of various materials (i.e. two types of fencing and two weaves of burlap for the enclosure base) and were intended to protect the transplanted plants from fish foraging activity and promote root establishment.

Each enclosure was monitored in 2022 to observe plant establishment by species, total stem count, and percent coverage. Data collection showed the plants to be thriving with evidence of propagation occurring outside the enclosures. The enclosures varied in durability depending on the type of fencing used. The weave of burlap for the enclosure base also appeared to influence plant establishment success. Continued monitoring will be important for understanding the long-term success of using plant transplanting as a means for reestablishing native aquatic plants in a degraded system.

1097 Can Nutrient TMDLs Restore Nutrient Impaired Lakes?

Author(s):  David Austin, Jacobs Solutions

Description: Total maximum daily load TMDLs for nutrient impaired lakes have a fundamental flaw. A nutrient TMDL describes necessary conditions to meet water quality standards (WQS) but does not address sufficient conditions. A short list of TMDL “blind spots” merits wider attention: 

1055: Saving Lily Lake: A Neighborhood Landmark

Author(s): Jay Michels, EOR, Inc.; Mike Isensee, Carnelian-Marine St. Croix Watershed District; Matt Downing, Middle St. Croix Watershed Management Organization

Description: The Clean Water Act requires that states set limits for pollutants to protect water quality. If a lake, stream, river doesn’t meet those standards, it requires that the water body goes on the impaired waters list. It’s a place a water body doesn’t want to be. It takes decades, sometimes centuries, of abuse to get on the list and very few make their way off. This is the story of a much-abused lake that the Stillwater, MN. community, my hometown, embraced in an effort of 20 years to bring Lily Lake back from the list in a unique story. All done through watershed analysis, neighborhood outreach, street reconstruction raingarden retrofits, ravine stabilization, major infrastructure adaptations to direct the runoff to the” world's largest raingarden”, and the icing on the cake an alum treatment that improved water quality dramatically and led to the ultimate delisting!


Concurrent Session IV, Track C

1052: Waadookawaad Amikwag (Those Who Help Beavers) Combines Anishinaabe Indigenous Knowledge and Citizen Science to Protect Minnesota Waters

Author(s): Jeffrey Broberg, Waadookawaad Amikwag (Those Who Help Beavers); Victoria McMillen, Waadookawaad Amikwag

Description: Indigenous Water Protectors sharing their knowledge and experience teach us that in the Anishinaabe culture, water connects everything, a lesson we all need to learn. To the Anishinaabe, the food that grows on water, wild rice, is the prophecy that led them to migrate to Northern Minnesota at the end of the glacial epoch over 10,000 years ago.

Water Protectors concerned with the construction and operation of Line 3 have been coming together to protect the headwaters of the Lawrentian Divide. Waadookawaad Amikwag has come together in weekly meetings for almost two years, teaming Indigenous residents with other Water Protectors and scientists. Their focus has been developing, training, and equipping a team of volunteer citizen scientists linked to the intimate Indigenous knowledge of the Northern Minnesota Landscape and directed by high-resolution with remote sensing, drone inspections, field visits, and water collection along the Line 3 corridor.

Waadookawaad Amikwag volunteers have developed a unique social and technical collaborative and are now sharing their work with the public and Minnesota Agencies about our ongoing concern along Line 3. After first promoting and seeking funding for thermal imaging in the fall of 2021, the thermal imaging was completed in late November for the entire line from North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin. Waadookawaad Amikwag volunteers have identified ten types of hydrological disturbances and found 45 sites of concern. The hydrological disturbance range from the rupture of high-capacity artesian aquifers to French Drains that wick water from the wetlands to the destruction of ancient peat bogs that started to form about the time the Anishinaabe settled the land.

Waadookawaad Amikwag’s combination of science, high-tech remote sensing, and Indigenous knowledge has become a unique, home-grown force advancing the cultural values that water connects everything.

1082: Groundwater Emergence on the Lawrentian Divide Was Revealed with High-Resolution Thermal Imaging and Drone Inspections along Line 3 Right-of-Way

Author(s): Jeffrey Broberg, Waadookawaad Amikwag (Those Who Help Beavers); Brian Huberty, retired geo-spatial analysist Waadookawaad Amikwag volunteer; Ron Turney, Waadookawaad Amikiwag/Indigieneous Environmental Network

Description: A High-resolution thermal imaging project in late November 2021 was designed and timed to see groundwater disturbances from pipeline construction. The 355-mile-long flight from the North Dakota border to Superior, Wisconsin, was funded by the White Earth Tribe, the Sierra Club, MN 350, Honor the Earth, and RISE to assess reported artesian aquifer breaches along Line 3. The thermal images easily delineated dozens of aquifer ruptures and uncontrolled groundwater flow from the pipe trenches in the ROW. The 0.5-mile-wide images also recorded natural springs, seeps, groundwater-fed streams, and beaver activity. The high-res thermal flight was followed by drone inspections and field visits in 2022–23 that confirmed emergent groundwater at the thermal anomalies.

Thermal data was collected on two cloud-free nights from a fixed-wing geo-referenced aircraft flying along the Line 3 Right of Way on November 26 and 27, 2021. The timing was targeted for a freezing night just after the ground had started to freeze and before heavy snowfall obscured the ground. The data imaging has a 0.25-meter resolution for 0.3°C temperature differences. At the time of the flight, the night-time temperature was in the mid-20s, the ground had started to freeze, and the temperature difference between the groundwater and frozen ground was 8-9°C, a 14°F temperature difference. The temperature signatures at sub-meter resolution allowed Waadookawaad Amikwag volunteers to find, photograph, and sample the groundwater where they had access on public land or with the landowner’s permission. The Waadookawaad Amikwag Citizen Science team has developed a catalog of compound hydrologic disturbances and is sharing the data with the public and pipeline regulators.

1058: Sustainable Aquaculture to Prevent Invasive Species and Increase Local Food Security

Author(s): Amy Schrank, Minnesota Sea Grant; Don Schreiner, Minnesota Sea Grant; Kieran Smith, Minnesota Sea Grant

Description: Interest in aquaculture is expanding as worldwide catch of wild-caught fishes declines and global fish consumption increases. Historically, Midwest aquaculture focused on producing baitfish and fish for stocking, but more recently interest in aquaculture has expanded to include local food production. Sustainable aquaculture has a number of advantages including the potential to prevent invasive species, address food insecurity, and reduce our dependence on imported seafood. This presentation will focus on emerging issues in Midwest sustainable aquaculture with updates on two projects. The first project aims to provide a sustainable, in-state supply of baitfish for the recreational fishing industry to reduce the risk of introducing invasive species and fish pathogens through bait importation. Demand for bait in Minnesota currently exceeds supply, resulting in pressure to import bait from out of state, an action that would increase invasive species risk. The second project aims to increase local food production through perfecting methods for fish farmers to raise Yellow Perch, a valuable food fish native to Minnesota, in an indoor, recirculating aquaculture system. Determining best practices for recirculating aquaculture has the potential to increase urban food security, reduce pressure on wild fish stocks, and solve supply chain issues for Midwest aquaculture farmers.

1077: Top 10 things to consider when Instituting a Stormwater Utility

Author(s): Sandy Pumphrey, HR Green

Description: So you’ve identified deficiencies in your community’s storm management system. Even after master planning, prioritizing and instituting O&M efficiencies, there are still more projects than revenue. With a constant stream of drainage complaints, will your community ever get ahead? Perhaps you’ve looked at a stormwater utility and determined it was too complicated or not politically expedient. Perhaps you have a stormwater utility, but it’s just not bringing in enough revenue. Catch this session to get clarity on some “big picture” items for a sustainable long term stormwater utility in your community. We’ll discuss how to determine an equitable fee for property owners of differing sizes, how to communicate the plan for a new/expanded stormwater utility to the unsuspecting public and how to incentivize private property owners to adopt stormwater practices to improve water quality? This presentation will also provide some case studies of communities with different experiences of implementation. All these, and more. Bring your questions and experiences for a lively and helpful discussion!

Concurrent Session IV, Track D: Designing and Building Resilient Infrastructure

1036: Assessing Stormwater Adaptations for Extreme Rainfall Events

Author(s): Noah Gallagher, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota; Andy Erickson, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory; John Gulliver, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory

Description: Extreme rainfall events in recent decades are more frequent and intense. The increase in precipitation has large ramifications for urban landscape design, stormwater runoff management, and flood control. This presentation will share the final results and recommendations of a research project: Climate Change Adaptation of Urban Stormwater Infrastructure, funded by the Local Road Research
Board (LRRB) of MN, which evaluated several different stormwater management strategies and their effectiveness in the face of climate driven extreme rainfall events. The strategies include upsizing storm sewer pipes, adding wet ponds, retrofitting existing stormwater ponds to be “smart” ponds, adding rain gardens, and others. In order to evaluate the efficacy of a strategy, the project team used the US EPA’s SWMM software to model adaptations to three Minnesota watersheds for a variety of rainfall depths and return periods. The cost of adaptations was also considered, leveraging data from the Water Research Foundation’s “Community-enabled Lifecycle Analysis of Stormwater Infrastructure Costs” (CLASIC). With these research results, stormwater managers can compare and contrast different adaptation strategies to aid their decision making when updating and adapting their stormwater management systems.

1022: MnDOT’s Road to (Hydraulic) Resiliency: An Overview of Past, Present and Future Initiatives

Author(s): Rachel Pichelmann, MnDOT

Description: The flood vulnerability of MnDOT’s bridges, culverts, storm sewers, BMPs and roadways is expected to increase as climate change leads to larger and more intense rainfall events. MnDOT maintains approximately 39,000 culverts, nearly 5,000 bridges, and more than 11,000 miles of roadway statewide. Most of the existing infrastructure was designed based on historical rainfall or flood data, which was considered the best available information during design, but assumes stationarity. However, in recent years, MnDOT has explored new routes for considering nonstationarity in project identification and design.

With substantial investments in infrastructure occurring in Minnesota right now, MnDOT is committed to continuous improvement of hydraulic design processes. This includes conducting vulnerability assessments that consider current flood risk and the potential future flood risk throughout the service life of the infrastructure. MnDOT has also been developing new hydraulic design guidance to consider nonstationarity, improving flood documentation to aid in project development, and collaborating with experts across the department and in other agencies and organizations to improve the hydraulic resiliency of its assets. In this presentation, MnDOT’s Hydraulic Resiliency Engineer will provide an overview of past, present, and future initiatives that are focused on improving the hydraulic resiliency of MnDOT’s assets.

1072: A Successful Approach to Floodplain Management: Lakeville 179th Street Bridge LOMR

Author(s): Stephanie Thulien, Kimley-Horn; Zach Johnson, City of Lakeville

Description: Better to move the floodway, than move the bridge. Or so the saying goes. In the case of the 179th Street Bridge project located in Lakeville, MN, this was the theme that gave the project life. The City of Lakeville partnered with Kimley-Horn for the preliminary design of a new bridge over North Creek. The bridge will serve as a key connection route for developing neighborhoods and will spur development along the corridor. At the bridge location, North Creek was mapped as FEMA Zone AE Floodway for the entire width of the 100-year floodplain.

As preliminary design began, the team set up early conversations with the MnDNR to understand the regulations of the bridge project related to the floodway and floodplain. During these meetings, MN Statute 6115.0231 was identified that required new bridge abutments to not encroach within the floodway, significantly increasing the cost of the bridge compared to what was initially planned. This presentation will focus on the following three topics:

  1. The creative solution to adjust the project schedule and budget to complete a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) that would revise the current mapped floodway prior to the preliminary design of the bridge, allowing significant cost savings on the bridge itself.
  2. The importance of early project coordination among agencies in floodplain management to ensure all rules are understood upfront, especially for floodplain management rules not widely known.
  3. The partnership and collaboration between the City of Lakeville, MnDNR, and Kimley-Horn to ensure the preliminary bridge design will meet floodway and floodplain regulations while also allowing a feasible and cost-effective bridge design for the city.

1075: Development of a Channel Stabilization Project for the Benefit of Lake Traverse

Author(s): James Guler, Moore Engineering, Inc; Zach Cormican, Moore Engineering, Inc.

Description: Traverse County Ditch No. 52 was constructed in 1951 to improve agricultural drainage in a flat upland area above Lake Traverse located on Minnesota’s shared border with South Dakota. The project redirected approximately 17.6 square miles of the watershed to an existing ravine that drained into the Lake. In the decades following the completion of the project, massive erosion in the form of channel downcutting and side-slope sloughing resulted in an estimated 135,000 cubic yards of sediment being discharged into the lake. There were many failed attempts over the past five decades to develop a solution, with funding being the primary challenge. In response to the situation, the Bois de Sioux Watershed District developed an interdisciplinary multi-phased path forward that finally resulted in the completion of a stabilization and natural resource enhancement project. The final phase of construction will be completed by the fall of 2023. Learn how the District was able to generate landowner support for a local assessment district, secure permits, and obtain 89% grant funding for this project.