South Heron Lake/Judicial Ditch No. 3

Minnesota | agriculture


ISG has worked with the Heron Lake Watershed District on a number of projects, including a recent effort to collaborate with the District and landowners to develop solutions to address South Heron Lake’s phosphorous impairment.


In order to preserve the Heron Lake watershed, considerable community engagement and funding assistance efforts were needed.


The Heron Lake watershed is approximately 472 square miles located within portions of Nobles, Jackson, Murray, and Cottonwood Counties in southwestern Minnesota. ISG has a long-standing history of working with the Heron Lake Watershed District (HLWD), landowners, and other local stakeholders to address the region’s water quality concerns, while also working to improve flood storage capacity. A recent project that exemplifies this is the implementation of several practices aimed at addressing South Heron Lake’s phosphorous impairment. Prior to this, however, ISG worked with the HLWD to determine the feasibility for implementing best management practices throughout the watershed by creating a Multipurpose Drainage Management (MDM) Plan for the watershed.

Grant + Funding Assistance
Following completion of the plan, ISG successfully secured $250,625 in funding through an EPA 319 grant to implement two wetland restorations, several side inlets, and streambank restoration at an inlet to South Heron Lake that was heavily eroded, all aimed at improving water quality and reducing phosphorus in South Heron Lake and the larger West Fork Des Moines River watershed.

A partner through all stages of the project, from planning and design to funding and implementation, ISG continues to support the efforts of the HLWD, most recently securing $50,106 of funding through a Department of Natural Resources Conservation Partners grant to complete a 62-acre wetland enhancement project in the Toe Wildlife Management Area to the southeast of South Heron Lake.

HLWD was awarded a $61,500 multi-purpose drainage management grant from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to support this portion of the South Heron Lake TMDL Implementation Plan from the Clean Water Fund. HLWD partnered with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, and the Jackson County Soil and Watershed Conservation District to develop and fund the project which included 11 side inlets and a 10 acre wetland restoration with an additional $126,500 in matching funds. Since landowners are responsible for the repair cost portion of projects, grant funding is utilized to pay for the improvement-related costs that are targeted on water quality improvements.

Public Engagement
ISG worked with many rural landowners throughout the project to address their drainage needs in a sustainable way, while keeping long-term water quality solutions for the watershed at the forefront.

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