Groundwater funding from Minnesota's Clean Water Fund is being used for activities that help identify potential sources of nitrate-nitrogen contamination and evaluate and implement practices at the local level to reduce nitrate-nitrogen in groundwater. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is working with many local partners and passing funding through to local government units.
Clean Water Fund projects, programs and activities:
- Byron Township Water Quality Study: Managed Timber to Row Crop Agriculture
The MDA is working with a unique group of partners to study the movement of nitrate-nitrogen below an agricultural field recently transitioned from managed timber production to irrigated row crop production.
- Irrigation Workshops & On Farm Nitrogen Management Program in Central Minnesota
The MDA has partnered with East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District to carry out a series of workshops and expand on farm programs that promote proper water and nitrogen management.
- Characterizing Nitrate in Private Drinking Water Wells (Monitoring Well Networks)
Monitoring networks are used to characterize nitrate-nitrogen levels in private drinking water wells. The networks will provide a better understanding of nitrate-nitrogen trends in the Central Sands region and southeastern Minnesota. Results will be used to inform private well owners about the quality of their drinking water.
- Township Testing Program
The MDA has designed this program to determine current nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in private wells. The MDA plans to offer free nitrate testing to 70,000 private well owners, within approximately 250 townships, between 2014 and 2021. This work will be done in close partnership with local government units across the state.
- Private Well Pesticide Sampling Project (PWPS)
The MDA offers pesticide testing as a follow up to the Township Testing program. If nitrate is found in their private well sample, homeowners are offered testing for commonly used pesticides and their breakdown products.
- Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan (NFMP)
The NFMP is the state's blueprint for preventing or minimization of the impacts of nitrogen fertilizer on groundwater. The original plan was developed in 1990 and recently updated. The updated NFMP was released in March 2015.
- Water Quality and Irrigation Research
Validating Nitrogen Recommendations and Water Quality Impacts under Irrigated Agriculture
The MDA is working with partners on two research projects that will provide a better understanding of nitrogen fertilizer management and the associated water quality impacts on irrigated, sandy soils.
- Nutrient Management Surveys
The MDA partners with the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) and University of Minnesota researchers to collect information about fertilizer use and farm management on a regional and statewide scale.
- Irrigation Water Quality Protection
This funding supports an irrigation water quality specialist who will develop guidance and provide education on irrigation and nitrogen Best Management Practices (BMPs). This position is located at the University of Minnesota Extension.
Looking for additional water data and information? Check out the Key Water Information Catalogue.