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East fork wetland projects to start this year

By Staff | Jan 6, 2011

Seana Godbold, Tuttle Lake Watershed coordinator for Emmet County, with a map of the Tuttle Lake watershed. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Work will start in earnest this spring on Tuttle Lake watershed improvement with two wetland projects on the southwest side of the lake.

Seana Godbold, Tuttle Lake Watershed coordinator of Emmet County, said landowners in the impacted areas qualify for more than 95 percent financing of watershed projects.

“They’ll have a more aesthetically pleasing site,” said Godbold, in addition to benefitting Tuttle Lake water quality. “A lot of it is geared behind slowing the water down,” said Godbold.

To put it into terms a waterfowl hunter could understand, a guy would be getting a pretty dad-burned nice duck and goose pond for less than a nickle on the dollar.

The wetlands will help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediments that cause algae and turbidity problems in Tuttle Lake.

One of the wetlands will help filter runoff from 1,676 acres while the other will filter runoff from 1,536 acres, for 3,212 acres total.

Other improvements taking place this year include two acres of filter strips.

The Tuttle Lake Watershed includes 125,000 acres while the lake itself is 2,270 acres. The 5,609 acres of Iowa watershed are in Emmet County.

Tuttle Lake was placed on the 2002 Impaired Waters List by the Environmental Protection Agency due to a “very large population of suspended algae and very high levels of inorganic turbidity.”

In 2004, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources completed a Total Maximum Daily Load study on the lake and found excess sediment and phosphorus levels were the primary pollutants causing algae and turbidity impairment. Although two point sources were located in Minnesota, IDNR found nutrient influx was likely from agricultural runoff and re-suspension of lake sediment.

The primary objective of the grant application for east fork watershed improvement is to reduce sediments, phosphorus, nitrogen and pathogens.

Funding for all aspects of east watershed improvement includes Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board, $154,350; Emmet Soil and Water Conservation District, $12,805; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, $20,000; landowners, $33,968 and Farm Service Agency Conservation Reserve Programs cost-share, $254,692.

Participating agencies include:

n Emmet County Natural Resource Conservation Service.

n Emmet Count Board of Supervisors.

n Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

n East Fork Alliance.

n Okamanpedan Development Association.

n Dolliver City Council.

n Emmet County Conservation Board.

n Tuttle Lake Watershed Landowners.

n Emmet County Resource Enhancement and Protection.

n Iowa Lakes Resource Conservation and Development.

n Martin County, Minn., Natural Resources Conservation Service.

n Minnesota DNR.

n Three Rivers RC&D.

n Rural Advantage (Fairmont, Minn.).

n U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

n Ducks Unlimited.

n Pheasants Forever.

n Landowners and homeowners.