Nutrient Reduction Projects

legacy_logo_rgb 1.jpgRice 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 2019-2020

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.

July 2019 - Bid were advertised in Detroit Lakes Newspaper and on the District website.  Bids were opened at the July Board of Managers meeting.  Ted Rud, Houston Engineering reviewed the three bids received as follows:  Hough Inc at $2,074,995 (low bid), Park Construction Company $2,081,133 and Sellin Brothers $2,273.884.  All of the bids received were much higher than the engineer's project construction estimate.  The PRWD mangers voted unanimously to reject all bids.

August 2019 - The PRWD managers discussed how to move forward given the high bids received.  Managers were in favor of bidding just the upper structure to build using grant dollars at this time.  HEI and Commissioner Okeson both stated a better time to advertise for bids would be later this year or early in 2020, however the total project costs may still be high for both structures.

September 2019 - Administrator met with property owners to review driveway plans, access easement, and wetland credit application.  Draft agreements will be sent for their review.

October 2019 - Draft easement and construction agreements were sent to landowners.  The MN DNR legal office approved the Joint Powers Agreement and the Operations and Maintenance Plan and the PRWD board of managers unanimously approved both at their October meeting.  The agreement was sent to the City of Detroit Lakes for approval.

November 2019 - The Joint Powers and the Operations and Maintenance agreements are fully executed and have been sent to the MN DNR.  An agreement has been reached with property owners for driveway easement and gate relocation.  Staff will begin to explore loans for construction funds for costs not covered by grant and District funds.      

December 2019 - Administrator met with Detroit Township to review the status of the project and timeline.  Administrator discussed with HEI how to move forward at this time.  

January 2020 - Staff will submit grant report to BWSR before month end.


Final Rice Lake from HEI.png

 Project Funding

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.

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