Feds will give MN $350M to protect lakes, rivers, and groundwater

Dayton says more than 40 percent of the state's waters are impaired or polluted.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Minnesota's getting $350 million in federal funding to protect and improve water quality.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday. It means $350 million in federal funding plus $150 million from the state will go toward an effort called the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). It will affect waters across 60,000 acres in 54 Minnesota counties. That's most of the state, considering it has 87 counties.

Minnesota must commit $150 million in order to get the full $350 million from the federal government. So far, $54.8 million of that has already been appropriated in past legislative sessions.

“Through this landmark agreement, Minnesota will be better able to protect and improve our waters for our families, natural habitat, and our future," Dayton said. "Clean water is everyone’s challenge, and everyone’s responsibility.”

According to the news release, CREP will target areas of southern and western Minnesota that face "significant water quality challenges, to protect and improve our natural resources for future generations."

Farmers and agriculture land owners in those areas will be encouraged to enroll their land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve easement program "to create buffers, restore wetlands, and protect wellheads for drinking water."

Basically, those programs pay farmers to leave the land alone.

According to the Star Tribune, the programs will probably be pretty popular considering farmers aren't getting much money for crops anymore.

Water quality in Minnesota

Water quality has been a pretty big topic in Minnesota.

According to the governor's office, more than 40 percent of the state's waters are listed as impaired or polluted. And Minnesota has a lot of water.

Additionally, damaging aquatic species have invaded more that 550 lakes.

Dayton is also concerned about Minnesotans' drinking water. Some communities still rely on old wooden pipes for their drinking water. And testing has shown that 60 percent of the wells in central parts of the state may not provide water that's safe to drink.

In 2015, Dayton signed a law that requires vegetation buffers along rivers, streams and ditches. Basically, a buffer is a bunch of plants that keep chemicals and sediment from running into the water.

Governor Dayton declared a “Year of Water Action” in August. It urges Minnesotans to rethink water usage, make informed consumer choices, and talk to others about clean water protection and preservation.

Next Up

Leah Ottman, aka LOTT

Acclaimed Minneapolis violinist and singer Leah Ottman dies at 33

She also performed as LOTT, the name of her solo project.

Target gift card

Holiday shopping? Target gift cards are discounted this weekend

You have to be a Target Circle member, but that's free to join.

vote, vote now

MN Supreme Court dismisses attempt to block election certification

Another legal defeat for Republicans challenging the election.

prison, Rush City cell block

Another Minnesota prison inmate dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The virus has killed at least six Minnesota inmates.

leech lake band of ojibwe sign

11,760 acres of land wrongly taken from Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will be returned

The Senate and now the House have passed a bill that effectively returns the land. It's now headed for the president's signature.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves release first half of 2020-21 regular season schedule

The second half of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

reindeer como zoo

Watch live: Como Zoo's live reindeer cam is back for December

The live feed will run 24/7 allowing you to keep an eye on Santa's antlered helpers.

Related

Hundreds of people rally to tell lawmakers: We're worried about our water

40 percent of the lakes, rivers, groundwater and streams in Minnesota are said to be impaired or polluted.

Minnesota's namesake river is a mess

A new study from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found several water quality issues.

Northern MN man accused of cutting down, stealing $3,500 worth of trees

The white-barked trees are often used in decorations.

Dayton sets 'aggressive' target of improving state water quality by 25 percent

Dayton describes his water quality target as "ambitious, but achievable."

MPCA adds more Minnesota lakes and rivers to impaired list

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is placing 500 additional lakes and sections of rivers on its list of impaired waters. Minnesota now has more than 3,600 bodies of water on the list. MPR reports about 40 percent of the state's waters are considered to have an excess of nitrogen, phosphorus, mercury, bacteria or other pollutants. Hundreds of clean-up plans have been developed over the past two decades, but less than 20 bodies of water have come of the list.