Whiskey Creek Restoration Project

At their regular meeting held on Jan. 27, 2020, in Barnesville, Minnesota, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), approved a proposal to advance the development of the Whiskey Creek Restoration Project near Kent, Minnesota, following Minnesota Statutes Annotated 103D.605, Project Constructed with Government Aid or as Part of Plan.

According to this statute, if the project is paid for in whole or in part by the state or federal government, the BRRWD doesn’t need to hold a preliminary resolution hearing, which will speed up the development process. Last year, the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District received a $320,000 Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Clean Water Fund grant for field inlet installations along the Whiskey Creek channel. 

The proposed project was also awarded a 319 Small Watershed Grant last year from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which could provide approximately $250,000 every four years for up to four funding cycles. The Natural Resources Conservation Service also is considering a National Water Quality Initiative grant program for the Whiskey Creek watershed ($2 million). 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also has the project on their stream restoration list ($5.3 million).

The next steps for project development could include submitting the DNR permit application, completing the Environmental Assessment Worksheet process, establishing a watershed management district to provide a local funding source, complete easement drawings/exhibits, developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the agencies involved in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, scheduling a final hearing, starting the landowner easement acquisition process, and finally, advertising for phased construction bids with work potentially beginning in August 2020.