Last year, the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes watershed was selected as one of the targeted watersheds to receive grant funding for implementing prioritized water quality projects. The program includes targeting the highest priority areas and implementing projects where they will provide the most benefit for the cost of the project. Within the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes, the subwatersheds around North and South Center Lakes are the highest priority. This is the area targeted for the first projects using the Targeted Watershed grant money.

In the first full year of the Targeted Watershed Program, the Chisago SWCD has accomplished more than planned. As we got up and running in the first year of this four-year grant, the SWCD staff planned to start with agricultural projects in the prioritized areas. There were several projects already in planning and several other landowners had already expressed interest. On the urban side, the staff expected to use this first year for outreach and getting projects lined up for next year.

We were happily surprised to find we had great success in implementing projects in both the urban and rural sectors this year, which puts us ahead of our planned pace. Five water and sediment control basins, a grassed waterway, and a gully stabilization were all completed in the rural area. In the City of Center City, a pervious asphalt section was installed in a parking lot, an existing rain garden was increased in size to accommodate additional runoff, a gully was stabilized, and two neighborhood rain garden projects with 7 rain gardens started this fall (planting to be done in spring).

Along with all the construction projects, we have started the planning and design stages of many more projects, which are expected to be installed in 2016.