Lake Traverse Water Quality Improvements (TCD 52)

Challenge

Traverse County Ditch 52 (TCD 52) is an open channel tributary that discharges into Lake Traverse. The 15-mile TCD 52 drains more than 30 square miles of agricultural lands. Since the channel’s construction the early 1950s, flooding of the area has causing severe erosion and bank sloughing along several miles of the channel upstream from the outlet. A combination of factors over the years has caused a significant amount of sediment to be deposited into Lake Traverse, also impairing Mud Lake further upstream with excess nutrients.

A comprehensive plan was needed to address these issues that affect several stakeholders, including the Bois de Sioux Watershed District (BdSWD), the Traverse County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and all the agricultural landowners adjacent to and affected by the channel corridor. The regulatory sensitivity of this project would also require input from other agencies such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE).

Solution

Project planners and engineers developed a multi-phase approach with three phases to address different aspects of the issues affecting the health and natural resource value of the tributary’s corridor and Lake Traverse.

Phases 1, 2 and 3 are focused on stabilizing the failing banks and eroding channel bottom, and establishing vegetation in the riparian zone along the downstream three miles of TCD 52. A unique feature of the overall project design incorporates strategically placed rock riffles to provide channel stability while aiding in fish passage.

This overall solution focuses primarily on sediment and erosion reduction while improving fish and other aquatic habitat.

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