Virtual Tour

Take a virtual tour of Seven Mile Creek Watershed


Seven Mile Sentinel Newsletter
December 2000 (pdf 926 k)
Summer 2001 (pdf 281 k)
March 2003 (pdf 659 k)

Park Brochure
Seven Mile Creek Park Brochure (pdf 788 k)

Project Report
Seven Mile Creek Watershed Project A Resource Investigation within the Middle Minnesota Major Watershed. MPCA Clean Water Partnership Project, October, 2001. (Website with pdfs)

Watershed Farm Practice Survey (FANMAP) - 2002 (pdf 251 k)
Progressive Ag Tour - September 2004 (pdf 338 k)
An Historical Perspective of Hydrologic Changes - 2004 (pdf 474 k)
An Historical Perspective of Hydrologic Changes - 2004 (Powerpoint presentation 16,524 k)

Project Overview 
The Seven Mile Creek Watershed Project is a collaborative effort to protect and enhance the water quality of Seven Mile Creek. The creek is Nicollet County’s most visible natural resource, with a 630-acre county park located at the mouth of the watershed. The park and designated trout stream are used by thousands of visitors every year.

In the late 1980s, Brown Nicollet Environmental Health was working to protect the drinking water of the City of St. Peter from high nitrate concentrations. These efforts sparked local interest to investigate the water quality of unique streams like Seven Mile Creek.
Two grants, to study the Seven Mile Creek Watershed, were acquired from the state:
  • An Environmental and Conservation Partnerships grant, from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR); and
  • A Resource Investigation Program grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) Clean Water Partnership.

With these resources, the Brown Nicollet Cottonwood Environmental Health Department established three water-quality monitoring stations on Seven Mile Creek and began efforts to educate the public about water quality protection.

Results from the monitoring showed that the largest water quality impairments for the watershed are:

  • Fecal coliform bacteria;
  • Excessive nitrate concentrations; and
  • Extreme peak water flows, resulting in accelerated stream bank and gully erosion.

These initial assessments and evaluations, together with watershed coalition efforts, lead to a Clean Water Partnership (CWP) grant in 2001. (The CWP program was created in 1987 to deal with pollution from agricultural and urban runoff. The program provides local governments with resources and expertise to protect and improve lakes, streams, and groundwater.)

Implementation of Conservation Practices
The objectives of this CWP project (2002-2005) are to accelerate conservation practices and promote voluntary adoption of Best Management Practices (BMPs) by providing additional technical and financial assistance to watershed landowners and livestock and crop producers.
The project focuses on education, nutrient management, septic system upgrades, filter strips, wetlands creation, water storage, in-stream trout habitat creation, and stream-bank erosion control. Intensive water-quality monitoring and watershed assessments are continuing throughout the course of the project.

Continuous sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is one very popular program being implemented as part of the CWP. Through this program and its attractive incentives, landowners are enrolling small, environmentally sensitive areas into wetland restorations. On most of these sites, drainage tile is broken to restore the original hydrology and, where permitted, adjacent drainage tile is routed into the restored wetland to reduce nitrate runoff.

More than 15 agencies, citizens groups, and private enterprises are involved in the Seven Mile Creek Watershed Project:

  • Brown Nicollet Environmental Health
  • Nicollet County Soil and Water Conservation Distric
  • National Resource Conservation Service of the USDA
  • Nicollet County Environmental Services
  • Farm Service Agency
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • MPCA
  • DNR
  • University of Minnesota Department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering
  • University of Minnesota School of Public Health
  • The Center for Agricultural Partnerships
  • Blue Earth Consulting
  • Local agri-business retailers
  • USDA Paired-watershed Study
  • The McKnight Foundation

In addition, the watershed’s biggest business, Northern Plains Dairy, and southern Minnesota’s longest-running demonstration farm, Red Top Farm, are both valued partners in the watershed protection project. The Brown Nicollet Cottonwood Water Quality Board is the project sponsor and coordinating agency.

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Brown Nicollet Cottonwood Water Quality Board
322 South Minnesota Avenue | St. Peter, MN 56082 | Phone: 507-934-4140 | Fax: 507-934-8958