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We are water quality.

At the Big Sioux River Project, we recognize that our name may not have reached your everyday conversation yet. That doesn't mean that we're the new kids on the block: we have been working to clean up the Big Sioux River for almost 20 years. We just haven't been very vocal about it... until now.

The Big Sioux River Project (BSRP) is leading the way to improve water quality not just in the Big Sioux River, but throughout the entire Big Sioux River watershed. 

The BSRP is the non-government project for the East Dakota Water Development District (EDWDD) and Minnehaha Conservation District (MCD) that implements Best Management Practices (BMPs), typically on agricultural land adjacent or nearby the Big Sioux River and its tributaries. For example, BMPs related to livestock include reducing bacteria (fecal, E. coli) and sediment inputs into waterways. This is accomplished by providing financial and technical assistance to improve existing feeding operations, and managing pastureland through our riparian buffer programs. Other cropland BMPs that we provide assistance for are filter strips, grassed waterways, and terracing, to name a few.


BMPs are implemented to improve water quality to meet the intended beneficial uses of the river. The BSRP also raises public awareness of water quality issues and monitors the health of the river and its tributaries. 

The BSRP is broken up into segments, which allow a chance to check in, take stock of milestones, and generate  reports that showcase water quality improvements for the EPA and other partner agencies. In 2020, the BSRP entered Segment 4 of the project, with the MCD acting as the lead sponsor of the project. This segment will last 5 years, with a projected budget of $14 million. The project expects to continue implementing BMPs, introduce a Working Lands Easement program, and place an emphasis on community engagement with the project. 

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Landowners, Operators, and Members of the Watershed Community

Without the enthusiastic participation of landowners and operators the project would not be able to improve water quality as much as it has thus far.

 If you are a landowner or operator and would like to work with us, click here.

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