Twin Lakes Watershed

Twin Lakes Watershed

The Lower Platte South NRD is partnering with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, and the Nebraska Dept. of Environment and Energy (NDEE) on a three-year effort to improve water quality in the Twin Lakes Watershed. The NRD successfully obtained funding from the Section 319 Program, which provides grants from the Environmental Protection Agency to implement projects that will reduce pollutant loads and promote cleaner, safer, water resources. Locally, NDEE administers the 319 Program.

Twin Lakes Watershed

Fact Sheet

 

What's New?

Landowner Open House
The public is invited to an open house, Thursday, December 2 at the Pleasant Dale Community Hall, 110 Ash Street, from 4 PM to 6 PM.  The Twin Lakes Project and available cost-sharing will be featured.

Progress
To date, three applications to install water quality cost-sharing BMPs have been approved by the LPSNRD Board of Directors!
 

Landowner Information

Watershed Data

Why Twin Lakes?   

LPSNRD identified the Twin Lakes Watershed in its 2019 Water Quality Management Plan as one of the priority watersheds for targeted efforts to reduce pollutant loads to streams. In this watershed, the NRD highlighted reducing nitrogen and phosphorus as primary goals.

At the same time, Game & Parks is concerned with the amount of sediment eroding in the watershed and ending up in the East and West Twin Lake, at the Twin Lakes Wildlife Management Area. The strategies the NRD has selected will also help reduce sediment loads is the watershed, providing an additional water-quality benefit to the Twin Lakes. Game & Parks is also working on a longer-term plan to renovate the lakes to improve the fishery and recreation opportunities in the Wildlife Management Area.

Our strategy: 

Provide enhanced cost-share (up to 90% on select practices) to landowners in the watershed who implement best management practices on their lands. These practices reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment running off agricultural lands and ending up in the watershed’s streams.


Cover Crops


Terraces


Farm Ponds & Wetlands


Grassed Waterways


Sediment Basins and WASCOBS


CRP


Buffer Strips


Stream Stabilization


Get Involved!

Landowner partnerships are key to the success of this project. We want landowners to take advantage of the available cost-share we are providing to install best management practices. Learn more about these practices and our cost-share programs here.
 

Contact the Seward County NRCS office to get started!

Phone: 402-643-4586 or visit 1940 NE 15, Seward, Nebraska 68434

Watershed Data

How will we know if our efforts are actually improving water quality in the Twin Lakes watershed? We need data showing nitrogen and phosphorus levels in the watershed’s streams at the start of the project, which we will compare to data we gather each year as the project progresses to look for changes in nitrogen, phosphorus, and other pollutants.

 

Completed Projects

Completed Projects
Completed Projects

Check back soon for updates on successfully completed projects!
 

Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Stream Stability

Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Stream Stability
Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Stream Stability

Stream stabilization projects involve reshaping streambanks to slope more gently, instead of dropping vertically to the water, and sometimes include rock or wood structures installed in the stream channel to prevent downcutting and deepening of the channel. These activities significantly decrease sediment erosion in the stabilized stream reach and prevent further widening of the stream, benefits that can last for decades.

Here are a couple of short videos on stream stabilization projects from nearby states:
Anoka (MN) SWCD
Lake County (IL) Stormwater Management Commission

In 2021, Game & Parks constructed stream stability demonstration projects on two tributaries that feed into Twin Lakes, one upstream of West Twin Lake and one upstream of East Twin Lake.

The rock structure at the West Twin site will prevent further downcutting of the stream channel. The reshaped banks at both sites will be more stable than the more easily-eroded vertical banks that were present before. As vegetation fills in the seeded area, the roots will hold the bank soil in place, resisting erosion and keeping sediment on land, instead of sending it to the lakes.

Stream Sampling

Stream Sampling
Stream Sampling

How will we know if our efforts are actually improving water quality in the Twin Lakes watershed? We need data showing nitrogen and phosphorus levels in the watershed’s streams at the start of the project, which we will compare to data we gather each year as the project progresses to look for changes in nitrogen, phosphorus, and other pollutants.

 

Stream Sampling

LPSNRD and NDEE began collecting water samples from three streams in the watershed in May 2021. We sample each week during May and June, biweekly July through September, and after rain events.

[field data icon] We take these field measurements at the sample site:

pH – how acidic or basic the water is. Neutral water has a pH of 7.0. A pH of less than 7.0 is acidic; a pH of greater than 7.0 is basic.

temperature

dissolved oxygen – how much oxygen is dissolved in the water and available to aquatic organisms.

turbidity – how clear the water is.

specific conductance – how well electricity can flow through water. High conductivity can indicate that the water won’t support some organisms, perhaps because the water is too salty for the fish or bugs that would normally live there.

 

[lab data icon] We also send water samples to the lab to test for things we can’t easily measure on site. The lab tests our water samples for the following:                                  

TDS (total dissolved solids) – the total of all dissolved substances in the water, both organic and inorganic. High TDS can indicate hard water, for example.

Nitrogen

Phosphorus

Pesticides (atrazine)

Bacteria (total coliform)

Here you will find the results of our sampling so far. We will update these as new data become available.
 

Precipitation

Precipitation
Precipitation

We keep track of rainfall in the Twin Lakes watershed area, using the CoCoRaHS network of gauges, to find out if the levels of pollutants we measure in the watershed’s streams change when it rains. CocoRaHS stands for “Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network” and is composed of trained volunteers who report measurements from their rain gauges to the network.

Because no rain gauges exist in the Twin Lakes watershed itself, we look at the readings from the Seward gauge to estimate rainfall over the watershed.

CoCoRaHS is always looking for more participation! Learn more about becoming a CoCoRaHS volunteer here.