Minnesota restores beauty and health to river that had been engineered into a ditch

A man-made ditch, County Ditch 46, constructed in about 1916 to drain farm fields, is what led to the wetland alterations and, eventually, the re-meandering.

The Kingston Wetland Restoration Project, a five-year, $689,248 undertaking meant to clean up downstream lakes by boosting dissolved oxygen and cutting the amount of phosphorus entering the Clearwater River, officially wrapped up in September.

Jack Gleason, Lake Augusta Association president, said he’s seen the water clear up and the algae bloom die back on the downstream lake where he and about 130 other property owners live.

A pair of deer blended into the cattails along an upstream bend visible from the highway. Farther upstream, blue-winged teal occupied another bend.

Two years after backhoes moved earth and crews installed the limestone filter berm, the banks look natural. Dew weighed down tall grass. Willows sprouted near the shoreline.

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