The West Central Initiative commissioned an infrastructure pilot project in three communities in west central Minnesota. The City of Ottertail, as a community facing development pressure and pressing water system issues, was chosen to be part of the pilot project. Government officials and residents of the City of Ottertail sought to be effective stewards of their water resources. The major problems facing the city were identified as development pressure, groundwater contamination, failing septic systems, lack of environmental education, habitat destruction, contaminated runoff, declining water clarity, erosion, over-application of fertilizers, and stormwater management. Yellow Wood worked with Ottertail to evaluate the city’s watershed and identify potential opportunities for reducing threats and improving water quality. Recommendations were developed in response to existing conditions in Ottertail’s stormwater management, shoreline practices and lake water quality.
"You present yourselves in a way that is not intimidating, so your message was well accepted by all. You've made us aware of the very important issues and helped us talk about the methods to start the planning process which will ultimately make us better stewards of our land. Given the short amount of time you've had to give to this project I don't see how you could improve. As a result of this project, we have. . . started the planning process dealing with our subsurface sewage treatment systems."
- Lee Sherman, City of Ottertail