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STEVENS SOIL AND WATER

CONSERVATION DISTRICT 2016 ANNUAL REVIEW | A SUPPLEMENT TO THE FEBRUARY 18, 2017 MORRIS SUN TRIBUNE

The mission of Stevens Soil and Water Conservation District is to work with county landowners in putting conservation practices on the land and to help all citizens be good stewards of our natural resources.

OFFICE HOURS Monday - Friday 7:30 - 4 p.m. Regular Stevens SWCD Board Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month, at 9:30 a.m., at the SWCD office. These meetings are open to the public.

Located in the

STEVENS SWCD SERVICES

USDA Agricultural Service Center 12 Highway 28 East, Suite 2, Morris, MN 56267 320-589-4886 ext. 3

•CRP Conservation Planning •Mowing & Spot Spraying for weed control •Native Grass & Buffer Seeding •Rain Garden Design & Installation •Tree Planting & Fabric Installation

VISIT US AT OUR WEBSITE WWW.STEVENSSWCD.ORG


PAGE 2 - SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2017

stevens soil and water conservation district

MORRIS, MINNESOTA 56267

CRP Remains Popular Option in Stevens County

Stevens SWCD staff, left to right: Office Manager Chris Staebler, Administrator Matt Solemsaas, Education and Promotion, Coordinator Judy Johnson, Assistant Technician John Lembcke, Program Technician Kasey Wiechmann, and District Technician Adam Erickson.

2016 SWCD Supervisors, left to right: Vice Chairman Dave Lonergan, Treasurer Greg Fynboh, Chairman Don Huntley, Reporter Jim Krosch, and Secretary Kirby Hufford.

Congratulations to newly elected Stevens SWCD Supervisors (L to R) Districts Incumbent Dave Lonergan, and new board members Dennis Feuchtenberger, and Troy Goodnough. They took their Oath of Office recited by Matt Solemsaas, District Administrator.

District Administrator Matt Solemsaas congratulates Don Huntley on 11 years of service to the Stevens SWCD board. Not pictured is outgoing Supervisor Kirby Hufford, 5 years of service to the board.

Get the right treatment for your soybeans

2016 proved to be another great year for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Stevens County. There were about 650 acres enrolled in Continuous CRP, which is up from 2015 by nearly 100 acres including both expiring contracts and new sign-ups. CRP is a voluntary program landowners can sign up for to protect environmentally sensitive land. Conservation cover in the form of grass, forbs, shrubs or trees is planted to help reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat. This program can be beneficial to both the landowner and the environment, especially when it comes to those problem areas. A landowner that signs up for CRP will receive an annual rental payment from FSA for 10 to 15 years as well as cost share and other incentives depending on the practice. To be eligible for CRP, a landowner must have crop history on the area to be enrolled in four out of six years between 2008 and 2013. The rental payment is determined by using the three predominate soil types within the eligible area. In Stevens County, the annual rental payment for CRP is between $108 and $166 per acre. Up to 50 percent costshare is given out to help the landowner pay for the establishment of approved cover. This can include site preparation, trees, tree planting, seed, seeding and wetland restorations. Incentives will vary depending on the practice, but can include a signing incentive payment (SIP) of $100 per acre, a practice incentive payment (PIP) which helps pay for the installation cost on certain practices, and a 20 percent incentive on top of the rental payment for certain practices. Over the past year, SWCD and NRCS staff have worked closely with landowners to plan CRP contract proposals and to revise plans for re-enrollment offers, making sure to consider field operations and overall function of the CRP site. At the start of a CRP contract, landowners may choose to have a vendor seed/plant the site or complete the seeding/planting themselves. Some of those landowners chose to have the SWCD do the work. SWCD planted over 1,400 trees/shrubs and about 280 acres of native grasses for CRP contracts in 2016. As part of a new CRP offer in 2016, NRCS staff designed and installed a new wetland restoration involving scraping sediment from a historical wetland site. There are four additional wetland restorations planned for 2017. The most common practices in Stevens County in 2016 were filter strips, shelterbelt establishments and wetland restorations. Filter Strips Filter strips (CP21) were the most enrolled CRP practice in 2016 and they are one of the most effective forms of conservation through CRP. Also known as a buffer strip, a filter strip consists of native grasses planted along streams, drainage ditches, wetlands and/or lakes. This helps reduce soil erosion and remove pollutants in order to improve water quality while enhancing wildlife habitat. The width of a filter strip along one of these waterbodies

is usually between 30 to 120 feet wide, but can be extended out farther due to factors such as frequently flooded areas. Filter strip contracts tend to be smaller in acres than some of the other CRP practices while still providing benefits. They take out those wet areas along streams and wetlands which tend to be troublesome for landowners anyway. They can help square up fields, which makes it easier to farm the rest especially with the large equipment these days. A filter strip contract will receive an annual rental payment with a 20 percent incentive, cost-share, SIP and PIP. Buffers required under the current Minnesota Buffer Law would be good candidates for the Filter Strip (CP21) CRP practice and would allow landowners to receive up to 15 years of payments on enrolled acres, if enrolled prior to November 1, 2017. If you think you might be interested in this, you should speak with the SWCD staff about areas where buffers may be needed as soon as possible to ensure your project can be enrolled. Shelterbelt Establishments The shelterbelt practice (CP16A) is to provide protection for structures, animals and people. Additional benefits include reduction of soil erosion by wind, management of snow deposition, visual and noise screens, and creation of wildlife habitat. Shelterbelts enrolled are eligible to plant three to eight rows of trees through CRP. Usually a variety of different trees are planted, including shrubs, deciduous trees and coniferous trees. A 16.5 foot buffer is allowed on the outside rows, which is nice to have along cropped areas to avoid impacts from chemicals. Shelterbelt practices will receive an annual rental payment along with cost-share, SIP, and PIP. Wetland Restorations Wetland restorations (CP23a or CP27/28) are completed to restore cropped wetlands to the original hydrology of the site. This practice also provides a filter, much like a filter strip, planted to native grasses and forbs with a minimum of five species. In addition to the hydrology and water quality improvement, a wetland restoration will also enhance wildlife habitat. The wetland restoration practice is comprised of a wetland (hydric soils) component and an upland buffer (non-hydric soils) component, where the component ratio may not exceed four acres of upland buffer to one acre of restored wetland. Some restorations may also feature a structure depending on practice feasibility which would be determined and designed by qualified NRCS staff. A wetland restoration contract will receive an annual rental payment with a 20 percent incentive, cost-share, SIP and PIP. If you have any interest in CRP, we recommend you let us know sooner than later as USDA may run out of CRP acres in 2017. The 2014 Farm Bill set a cap on CRP acres starting in 2017 and USDA is projecting to reach that cap this year. Feel free to stop in at our office or call 589-4886 ext.3 to discuss with our NRCS/SWCD staff what you may be eligible for.

Delivers triple protection in the form of a nematicide, insecticide & fungicide 2016 Conservation Corp summer intern Cody Bourgeois collecting water samples for Pomme de Terre Watershed project.

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320-589-4749


MORRIS, MINNESOTA 56267

Rain Garden Project in 2016 In 2016 Stevens SWCD completed five rain gardens with in Stevens County and one garden in an adjacent county. A rain garden is a great way to beautify your property, controlling storm water runoff, and providing habitat for pollinators at a low cost. Through funding we can cost share up to 75% of the total cost start to finish of the garden. This year Stevens SWCD was able to award approximately $12,000 to landowners who planted rain gardens. A rain garden is a shallow depression in the landscape, with a gradual slope. Rain gardens are planted with colorful native perennial wetland or wet prairie wildflowers and grasses. They are designed to capture and filter runoff from impervious areas such as roofs, parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks. They keep the unfiltered runoff from being sent down the sewer and eventually to the river. Plants that can withstand more moisture are planted in the bottom of the garden, and the rest are planted on the side of the slope. The garden is designed to hold standing water for less than 24 hours. These gardens can be large or small depending on the amount of runoff that will be captured in the basin. Some of the many benefits of rain gardens are: filtering runoff pollution, recharging local groundwater, improving

water quality, removing standing water in your yard which reduces mosquito breeding, reducing potential home flooding, and creating habitat for birds, bees, and butterflies. Rain gardens generally feature native flowers and grasses with a lot of color to make them attractive. We design them to beautify as well as function as a filter. With hours of manual labor put into constructing a rain garden, it’s always rewarding to see the finished project, but in 2016, one particular project stands out especially. We were willing to partner up with another county that took on a project, but has never designed or constructed a rain garden before. They knew that we had knowledge of them and asked if we would be able to do the project for them. We agreed and hopefully passed our knowledge off to another district so that in the future they can put more of them in the landscape of their community. Stevens SWCD would like to thank everyone who has installed rain gardens in recent years for expressing interest in working towards water quality and increased habitat. Please contact Matt or John at Stevens SWCD, (320)-589-4886 ext 3, if you have any questions or are interested in putting a rain garden on your property.

Conservation Corps Minnesota employee Cody Bourgeois from Macedon, New York. Cody was a big help to the district helping with tree planting, rain gardens, and mowing.

Rock Basin to slow water flow from downspout at Appleton City Hall.

PAGE 3 - SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2017

stevens soil and water conservation district

Planting Native Grass for Habitat

Seeding 80 acres of CRP in Swan Lake Township.

Stevens SWCD planted just over 254 acres of native grass and forbs throughout Stevens County in 2016. Many of these acres were planted through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Native grass seeding can be completed from May 15 through the end of June if it is enrolled in a program. It may also be seeded dormant in the fall of the year, once soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees for four consecutive days. That is usually around November 1. We recommend that you try to plant in the spring of the year to give your warm and cool season grasses a chance to establish, but that being said, that doesn’t always work well with some sites. Many of these sites are marginal with poor planting conditions and might have to be seeded in the fall when it dries out. In these cases, dormant seeding can also yield a good stand of native grasses once established. One of the things that is commonly overlooked when planting native grass is site preparation. This is something the landowner needs to consider before seeding. Native grasses must be planted in a firm, weed-free seedbed, primarily because success depends upon good soil-to-seed contact. Loose soil dries out quickly at the surface compared to firm soil, and native grass seed is planted only an eighth to a quarter inch deep. No-till is best option for seeding native grass, and it is ideal if you can plant into soybean stubble. If planting into corn stubble, at a minimum, the site should either be mowed or the stalks chopped before planting. Better yet would be to plow, disc at least twice, and pack before planting. New sites should be worked, rolled, and sprayed once or twice to reduce weed competition and provide a nice seed bed. Something else to consider is that it takes time before you will see results, unlike lawn grass. Most growers of native

grasses are convinced they have a failure the first year when they actually have a good stand. Native grasses grow down, not up, during the establishment years. The top growth normally amounts to a narrow, straight leaf until late summer. These seedlings can be hard to see, even for the experienced grower, so be patient with your site. Weeds are the greatest cause of poor grass stands because they challenge the small seedlings in two ways: they take away necessary water and nutrients and they also shade and smother the young plants. Weeds need to be controlled, chemically or with tillage, prior to seeding. Mowing or clipping weeds the first year is important to prevent the seed from being choked or smothered. The first year, you should mow three times if possible. The first mowing should be quick, about three or four weeks after seeding. Mow the first time at a height of four to six inches. The next two times you mow should be at a height no less than eight inches. You should mow every three weeks or when weeds are visible, depending on the amount of precipitation, with the last mowing done by the last week of July. If you prepare the site correctly, plant the seed correctly, and clip the site a few times the first year, you will more than likely have a good stand in one year. If you plant correctly but do not follow the maintenance directions, you will have a good stand in three years. Stevens SWCD has a wide variety of fresh, high quality, certified native grass and flower seed from sources as local as possible. We have the equipment and expertise to help you do your seeding. Give Stevens SWCD a call at 589-4886 ext 3 if you have any questions or are interested in planting some natives. Stevens SWCD has the right equipment for any job, from planting to mowing. No project is too big or too small!

Seeding tree rows into native grasses.

The Wonder of Wolves The Wonder of Wolves is a relatively new program this year for Stevens County students. It was presented in March to fourth graders at Morris Area Elementary by the Prairie Ecology Bus Center. The day started with an assembly of Morris, Hancock and St. Mary’s students in the Morris Area School Media Center, followed by break out sessions for each class. The students learned about wolf characteristics, adaptations and behavior. In the classroom breakout sessions, students also participated in hands-on learning with furs, skulls, tracks and other animal artifacts. Students participated in wolf communication activities as well. The program was made possible through education funding provided by the Comprehensive Local Water Plan. It has become a favorite for area 4th graders. Chokio Alberta students had the chance to see and learn first hand about wolves and what the skulls and artifacts look like up close.

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PAGE 4 - SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2017

Walk in Access Program in 2016 Stevens SWCD administers the Walkin-Access (WIA) Program in Stevens County. In 2016, Stevens County had 12 sites totaling 1,085 acres under contract. There are more than 23,000 acres statewide enrolled throughout the 46 counties that offer WIA, which is most of the western half of Minnesota. You may have seen some of these sites; they are marked with highly visible neon yellow signs. Hunters are required to have a $3 WIA validation on their hunting license if they are going to be hunting on any WIA land. Hunters are also allowed to donate an additional $1, $3 or $5 towards the program. Locations of the parcels enrolled can be found on the DNR website or an atlas containing the locations can be picked up at the local SWCD office. Eligible parcels must be at least 40 acres that are covered by high quality natural vegetation. Landowners are paid by the acre to allow hunting access from Sept. 1 to May 31. Bonuses are paid on parcels that enroll in a multiyear contract, are more than 140 acres in size and are located near a state Wildlife Management Area or federal Waterfowl Production Area. When you enroll land in the Walk-In Access (WIA) program, you are leasing the land to the State of Minnesota for the public to hunt. Landowners are afforded liability protection through the Recreational Use Statutes. Hunters who have purchased a WIA Validation can access the land one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset from Sept.

1 to May 31. Other uses by the public are prohibited without the landowner’s written permission. Landowners and their minor children can hunt the enrolled property without a WIA Validation, but everyone else must have the Validation in their possession when hunting land enrolled in the program. WIA parcels are for public hunting only and no motorized vehicles are allowed on conservation land. Bright yellow-green signs identify WIA boundaries and parking is allowed along roads or in designated parking areas. Prior to giving written permission to an individual for an activity other than hunting, please note that the landowner agreement states that activity on the land will not impede public hunting. An example of an activity that would be considered an impediment is camping. Trapping is not considered to impede public hunting, but the WIA agreement requires that you or anyone you give permission to trap must adhere to trapping regulations that apply to public land. Trapping regulations for public land can be found in the current year Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook. Please be aware that these areas are used most often by bird hunters and their dogs and that trapping regulations for public land are designed to reduce the risk of catching non-target animals. It is recommended to place signs or somehow communicate the risk to hunters that trapping is going on. WIA is a way landowners can generate revenue by allowing public hunting on their private land. The enrollment period runs Jan. 23 to April 28, 2017. If you are interested in learning more about the Walk-In Access Program or have any questions or concerns, please contact John at the Stevens SWCD office at 320-589-4886 ext 3.

Yes, whales relate to Minnesota! It may sound strange to talk about these marine mammals here in the middle of North America, but it makes perfect sense when you understand that Minnesota shares the same big watershed as these enormous, gentle giants! Coordinated by the Stevens SWCD and paid for by the Stevens County Water Plan, Stevens County elementary students had the opportunity to learn about features that classify whales and humans into the same animal group, the variety of whales in our oceans, what they eat, how they live and other fasci-

nating details about whales. To add even more fun, the “Whale in our School” assembly culminated with a tour inside a life-size model of the biggest whale of all – the Blue Whale! Classroom workshops dive deeper into ocean life and whale adaptations with experiments and activities to learn more about the amazing features of these gentle giants of our oceans. This is a favorite classroom presentation among third grade students in Stevens County. They just love the chance to go inside a very life-like 70 foot whale!

2016 St. Mary’s & Chokio Alberta 3rd grade students learned these things and also how whales relate to Minnesota’s water at the “Whale in our School Program,” sponsored by Stevens Soil and Water.

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MORRIS, MINNESOTA 56267

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Tiling? Mitigating? Wetland Banking? Then you need to know - What is WCA? Federal and Minnesota laws were enacted a couple decades ago to address the draining and filling of wetland areas. Both sets of laws rely on the knowledge and actions of landowners to assure compliance with their requirements. It is important for agricultural producers to be aware of these regulations in order to limit their risk. Landowners need to know that just because you’re in compliance with one program doesn’t always mean that you’re in compliance with others. The Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) is a state law that regulates the activities that result in the draining, filling, or excavating of wetlands in Minnesota, including those on agricultural land. It is administered by local government units; in rural areas this is usually the County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). SWCDs also provide technical assistance to landowners. If you are interested in tiling, mitigating or putting some previously drained acres into the wetland bank, the WCA Administrator can advise you if your project is allowed under WCA or if you need to submit an application to the local government. Involving the WCA Administrator from the beginning is the easiest and best way to avoid problems. If you have a project similar to this you’d like to do, first complete

your “AD1026” form at your local USDA office. Then bring a copy to the WCA Administrator and explain what you plan to do. Request a field visit by the WCA administrator. This can help identify regulated wetlands on your property, and regulations that could affect your project. Many wetlands do not contain standing water or are only saturated for part of the year, and can be difficult for landowners to identify. If you need a contractor, make sure they submit a “Contractor Liability Form.” Contractors who conduct projects that will impact a wetland are required to notify the local government. The Contractor Responsibility and Landowner Statement From is available at www.bwsr. state.mn.us/wetlands/forms and must be mailed to the local government prior to starting work. Communication is the key! Compliance with USDA (Swampbuster) does not mean compliance with other wetland laws. A quick call or stop at your SWCD office prior to beginning your project will help you comply with the laws and save a project from potential additional costs and delays. The WCA contact for Stevens County is Matt Solemsaas, District Administrator at Stevens SWCD. If you have any questions stop by or call 320-589-4886 ext 112.

2016 LOCAL WATER PLAN PROGRAM REPORT Administration ..................................................................................Total Grant Expenditure: $3,555 Expenses were for travel, meetings, advertising, office supplies and staff time. SWELL Coordinator..............................................................................Total Grant Expenditure: $3,000 Ranger Randee Hokanson, SWELL Coordinator, taught 15 spring and 15 fall lessons for elementary students. She also developed three different lesson plans for teachers to use during self-directed visits to SWELL. She is planning the construction of a replica of a dugout near the log cabin on the SWELL site. Well Sealing.......................................................................................Total Grant Expenditure: $550 Provided 50 percent cost-share on sealing unused wells up to $300/well. Only cost-share existing wells and not wells required to be sealed when a new replacement well is installed. Seven wells were sealed in 2016. Water plan re-write (consulting fees)........................................................Total Grant Expenditure: $3,750 The Water plan was up for a 10 year revision by July 2017 so there were funds set aside to pay a consultant to do the re-write. Only half of the original allocated $7500 was spent due to Stevens county partnering with adjacent counties in the One Watershed One plan process. Stevens County Elementary School Presentations..........................................Total Grant Expenditure: $2,673 The Audubon Center of the North Woods presented “Northland Niches” to the 2nd graders as a day long program. Students learned about the habitats of the red tailed hawk, snakes, American kestrel, salamander and porcupine. The students got the chance to see all of these animals up close, with interactive learning. 3rd graders attended “Whale in our School”, where they learned about whales and how they relate to water quality. They even got the chance to go inside the whale; hard to believe we had over 150 students inside the 70-foot whale. The presenter came for a day long program from the Prairie Express Ecology Bus, based out of New Ulm. The 4th graders attended “Wonder of Wolves.” Their program covered learning with furs, skulls, tracks and other animal artifacts as well as activities related to habitats of coyotes, fox and wolves and how they live and interact in their wildlife communities. This program was also presented by the Prairie Express Ecology Bus. Sr. Envirothon/Jr. Envirothon....................................................................Total Grant Expenditure: $500 Each year the Area 2 Soil and Water Conservation Districts work together to organize a regional environmental competition for high school and junior high school students. This year, 12 high school teams from 9-12 grades, and 16 junior teams 6-8th grade competed at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in Spicer. Top three senior teams advanced to the State Envirothon. Funding was obtained from area SWCDs, local water plans, and other outside donors. Judy Johnston, Stevens SWCD Education Coordinator, has been the coordinator of this event each year since 1995. Pope/Stevens Water Fest........................................................................Total Grant Expenditure: $700 The staff from the Stevens and Pope SWCDs organized this event. Over 300 6th grade students from both counties attended the 11th annual event. The program is very well-received by the schools because of the opportunity to get outside the classroom and learn hands-on about the water cycle, water conservation, exploring underwater, bubbleology, aquatic intruders, the fish journey, lakeshore habitat, and groundwater. To help make the event a success, several other public and private organizations provided donations to the project. This year’s event was held at the Pope County Fairgrounds in Glenwood. The feature presentation was given by the Science Museum of Minnesota. Pope/Stevens Conservation Day................................................................Total Grant Expenditure: $900 Staff from Stevens & Pope SWCDs organized this event. This was the 9th year this program was offered to 5th grade students in Pope & Stevens counties. 300 students attended this year’s event, held at the Scandia Woods Environmental Learning Lab near Morris. Students moved between various outdoor learning stations with topics including: Raptors, Reptiles and Amphibians, Mammals, Soils, Waterfowl, Water Quality, Wetlands, Mirrors of Minnesota, Prairie Wildlife, Nature’s Stock market, and Orienteering. Arboretum Maintenance.........................................................................Total Grant Expenditure: $661 Stevens SWCD has a Conservation Arboretum planted with tree species that are common in this area. Area residents can visit the arboretum to see what the different varieties look like and find information about them. There is also a demonstration rain garden that requires annual maintenance. Water Plan funding was used to help maintain these demonstration areas. Farm Bill Technician............................................................................Total Grant Expenditure: $1,500 Stevens SWCD employs a Farm Bill Technician, whose job is to recruit and assist landowners enrolling land into the various continuous CRP farm programs that focus on water quality. The majority of funding for this position is obtained through the BWSR and Pheasants Forever. These organizations require a partial local match as well. Local funds come from Stevens SWCD, and the water plan. State Envirothon Coordinator.................................................................Total Grant Expenditure: $1,750 Judy Johnston, Education/Coordinator at Stevens SWCD, is the State Envirothon Coordinator. 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PAGE 5 - SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2017

stevens soil and water conservation district

Plan for the Future by Planting Trees Today

Pulling trees through fabric.

In 2016 Stevens SWCD sold 8,642 trees and installed 26,586 feet of weed barrier fabric over 27 windbreaks/ shelterbelts. Stevens SWCD plants trees during the month of May and the early part of June. Some of these trees were cost shared through two different federal programs, which included the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). SWCDs are no longer able to use State Cost Share for planting of trees. Site Prep is Key for Success Tree selection is an important step in planning for a successful planting. Some tree varieties do better in hydric soils and some do better in dryer soils and vice-versa. We are available for advice, and also have a number of books to assist you in your decision. These books will also show you pictures of what the trees look like to make sure they meet all your

landscaping demands. Another good idea when planting trees is to plant multiple varieties within the same row, alternating species every other tree. The idea behind this is to keep disease or insects from killing a whole row of trees. If a disease or insect affects one species of tree, you will not be starting all over without any protection at all. Mulch fabric and tree tubes are recommended on most sites. The trees perform much better. The fabric is put into place around the trees to reduce the competition of weeds or volunteer trees. The tree tubes should be put on all the large varieties of deciduous trees, especially where animals are likely to be feeding on them. Animals will feed on the bark or new buds, which will kill or hinder tree growth. Watering trees is essential the first year of the planting, especially during hot dry periods. Trees that are watered periodically and free of weed competition have much better growth and overall performance. Place an order today! Stevens SWCD is currently taking tree orders for 2017. We are working on planning and planting plans for larger conservation plantings, as well as taking small orders for trees that need to be replaced. The order deadline is March 15, so call now to see what trees we have available, and to find out if you are eligible to receive financial assistance for your project. For more information, contact John at 320589-4886 ext 3.

12 Hwy 28 E Ste 2 Morris MN 56267

2017 Order Form

(320) 589-4886 ext. 3 www.stevensswcd.org

Date:

Prices subject to change. Order by March 15 to ensure availability.

Name:

Phone:

Address:

TWP:

Sec:

Tree Species Shrubs

American Cranberry American Hazelnut Buffaloberry Chokeberry Common Lilac Cotoneaster Nanking Cherry Redosier Dogwood Silky Dogwood Villosa Lilac

Small Trees

American Plum Chokecherry Juneberry Midwest Crab Nannyberry Red Splendor Crab

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50

$ $ $ $ $ $

1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50

Quantity

Total Price

Unit Cost

Potted Trees

Black Hills Spruce Colorado Blue Spruce Techny Arborvitae

1 gallon 1 gallon 1 gallon

Bare Root Evergreens

Black Hills Spruce Colorado Blue Spruce Ponderosa Pine Techny Arborvitae

1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 0.50 0.50 1.50 1.50 1.50

Thank you for your order!

1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50

Unit Cost

Tree stake (min. 4')

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

$ $ $ $

Lawn & Driveway Service, Inc.

Related Products & Services 5 foot tree tube

Bur Oak Cottonwood Male Golden Willow Hackberry Hybrid Poplar cutting Hybrid Willow cuttings Laurel Willow Paper Birch Silver Maple

10.00 10.00 10.00

Total Price

of farmers. Congratulations, Jon Hallman & family. The Hallmans were honored at the Minnesota Association of Conservation District’s annual convention in December 2016 in Bloomington.

Congratulations to the Jon and Erin Hallman family of Chokio for been chosen our Stevens SWCD Outstanding Conservationists for 2016. Jon farms full time along with his father and uncle on their family farm in Baker Township. They have 980 tillable acres in a spring wheat, corn and soybean rotation. Jon enjoys the soil health benefits of diversified crops and farming methods. He has been in NRCS programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, taking advantage of drift reducing nozzles, GPS targeted spraying, and a variety of cover crops which decrease compaction, increase soil health, and scavenge residual nitrogen. He’s also done plant tissue testing, and VRT fertilizer application. Jon has 38 acres of CRP filter strips, and buffers on all his drainage ditches. He has recently been involved in pollinator research projects with the USDA’s ARS Soils Lab in Morris. Jon has been working to reduce his tillage to retain more crop residue on the soil surface and help preserve soil structure. He recently tried strip tillage on his corn and is considering more reduced tillage strategizes as well. Jon is patient about farming and working hard to improve the land and to leave it even better for the next generation

Other species and sizes may be available upon request. Bare root trees should be ordered in multiples of 25 trees per variety.

4 foot tree tube

Large Trees

$ $ $

Quantity

Hallmans Honored for their Outstanding Work in Conservation

3x3 Fabric mat & 8 staples Tree fabric roll (500'x6') Custom cut fabric, per foot Metal staples for tree mats Plantskydd Repellent, 1 qt. spray Plantskydd Repellent, 1.32 gal. spray

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Quantity

3.00 3.25 1.25 2.00 185.00 0.50 0.10 21.95 54.95

Cedar wood chips also available

001543233r1

Unit Cost

Jon and Erin Hallman were recognized for outstanding conservation efforts on their farm at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual convention in December 2016.

Available to seed buffer strips, grass waterways, CRP acres, road ditches, and building sites.

We can design & plant your trees &/or install fabric mulch for you. We also perform site prep/tillage, mowing/weed control between tree rows, and native grass planting including rain gardens. Just give us a call!

Call Vicky @ 320-760-9112 or Joe @ 320-815-0873

SUB TOTAL $ Sales Tax 6.875% if applicable

Grand Total $

Signature:

Date: All tree orders & pricing are subject to species availability. Trees must be used for conservation purposes only. Due to numerous factors beyond our control, the Stevens SWCD is unable to provide a guarantee on the trees we sell. Payment due when ordering. We will notify you when trees are available for pick-up (late April).

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First Two AgProducers Earn Certification in 2016 in Stevens County

2016 has brought in further interest and additional applications for the relatively new program, Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). Under the MAWQCP, the Stevens SWCD office has certified two producers and continues to work with other producers looking to be certified. The first two certifications came from the Stevens SWCD Board of Supervisors – Greg Fynboh (District 2) and Jim Krosch (District 3). Both board members worked with staff to maintain the conservation-minded practices they already follow and to find new ways to implement conservation on their land. The MAWQCP is a voluntary program though the Minnesota Department of Agriculture designed to accelerate adoption of on-farm conservation practices that protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Farm owners and operators who

Greg Fynboh receiving his MAWQCP sign from Kasey Wiechmann (Stevens SWCD) and Grant Pearson (Stearns SWCD).

MORRIS, MINNESOTA 56267

stevens soil and water conservation district

implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified and in turn assured that their operation meets the state’s water quality goals and standards for a period of ten years. Farm operators and owners seeking certification will be evaluated using an on-farm assessment tool. The on-farm assessment is customized specifically to your operation. It is a great educational opportunity to learn about how to maintain and improve your environmental performance. Stevens SWCD will be involved with the on-farm assessment process as each program applicant works toward this water quality certification. Producers can receive priority for technical and financial assistance to help implement practices promoting water quality. Certification under this program allows individuals to be recognized for their continued commitment to protecting water quality. MAWQCP Certification began in June of 2014 and has since initiated numerous structural conservation practices across Minnesota including: Water Quality Inlet Protection, Water and Sediment Control Basins, Agricultural Waste Facilities, Terrace Projects, Streambank Protection Projects, Conservation Cover/Pollinator Plantings, Grassed Waterways, Filter Strips, Field Borders, Cover Crops and Contour Buffers. Please contact the Stevens County Soil and Water Conservation District at (320) 589-4886 for more information about the program and to enroll.

Jim Krosch receiving his MAWQCP sign from Kasey Wiechmann (Stevens SWCD).

Pope & Stevens County Water Fest in its 11th year in Glenwood

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On September 16, 2016, over 300 sixth grade students and teachers from Pope and Stevens counties attended the 11th Annual Pope & Stevens County Water Fest. Students from Minnewaska, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Morris Area Elementary, St. Mary’s, Hancock, and Glacial Hills attended this year’s event, which Morris Area students learning about underwater living creatures in Glenwood at the was held at the Pope County 2016 Water Fest. The helpers for this station were Jared House and Judy Johnston. Fairgrounds in Glenwood. The students were involved in a day of hands-on learning about the water cycle, water conservation, macro invertebrates, aquatic intruders, bubbleology, incredible Trusted. Local. Committed. journey and the lake game. The presenters were from Debbie Anderson, Agent various agencies including the Science Museum of Email Cell Office Minnesota, Pope & Stevens danderson@mnfuia.com 320.808.8257 320.589.3245 Soil & Water Conservation 10 East 6th St, Suite 105 ♦ Morris, MN 56267 Districts, Middle Fork Watershed, MPCA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, North Fork Crow River Watershed District, and the Glenwood DNR office.

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Buffer Law in Stevens County The Minnesota Buffer Law affects each of Minnesota’s 87 counties differently but each SWCD has a similar responsibility of coordinating buffer implementation. While we do not yet have every detail we know what direction we need to be heading, and engaging in conversation with those affected by the law is an important step. Locally there have been a few opportunities for the public to hear about the fundamentals of the Buffer Law. Initially, the Stevens County Highway Department hosted a public meeting on June 1, 2016 to discuss the Buffer Law and to allow for questions and discussion. Stevens SWCD hosted an additional public meeting on January 30, 2016 to provide updates and further opportunity for conversation. Both meetings were well attended and focused on presentations from the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) staff concerning the policy and implementation of Buffer Law. A countywide desktop survey was completed in December to evaluate the status of buffer compliance in Stevens County. Roughly 1600 landowner parcels are impacted by the Buffer Law.

This preliminary survey indicated that Stevens County was approximately 67% compliant with the Law. These figures may be slightly biased to non-compliance until a field review provides additional site information. Once impacted parcels were identified, Stevens SWCD mailed out informational letters to Stevens County landowners with land adjacent to DNR public waters or public ditches to initiate a conversation about the status of compliance of their land. All landowners with adjacent land should have received a letter stating whether the land was compliant or not. If you did not receive a letter and feel that you may have land impacted by the law, please call or stop by the SWCD office and discuss it with the SWCD staff. If there is anything we can do to help explain the Buffer Law or to check the status of your land, please let us know. The Stevens SWCD would like to say thank you to everyone that has been into the office with questions, to review your land for buffer compliance and if needed to look at compliance options. We look forward to working with everyone in the coming months!

The Minnesota Buffer Law Background The Minnesota Buffer Law, also known as the “Water Quality Law,” was initiated by Governor Mark Dayton and signed into law in 2015 to protect one of Minnesota’s most valuable resources, water. The Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) since then has been working hard to develop the necessary policy and guidance for implementation and management of the law. Under this law, landowners are required to establish vegetated riparian buffers (perennially rooted vegetation) along DNR public waters and public drainage ditch systems (County Ditches). Compliance with the Buffer Law is up to the individual landowner, but the Stevens SWCD is available as a resource to answer questions and help with buffer law implementation. Benefits As a basic conservation practice, buffers offer a variety of benefits to the environment as well as the people. Most notable would be soil stabilization and sediment filtration, which reduce the amount of sediment entering the surface water. In addition, some research shows the perennial vegetation and surface area within the buffer will allow excess fertilizer to be absorbed and utilized by the vegetation and will also allow a portion of the chemical to be absorbed and broken down before entering the surface water. The buffer areas would also provide excellent habitat and travel corridors for various wildlife. Buffer Requirements The Buffer Law states that DNR public waters require a buffer with an average width of 50 feet and a minimum width of 30 feet, and on public drainage ditch systems a buffer width of 16.5 feet is required (areas included in the Stevens County Shoreline Ordinance require a 50 foot minimum buffer). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) was tasked with the Buffer Mapping Project to produce and maintain a map of public waters and public ditch systems that would require a permanent vegetation buffer. Throughout this process the Minnesota DNR has been accepting public comment on the proposed areas requiring a buffer, buffer map comments can be made through the SWCD office. The first map version was released in July 2016, the second in November and the third version will be published on February 23, 2017. You can view the buffer map and commonly asked questions on the Min-

nesota DNR Buffer website at: http:// www.dnr.state.mn.us/buffers/index. html (or search “MN DNR Buffers”). Additional information can be found on the BWSR Buffer website at: http://bwsr. state.mn.us/buffers/ (or search “BWSR Buffers”). Installation deadlines to be compliant with the law will be November 1, 2017 for DNR Public Waters (50 foot requirement) and November 1, 2018 for Public Drainage Ditch Systems (16.5 foot requirement). Resources Available These programs and resources are available to help with the buffer establishment: Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a practical option in most situations and is eligible on cropland acres. We recommend landowners stop in and have us complete a CRP quote for cropland acres that are affected by the law. Receiving a CRP quote has no obligations and it allows you to see the acreage involved, potential rental rates and the cost share available for native grass establishment. CRP acres may be limited this year so having a quote completed now allows more time for questions and revisions while considering this option. Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a perpetual (permanent) easement that is a combination of CRP and Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM). You would receive an upfront land payment as well as having the benefits of the CRP for the first 15 years. More details on CREP will be available in early spring. There are also a number of other cost share options available to help with expense of buffer establishment including EQIP, and other state and federal grants. Stop in to the Stevens SWCD office at any time with questions about the MN Buffer Law, to review your property for potential buffer requirements and to discuss implementation strategies. It will be a busy time for all so please don’t hesitate to stop into the office or call at 320-5894886 ext. 3. We look forward to your visit!

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2016 Pomme de Terre River Association Updates The Pomme de Terre River and its associated streams, tributaries, and lakes make up an essential piece of our landscape that directly impacts our way of PDTRA Project Coordinator, Jared H o u s e , A t C o n s e r v a t i o n D a y s life in west cenpresenting macroinvertebrates and tral Minnesota. discussing their importance to aquatic Not only does systems. it provide us with fish and wildlife habitat, recreational opportunity, and residential beauty, but it also aids in draining excessive waters away from important agricultural lands. However, over time, sections of the river and its tributaries have become unfavorably cloudy and excessive nutrients have increased algae blooms with the potential of effecting aquatic life. In 1981 a group of citizens looking to address these potential issues within the Pomme de Terre watershed formed the Pomme de Terre River Association (PDTRA) which is now comprised of a 12-member board including Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors

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and county commissioners from Stevens, Swift, Grant, Otter Tail, Douglas, and Big Stone counties. PDTRA is continuously growing in its ability to provide funds for the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) that aid in the reduction of nonpoint source pollution. In 2016 PDTRA utilized over $225,000 in grants to install two agricultural waste pit closures, complete a shoreline restoration project, install 16 water and sediment control basins, and three new rain gardens throughout the Pomme de Terre Watershed. Along with implementation, PDTRA carried out water quality monitoring at four sites to determine the effectiveness of nearby BMPs and help determine tributary non-point source pollution effects on the Pomme de Terre River. This monitoring will continue into the 2017 field season and will be expanded on through the utilization of other grants. Gearing up for 2017, PDTRA has already received $431,587 in Clean Water Funds to help continue implementing on-the-ground projects that will aid in the reduction of non-point source pollution. For more information on projects and educational resources visit our website at www.pdtriver.org or visit our Facebook page Pomme de Terre River Association.

Conservation Day at SWELL Over 300 fifth grade students and teachers enjoyed a fun day in the outdoors on Thursday, September 29, 2016. Students from all schools in Pope and Stevens counties were invited to learn about conservation and the environment at Scandia Woods Environmental Learning Lab (SWELL), just east of Morris. This was our ninth year for the event at SWELL. The hands-on interactive learning sessions included “Raptors,” presented by the Audubon Center of the North Woods. The students had a chance to meet live raptors and learn about their characteristics & habitats. The raptors included a red hawk, screech owl, great horned owl, and an American kestrel. Other sessions included Mammals, Mirrors of Minnesota, Soils, Wetlands, Waterfowl, Deadly Links, Prairie Wildlife, Nature’s Stock Market, Geocaching, and Orienteering. The day also included another Audubon Center presentation on “Reptiles and Amphibians,” which was a huge hit with the students. They had a lot of fun working with the frogs, snakes and lizards. The program was coordinated by Judy

Johnston of Stevens SWCD. Our presenters and volunteers that day were staff from Pope SWCD, Stevens SWCD, USDA-ARS Soils Lab, North Fork Crow River Watershed, NRCS, US Fish and Wildlife, Audubon Center of the North Woods, and SWELL Coordinator Randee Hokanson. Event sponsors include: Pope and Stevens SWCDs, Stevens and Pope County Local Water Plans, Pope County Land & Resource Management, North Fork Crow River Watershed District, Hancock Sportsman’s Club, Pope County Pheasant Restoration, Gobblers of Glacial Ridge, Glenwood Fire Department, Sauk River Watershed District, Brooten Commercial Club, Bremer Bank, Glenwood Rotary Club, Bank of the West, Stevens County Historical Society, Stevens County Pheasants Forever and Minnewaska JCs. Special thanks to the SWCD staff of Stevens and Pope counties and to our session presenters and volunteers, as well as SWELL landowners Linda & Karl Retzlaff, for making this an outstanding event for our fifth grade students!

Stevens County Producers seeing the Benefits of Cover Crops A growing number of Stevens County farmers are striving to look at their soil health and implement practices that improve soil health. Some farmers are reducing tillage Cover Crop in Standing Corn. passes, switching from conventional tillage to no-till or strip till, reducing over application of fertilizer, or implementing cover crops into their rotation. Many farmers are trying cover crops on their own and some are utilizing USDA programs to help them try a cover crop on their land. Over 1500 acres was seeded to a mix of cover crops that were to be left un-tilled over winter in Stevens County through a USDA program. We have seen an increased use of cover crops in the county in 2016, especially following edible bean harvest. We encourage producers to ask their local coops and seed dealers about getting cover crop seed. Oats, barley, wheat or rye have been used and spread with fertilizer for the next year’s crops then incorporated into the soil. These small grain cover crops have a later seeding window and have been working well following edible bean harvest. Cover crops are showing to be extremely important this winter as we have had a semi open winter and a lot of wind and will be important in the spring to keep topsoil from blowing and filling in the ditches.

Cover crops in 2016 were very successful and established well following small grain harvest. Some early sugarbeet harvested ground also was seeded to cover crops. Cover crops in corn can be challenging but have been accomplished in Stevens County. We worked with a producer to fly on a cover crop in late August. Timely rains also helped but the cover crop did put on some growth and was noticeable there. Some farmers we are working with are planning to try seeding a cover crop into corn at the V4-V6 stage while side-dressing fertilizer or cultivating. Designing a cover crop that can deal with being shaded for a while is challenging when seeding that early. For all cover crops, receiving a rain event shortly after seeding helps with establishment success. Our recommendation is that if you have growing season left on your farm, plant a cover crop and keep a living root in your soil as long as you can. As world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of upmost importance. So much so that USDA believes improving the health of our nation’s soil is one of the most important conservation endeavors of our time. Be sure to work with your crop insurance agent for more details to make sure the cover crop will not interfere with your crop insurance program. Stop by the NRCS office in Morris for more information on cover crops! We do have many great resources available to help you design a cover crop mix that meets your goals.

5th grade students from Stevens and Pope counties enjoy a day in the outdoors at 2016 Conservation Day at SWELL. At this station they are learning about wetlands and wetland plants with Stevens SWCD Technician Kasey Wiechmann.

Randee Hokanson, SWELL Coordinator, shares her knowledge at the Mirrors of Minnesota station during Conservation Day at SWELL.

Ranger Randee teaches at SWELL RangerRandee, Randee Hokanson, has meandered the hills, ponds and prairies of the place named SWELL for more than 20 years. Not only has nature changed things in the environRanger Randee and her little grandson, who came to visit her ment but things in her outdoor learning lab at have changed in SWELL. What a treat! the ways students learn, too. Acorns have sprouted into small seedling oak trees. Children who came to enjoy learning at SWELL as kindergarten students now bring their own children or the students in classes they’re teaching! The many ecosystems at SWELL offer a variety of subject matters to teach. Students can explore wetlands at the pond or marsh. Prairie and woodland areas offer habitats for animals, insects, trees and plants. The log cabin area, which is

a historical artifact relocated from Swan Lake township and placed at SWELL by the Stevens County Historical Society, has been the site of learning about settlers, Native Americans and has hosted “dinner at the log cabin” on several occasions. SWELL has provided the site for historical Rendezvous, the Pope and Stevens County Conservation Day, projects for Scouts, 4-H community service activities, Earth Day projects and recently local churches have provided hands on help during the “church without walls “ events in the autumn. The site known as SWELL is a shared space of around 20 acres. Linda and Karl Retzlaff have offered up this personal land to thousands of children and adults and have been more than faithful caretakers for the special needs that it requires. Ranger Randee has been more than happy to lead the learning and exploration this wonderful learning lab provides. She counts the name of Ranger Randee as one of the most cherished positions held in her career life.

Morris Area 5th grade students enjoying lunch at SWELL on a beautiful day in September.

Putting Conservation On the Land The mission of the Stevens Soil & Water Conservation District is to work with county landowners in putting conservation practices on the land and to help all citizens be good stewards of our natural resources. These local businesses salute the Stevens Soil and Water Conservation District for providing excellence in conservation. Cargill 22815 540th Ave., Alberta (320) 324-7461 www.cargill.com Dental Depot 2 East 5th St., Morris (320) 589-4481 www.dentaldepotmorris.com

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Morris Lumber & Millwork 49110 State Hwy. 28, Morris (320) 589-2331 Morris Sun Tribune 607 Pacific Ave., Morris (320) 589-2525 www.morrissuntribune.com West Central Environmental Consultants 14 Green River Road, Morris (320) 589-2039 www.wcec.com


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MORRIS, MINNESOTA 56267

Aquatic Invasive Species – Local and Statewide Stevens County Producers continue to utilize EQIP Invasive species (both aquatic and sels have been confirmed to be in 121 – Environmental Quality Incentives Program terrestrial) are species that are not na- lakes, rivers, and wetlands and about tive to Minnesota and cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. As of now, Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) have not been detected in Stevens County, but our neighboring counties have reported increasing numbers over the past several years. Our first goal here in Stevens County has been to spread the word about the prevention and potential management of AIS. We have continued to do this through work with local schools and educational promotion at places such as the county fair and the “Community Connection” segment at the local radio station. If you visit the public water accesses in our county, you will find some new signs with large print reading “Help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!” These signs and others posted are there to remind recreational lake users about AIS and that we all need to make an effort to prevent their spread. During your next visit to a lake or river, remember to: CLEAN, DRAIN, and DISPOSE – it’s the law. As of August 2016, per the DNR website, about 5% of Minnesota’s lakes are on the infested waters list. Zebra mus-

130 water bodies are listed as infested EQIP is a voluntary conservation probecause they are closely connected to gram from the USDA Natural Resources a waterway where zebra mussels have Conservation Service (NRCS). EQIP been found. provides technical assistance and incentive payments to assist crop, livestock, Starry Stonewort (Nitellopsis and other agricultural producers with obtusa): Be on the Lookout environmental, conservation and enStarry stonewort was first confirmed ergy improvements to their operations. in Minnesota at Lake Koronis of Stearns This assistance is to help landowners County in 2015. MN DNR has confirmed implement structural, vegetative, manfindings of the invasive in an additional agement practices, and Conservation three north-central Minnesota counties Activity Plans (CAP). as of August, 2016: Beltrami, Cass, and Some common practices in Stevens Itasca. County are cover crops, grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, terraces, converting irrigation systems to low pressure systems, nutrient management, pest management, notill, strip-till, closure of waste impoundments, brush management, conservation crop rotation to organic production, seasonal high tunnels, drainage water management, windbreaks/shelterbelts, native prairie seeding, prescribed burning, and rotational grazing systems consisting of fence, pipeline, well, water tanks, and pasture seeding. Image of Starry Stonewort. If you have a resource concern on your Why starry stonewort land, EQIP probably has a practice that is a problem: may be eligible for financial assistance Starry stonewort can affect recreation and other uses of lakes as it can produce dense mats at the water’s surface. Dense starry stonewort mats may displace native aquatic plants. What to look for: Starry stonewort is similar in appearance to native grass-like algae such as other stoneworts and musk-grass. Native stoneworts and musk-grass are both commonly found in Minnesota waters. Starry stonewort can be distinguished from other grass-like algae by the presence of star-shaped bulbils, as shown in the photo. (Starry stonewort information provided by MN DNR) For additional information on Aquatic Invasive Species please visit the Minnesota DNR website @ www.mndnr.gov/ ais or stop into the Stevens SWCD office to discuss and look at the informational brochures/factsheets we have available.

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP): Your Stewardship Goals, Our Assistance! CSP is a USDA program that rewards the great conservation management that has been taking place within a producer’s operation and allows for furthering that great management through enhancements that are implemented during the contract. The list of enhancements to choose from is extensive and applies to cropland, hayland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial private forestland. Contracts are for five years and have a maximum value of $40,000 annually per individual operator. This is a tremendous opportunity for farmers and ranchers to gain a financial benefit for being a great steward of their land and improving their management strategies on their operation, not to mention the returns gained from being more efficient and sustainable.

Some of the activities to further improve management that are currently being done in Stevens County include GPS guidance for chemical applications, drift reducing nozzles, variable rate fertilizer technology, tissue testing on corn, continuous no-till, cover crops, buffer strips, control release nitrogen applications, split nitrogen applications, pasture monitoring, food plots for wildlife, pollinator habitat and the list goes on. In 2016, Stevens County was able to enroll new CSP contracts and re-enroll contracts that started in 2012 for another five years! We currently have over 46,200 acres enrolled in CSP, with over $1 million paid annually to farmers in Stevens County for practice completed in CSP. Stop by our office and see what CSP can do for you and your operation!

that could fix your problem. Producer must be signed up in EQIP and be in compliance with all USDA Farm Bill provisions in order to receive financial assistance. In 2016, over 2,600 acres had practices installed to treat resource concerns in Stevens County, working with more than 25 participants. Practices included cover crops, shelterbelt windbreaks and soil erosion control. If you have future plans, contact us soon so we can do good onsite evaluation of the site to address ideas for treating your resource concerns and generate a good plan so you are not rushing into a project. Funding preference is also given to complete plans. We accept sign-up applications on a continuous basis.

EQIP technical and financial assistance available for rotation grazing systems.

EQIP can provide assistance for landowners to add or improve on existing shelterbelts for wind protection.

Morris Area schools excel at Area 2 Envirothon The Area 2 Envirothon, an outdoor educational competition for students, was held April 20 at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center near Spicer. The area event is modeled after state and national competitions. Students in grades nine through 12 are eligible to participate in the senior event. The junior division is designed to introduce sixth through eighth graders to the program. The competition challenges students’ environmental knowledge and problem solving skills at learning stations based on key areas of the environment. Information is presented by natural resource professionals at five stations: wetlands, wildlife, forestry, soils and the 2016 current issue topic “Invasive Species: A Challenge to the Environment, Economy, and Society.” The students work collaboratively to answer test questions at each station. In addition, prior to the event, the senior teams prepare a 10 minute oral presentation about the current issue topic that they present at the competition. Morris Area High School had one high school team and one junior high school team competing in 2016. They both placed fourth overall and the senior team was second in the Oral Presentation on “Invasive Species: A Challenge to the Environment, Economy, and Society.” Stevens SWCD takes an active part in organizing and carrying out the Area 2 Envirothon each year. We know the importance of teaching youth about our ecology and natural resources and the Envirothon is a great opportunity to do this. We are happy to provide the chance for area students to take part and are very pleased that our students consistently do well in the competition. Thanks are in order to the Area 2 Envirothon committee members, session presenters, judges, participating schools

and sponsors for making the 2016 Area 2 event possible: Soil and Water Conservation Districts, County Environmental Services offices and local Watershed Districts within Area 2; the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service; US Fish and Wildlife Service; Ag Country Farm Credit Services; and Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center. Contact Stevens SWCD Education & Promotion Coordinator Judy Johnston at 320-589-4886 ext 114 for more information on organizing a team or sponsoring the local event.

Morris Area team placed fourth overall at Area 2 Envirothon, (L to R): Jenna DeRung, Eric Staebler, Lindsay Flogstad, Brittney Cardwell, and Philip Messner.

Morris Area students working on their Soils test at the Area 2 Envirothon near Spicer.

Morris Area junior high school team working on their Wetlands and Aquatics test at the Area 2 Envirothon at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center near Spicer.

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Construction Projects Run Smoothly in 2016

Construction underway.

Nice weather this fall made the construction season run smoothly. Gullies and washouts caused by concentrated overland water flow can create major headaches for farmers and landowners in Stevens County. Many of our projects in 2016 were solutions to large rainfalls in a short duration of time in 2015. These gullies and washouts are often un-crossable, degrade the condition of the soil, remove tons of valuable top soil, and remain unproductive areas in a field. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Morris has successfully installed many erosion control practices in recent years. These practices typically include grassed waterways, lined waterways or Water and Sediment Control Basins (WASCBs). Your main resource concern as well as the layout of the field will determine which practice will best fit. Several operators in the county have installed these practices and have succeeded in both increasing the productivity of a field and stopping erosion. A grassed waterway involves reshaping a gully channel and seeding it to grass to stabilize that channel. A lined waterway is similar to a grassed waterway, but includes a reinforcement matting that lines the waterway. Grass is seeded before installing the matting and grows through the matting. These are typically installed where there is a concern of high volume flows and where grass alone will not hold the soil in place. A WASCB system works by slowing down surface water by

creating small dikes and installing Hicken bottom style tile-inlets upstream of the dike to draw down retained water in less than 24 to 48 hours. WASCBs are usually two to six feet tall and can be installed to be farmable with 8:1 side slopes or with a grass slope. Stevens County has had excellent success in recent years working with landowners to treat their gully erosion concerns. In 2016, we installed over 32 WASCBs and a grassed waterway. 17 more WASCBs are contracted for completion in 2017 by operators and landowners of Stevens County with the assistance of the USDA EQIP program and other local programs. Numerous other new projects are being planned by our staff in Morris. If you have areas of noticeable erosion on your land please stop at our office and we would gladly discuss which erosion control practice might work best for you and your operation. We have very good maps now and topographic programs that make it easy to pick out erosion trouble spots as well as qualified staff that work with you to design and provide oversight on the project to make sure the practice is installed as designed. In 2016, local NRCS staff were trained to use a GNSS survey grade GPS. They can now take very accurate survey readings for these projects to more efficiently design and layout participant’s projects! Financial assistance is also available from NRCS and/or local government units. Stop by the office today and let our NRCS staff put together a plan to help control erosion on your farm!

Annual Conservation Poster Contest Winners Each year, the Stevens Soil & Water Conservation District sponsors a poster contest for fifth and sixth grade students in each of the Stevens County elementary schools. Staff from Stevens SWCD visit each class and present information on a current conservation topic. This year’s topic was “We All Need Trees.” Students from Morris, Han-

cock, and St. Mary’s elementary schools listened to presentations by Judy Johnston, Education Coordinator for Stevens SWCD and then submitted individual posters or group murals for our contest. Winners were chosen at each school. Stevens SWCD gave t-shirts to each county winner. Next year’s theme will be “Healthy Soils Are Full of Life.” The theme rotates each year between topics related to water, soil, trees and natural resources.

St. Mary’s Elementary poster winners in the Stevens SWCD poster contest. (L to R): Tabitha Van Horn, Madison Staples, Ava Boyle, and Meghan Goulet. Their teacher in the back is Mrs. Wieck.

Stevens Soil and Water Conservation District named local winners in their poster and mural contest. The theme for 2016 was “We All Need Trees.” Morris Area Elementary students include: six graders (back row L to R) Sam Kleinwolterink, Asher Malek, Molly LeTendre, Brie Dybdahl, Cortney Hickman, Julie Wyers, Jazlynn Hilbrands, and Tasha Koehl. Front row: Hannah Liljenquist, Ava Wayne, Allison Abler, Faith Butterfass, Kortney Sanasack, and Jayden Olson.

Congratulations to the 2016 “We All Need Trees” Poster Contest winners at Hancock Elementary. 5th and 6th grade winners include:(L to R) back, Serena Schaefer, Carlee Hanson, Jordan Hausmann, Rylee Hanson, middle Brandi Messner, front Jed Feuchtenberger and Clark Koehl.

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Dylan Schuster

We are your Crop & Ag Insurance Specialist

Hottovy Agency offers a variety of insurance products to meet the varied risk management needs of our clients.

Celebrating 25 Years! 624 Atlantic Ave., Morris, MN • 320-589-3305 Todd Hottovy, Owner Lic. #20018303 Dave Rohloff, Agent Lic. #40187223

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Automation & Motor Control Variable Frequency Drives Grain System & Dryers Irrigation Systems Underground Install & Repairs

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AGRICULTURAL COMMERCIAL • RESIDENTIAL

32754 470th Ave. Hancock, MN 56244

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Land Improvement Contractor


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MORRIS, MINNESOTA 56267

stevens soil and water conservation district

1000 Atlantic Avenue • 320-589-4744 Agronomy Center, 20944 State Hwy 9 • 320-589-4749

www.morriscoop.com

Our Qualified Team is Ready to Serve Your Farm! Stop by or call our Agronomy Department and visit with the guys for all your Agronomy needs...

Fertilizer, Chemical Seed & Seed Treatment Field Application

Darrel Bliss,

Travis Tonn,

Agronomy Manager

Visit with Gary or Andy for your Bulk Fuel needs…

Agronomy Secretary

Dylan Gahm, Applicator & Maintenance

Let Fred help you with all your LP needs! • Home • Farm • Business

Gary Thorstad

Andy Banta

All Automotive & Heavy Duty Oil Filters

15% Off

All Grease

Fred Crowell

Bob Kirwin, Applicator

Kent Chan, Applicator & Seed Sales

With our Mobile Farm Truck we can replace tires on the spot!

Need Tires? Stop in or give Pete a call!

15% Off all 10 Packs

Ask about the new Destination Farm radial implement tires with Advanced Deflection Design (AD²) technology designed specifically to deliver a new level of performance in the operation and transportation of heavy farm equipment.

Cenex Oil

DON’T MISS OUT ON FARM HARD REWARDS

15% Off

Get rewarded for purchasing your favorite Firestone Ag Tire. Purchase must be made before March 31, 2017. Visit with Pete or online at FirestoneAg.com or more details.

55 gallon barrels, Bulk Oil (minimum of 100 gallons)

Pete Kaiser

Auto Gold 5W-30 $29.13/Case (In Quarts) $48.50/Case (In 2.5 Gallons)

15% Off

Discount and Prices expire March 31, 2017

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• Ruby FieldMaster™ • Roadmaster XL™ • Diesel • Def • Methanol • Oil

Cheryl Groenwold,

Seed Sales & Treatment


Stevens SWCD 2016 Annual Report