STEVENS SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT 2017 Annual Review
A supplement to the February 17, 2018 Stevens County Times
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. STEVENS SWCD SERVICES · CRP conservation planning · Mowing & spot spraying for weed control · Native grass & buffer seeding
OFFICE HOURS Monday thru Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 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 USDA Agricultural Service Center 12 Highway 28 East – Suite 2 Morris, MN 56267 (320) – 589-4886 ext. 3
· Rain garden design & installations · Tree planting & fabric Installation
Visit us @ our website www.stevensswcd.org
2 Saturday, February 17, 2018
The Stevens County Times
2017 was a Big Year for CRP
2017 was a busy year for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Stevens County. There were almost 2,000 acres enrolled in Continuous CRP, including both expiring contracts and new sign-ups, which is up from 2016 by nearly 1,300 acres. CRP is a voluntary program that 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 for installing the practice. To be eligible for CRP, the 2014 Farm Bill states that 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. Cost-share 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.
2017 Stevens SWCD Board of Supervisors
Left to right: Vice Chairman Greg Fynboh, Chairman Dave Lonergan, Secretary Jim Krosch, Reporter Dennis Feuchtenberger, Treasurer Troy Goodnough.
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 work themselves. Stevens SWCD is one of the local vendors who can help with this, and many landowners choose to have us do the work for them. We have a full line of equipment and several experienced staff members to help you. Stevens SWCD planted over 300 trees and shrubs and about 180 acres of native grasses for CRP contracts in 2017. If you have any interest in CRP, we recommend that you let us know sooner than later as USDA is close to the acreage cap set by the 2014 Farm Bill. Feel free to stop in at our office or call 5894886 ext.3 to discuss with our NRCS/SWCD staff what you may be eligible for.
Stevens SWCD Staff
Stevens SWCD Staff, left to right: District Administrator Matt Solemsaas, Education & Promotion Coordinator Judy Johnston, Assistant Technician John Lembcke, Office Manager Chris Staebler, District Technician Adam Erickson, Program Technician Kasey Wiechmann.
Drones part of SWCD work
The past year has brought in more interest and additional applications for the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). Under the MAWQCP, the Stevens SWCD office has certified several producers and continues to work with other producers looking to be certified. The MAWQCP is a voluntary opportunity though the Minnesota Department of Agriculture that works with farmers and landowners to identify and mitigate risks to water quality on a field by field basis. Those who implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified and obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. MAWQCP has certified over 500 farms, including nearly 300,000 acres with 900 new BMPs statewide as of year-end. Producers can receive priority for technical and financial assistance to help implement practices promoting water quality. Annual MDA financial assistance is available for up to $5,000 in cost-share for MAWQCP participants to install new conservation practices and up to 75% cost-share for continuous improvement. Conservation practices initiated across Minnesota with MAWQCP include: 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.
MINNESOTA BUFFER LAW
With the first Minnesota Buffer Law deadline several months behind us we have made great progress in 2017 towards meeting compliance goals on DNR public waters. Compliance was achieved through confirmation of existing vegetation, voluntary buffer establishment, CRP, CREP, NRCS programs such as EQIP and CSP, and commitments documented on a signed Conditional Compliance Waiver. For those landowners that have made commitments through a waiver, the required buffer area would need to be installed by July 1, 2018 for DNR public waters. For buffers required on Public Ditches the installation deadline is still November 1, 2018. No waivers are available to extend this deadline and it is considered the final installation deadline for all land requiring a buffer under the Minnesota Buffer Law. For producers planning to plant corn in fields adjacent to county ditches requiring a buffer, you may want to consider establishing the buffer this spring to avoid delays and complications trying to meet the deadline in the fall. Compliance was tracked throughout 2017 using the county parcel database. This database is continually updated when changes are identified. Please make sure you let the SWCD know when you have established your buffer, so the information can be updated. Another important note to consider is that all parcels will be subject to a random compliance spot check to verify that the buffer areas are continually maintained. Landowners and operators are encouraged to talk about where the buffered areas need to be maintained as well as share any program specific requirements that will need to be followed. Please remember that Buffer Law compliance is up to the individual landowner. SWCD staff are available to flag the required buffer areas to give landowners a reference boundary for buffer establishment or to follow for spring planting. Please give our staff enough lead time to schedule our site visits as the spring season will be busy. If possible, the potential buffer areas could be worked early to allow us to get these areas flagged prior to peak planting. As always, Stevens SWCD is available to answer any questions that may come up regarding buffer implementation.
Stevens SWCD will be involved with the on-farm assessment process as each program applicant works toward this water quality certification. Please contact the Stevens County Soil and Water Conservation District at (320) 589-4886 for more information about the program and to enroll.
621 Pacific Ave Morris, MN 56267
The Stevens County Times
Stevens SWCD 2017 Annual Review
WCTSA Accomplishment Reports
Saturday, February 17, 2018 3
Outstanding Conservationist 2017 Congratulations to Jason Erickson of Chokio for being selected as Stevens County’s Outstanding Conservationist for 2017. Jason has been farming in Stevens and Synnes Townships since 1994. He returned home to farm with his dad Orville after earning a degree in Farm Operations and Ag Business from Willmar Technical College. His dad retired in 2016 but Jason continues to farm their cropland in a rotation of corn, soybeans and hay.
Our lakes, waterways and wetlands are an important part of who we are and innovative steps are being taken every day to try to preserve their quality. Unique alliances are being formed WCTSA Accomplishment Reports knowing the future of these natural resources are important to everyone. Our lakes, waterways and wetlands are an important part of who we are and innovative steps are
being taken every day to try to preserve their quality. Unique alliances are being formed knowing
One such partnership hasof been the future these natural resources are important to everyone. Jason also has a cow/calf created betweenReports 12 Minnesota complishment operation and rents out hog Conservation s Soil and WaterOne barns he no longer uses. His partnership has been created between 12 Minnesota Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs). such In 2009, waterways and wetlands are an important of who we are and innovative cattle are primarily Angus and Stearns, Todd, Douglas, Stevens, Districts (SWCDs). In 2009, part Stearns, Todd, Douglas, Stevens, steps Pope,are Morrison, Benton, Swift, Simmental which he runs on avoid thisgoing forward, with the every day to try to preserve their quality. Unique alliances are being formed knowing ds are an important part of who we are and innovative steps are Pope, Morrison, Benton, Swift, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Big Stone and Meeker SWCDs formed the West Central Technical Service a rotational grazing and cover support ofare Board of Soilformed & Water knowing these natural resources are important to everyone. Chippewa, Big Stone eserve theirKandiyohi, quality. Unique alliances being Area (WCTSA) The WCTSA provides engineering assistance to private landowners, via SWCDs. crops setup. He has fenced the Resources (BWSR) and Clean Meeker SWCDsto formed the cesand are important everyone. The WCTSA employs one Licensed Engineer and three technicians that survey, design and oversee cropland adjacent to his pasture Water Funds, the organization West Central Technical Service between 12 Minnesota Soil and Water Conservation artnership has been created construction of water quality practices within the 12 SWCD area. to allow his cattle to graze crop of the WCTSA has tried to meet Area (WCTSA). The WCTSA of a variety WCDs). In 2009, Stearns, Todd, Douglas, Stevens, Pope, Morrison, Benton, Swift, reated between 12 Minnesota Soil and Water Conservation residue and cover crops with the the need and address the area’s provides engineering assistance resource concerns in a timely Kandiyohi, Big Stone and Meeker SWCDs formed the West Central Technical Service arns, Todd,landowners, Douglas, Stevens, Pope, Morrison, Benton, Swift, to private via This partnership was started because of the need for additional engineering staff to assist motivated intent to improve soil quality. He believes this diversity is a key to manner. SA) The WCTSA provides engineering assistance to private landowners, via SWCDs. and Meeker formed the West Central Technical Service SWCDs. The SWCDs WCTSA employs
landowners. “Simply, there was just more work than each individual SWCD staff could handle. The A employs one Licensed Engineer and three technicians that survey, design and oneengineering Licensed Engineer and vides assistance to private landowners, via SWCDs. wait time tothree receive engineering assistance was unreasonable”, saidoversee Ross Reiffenberger, WCTSA Landowners working with survey, design ned oftechnicians a varietythat of water quality practices within the 12 SWCD area. Engineer and three technicians that survey, design and oversee Engineer. Due to this delay for assistance, some landowners decided NOT to proceed with projects. their local SWCD have access and oversee construction ofthe a 12 SWCD area. quality practices withinthisgoing to the WCTSA for engineering To avoid forward, with the support of Board of Soil & Water Resources (BWSR) and Clean variety of water quality practices ship was because the need on fora additional engineering stafftotomeet assist motivated assistance variety of projects Funds, of the organization of the WCTSA has tried the need and address the area’s within thestarted 12 Water SWCD area. state and federal pro- SWCD . “Simply, was just morefor work each individual staff could handle. The ause of thethere need for additional engineering staff to assist motivated resource concerns invarious a than timely manner. Stevens County Pheasants grams, such as: State Clean Water receive engineering assistance was unreasonable”, said Ross Reiffenberger, WCTSA This partnership was started ust more work than each individual SWCD staff could handle. The Forever, with the help of the Fund Projects (CWF) and the because the need forassistance, addiDue to thisof delay for some landowners decided NOT to proceed projects. assistance was unreasonable”, said Ross Reiffenberger, WCTSA Landowners working with their localQuality SWCD have access to thewith WCTSA for engineering assistance Stevens SWCD, hosted a Youth USDA Environmental tional forward, engineering staff to assist sgoing with the support of Board oftoSoil & Water Resources (BWSR) andas: Clean ssistance, some landowners decided NOT proceed withfederal projects. Pollinator Planting near the on a variety of projects for various state and programs, such State Clean Water Fund Incentives Program (EQIP). motivated landowners. “Simply, s, the organization of the WCTSA has tried to meet the need and address the area’s he support ofProjects Board of(CWF) Soil &and Water Resources (BWSR) and CleanIncentives Program (EQIP). Pomme de Terre Park on May 31, the USDA Environmental Quality there was just more work than ncerns in a timely manner. 2017. Over 100 students from the WCTSA has tried to meet the need and address the area’s “It’s partnerships like this that each individual SWCD staff the MAES fourth and fifth grade give Soil and Water Conservanner. could handle.“It’s The partnerships wait time to like Districts this that give Soil and Water Conservation Districts the ability to reach more classes, as well as high school tion the ability to reach receive engineering s working withpeople theirassistance local have access topriority the WCTSA for engineering assistance and SWCD implement more high conservation in targeted areas," said Dennis Fuchs, students from the Woods, Water more people and implement was unreasonable”, said Ross of projects for various state and federalfor programs, suchassistance as: State Clean Water Fund cal SWCD have access to the WCTSA engineering Stearns SWCD Administrator. more high priority conservation Reiffenberger, WCTSA Engineer. suchQuality WF) andand thefederal USDA Environmental Incentives Program s state programs, as: areas, State Clean Water Fund(EQIP). in targeted ” said Dennis Due to this delay for assistance, nvironmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Fuchs, Stearns SWCD Adminsome landowners decided NOT ACCOMPLISHMENTS 2017 WCTSA ships like this give To Soil andistrator. Water Conservation Districts the ability to reach more to proceed withthat projects. implement more high priority conservation targeted areas," said Dennis Fuchs, e Soil and Water Conservation Districts theinability to reach more Projects #s by type in 2017 CD Administrator. priority conservation targeted areas," WorkinCompleted in 2017said Dennis Fuchs, Erosion Control 170 Site Evaluations 231 Stevens SWCD installed eight storm Feedlots 86 water runoff, and proSA ACCOMPLISHMENTS Designs 146 rain gardens in the summer viding Wetland 14 habitat for pollinators at NTS of 2017. The weather made it a low Construction Assistance 58 Other Water Quality 21 cost. challenging summer to get Projects #s by type ina2017 ompleted in 2017Projects #s by type these gardens In 2017, Stevens SWCD was Erosion Control 170 installed. With in 2017 the rain in August, it was hard awarded grant funding that ons 231 Feedlots Reductions 86 Erosion Control 170 Pollution to getAmount enough drying days in a allows us to cost share up to 146 Wetland 86 14 Lbs/Yr Feedlots Phosphorus 8,700 row to complete some of these 75 percent of the total cost of Assistance Wetland 58 Other Water Quality 14 Nitrogen 1,133 sites. 21 Tons/Yr installing a rain garden. Other Water Quality Sediment 21 9,646 Tons/Yr Some sitesTons/Yr would almost be Please contact Matt or John at Total Suspended Solids 9,195 Pollution Reductions Amount ready to be constructed and it Stevens SWCD, (320)-589-4886 would rain again. We were able ext 3, if you have any questions 8,700 Lbs/Yr uctions Phosphorus Amount to get all the sites planted, but it or are interested in putting a Nitrogen 1,133 Tons/Yr 8,700 Lbs/Yr got to be later in the year than rain garden on your property. Sediment 9,646 Tons/Yr 1,133 Tons/Yr we would have liked. A rain Total9,646 Suspended Solids 9,195 Tons/Yr Tons/Yr garden is a great way to beaued Solids 9,195 Tons/Yr tify your property, controlling This rain garden was planted in 2017
the success of his operation. Jason has implemented numerous conservation practices on his farm through NRCS programs such as EQIP, CRP, and CSP. Jason’s farm includes shelterbelts and wildlife tree plantings, water & sediment control basins, and integrated pest management, in addition to the use of the rotational grazing fence setup, cattle watering system, and cover crops. Stevens SWCD appreciates how Jason is always looking for ways to improve his operation while keeping conservation a top priority. Jason was honored at the 2017 Minnesota Association of Conservation Districts annual convention in Bloomington in December, at the state MASWCD Convention.
Youth Pollinator Planting and Wildlife class helped plant over 1000 native plugs and hand seed over 50 species of native grasses and wildflowers. The students learned how to plant and maintain a pollinator plot and learned the important role pollinators play in their daily lives.
CONSERVATION RESERVE ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM The current CREP signup opened in the spring of 2017 with active enrollment throughout the year. Perpetual CREP easements are a great opportunity to permanently protect environmentally sensitive land and take advantage of the competitive easement payment rates. Using CREP to retire less productive land may give you the opportunity to improve other land you have or to purchase more productive land. A CREP wetland restoration could also be an option to relieve pressure on an overloaded drainage system. The focus for this signup is buffer strips, wetland restorations, and drinking water wellhead protection areas. There are some waivers and exceptions available to the 8-acre minimum so talk to us if you have a smaller area that may benefit from a CREP easement. Stop in to visit with the Stevens SWCD staff to see if CREP may work for you. Additional information and updates on CREP can be found at www.bwsr.state.mn.us/crep.
12 Hwy 28 E Ste 2 Morris MN 56267
2018 Order Form
(320) 589-4886 ext. 3 www.stevensswcd.org
Prices subject to change. Order by March 15 to ensure availability.
Tree Species Unit Cost
American Cranberry American Hazelnut Buffaloberry Chokeberry Common Lilac Cotoneaster Nanking Cherry Redosier Dogwood Silky Dogwood Villosa Lilac
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
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
Small Trees American Plum Chokecherry Juneberry Midwest Crab Nannyberry Red Splendor Crab
Black Hills Spruce Colorado Blue Spruce Techny Arborvitae Ponderosa Pine
1 gallon 1 gallon 1 gallon 1 gallon
Large Trees 1.50 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
Other species and sizes may be available upon request. Bare root trees should be ordered in multiples of 25 trees per variety.
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10.00 10.00 10.00 10.00
Bare Root Evergreens Black Hills Spruce Colorado Blue Spruce Ponderosa Pine Techny Arborvitae
4 foot tree tube
American Linden Bur Oak Cottonwood Male Golden Willow Hackberry Hybrid Poplar cutting Hybrid Willow cuttings Laurel Willow Paper Birch Silver Maple
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Tree stake (min. 4') 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
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3.00 3.25 1.25 2.00 185.00 0.50 0.10 21.95 54.95
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! SUB TOTAL $ Sales Tax 6.875% if applicable
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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).
Stevens SWCD 2017 Annual Review
4 Saturday, February 17, 2018
WCTSA Provides Technical Assistance to Landowners
After a Stevens County landowner noticed three years of continuous gully erosion on his land, he contacted Stevens SWCD for cost share and technical assistance with fixing the erosion problem in his crop field.
With assistance from the West Central Technical Service Area (WCTSA), we were able to do a site investigation and a GPS topo survey in the spring of 2017. After analyzing the site and identifying the resource concern, it
was determined the best practice for eliminating his gully erosion was to install a series of water and sediment control basins with underground tile outlets. A water and sediment control basin system is an earthen embankment constructed across a minor watercourse to form a sediment trap and provide water detention. The water is drawn down in a timely manner, through an above ground intake and underground tile, to prevent crop loss. The tile outlet is typically a ditch, meadow, or wetland. The gully erosion on this producer’s field was located in multiple locations and was estimated at 1-3 deep and approximately 800-1,000 feet long. WCTSA was able to design a water and sediment control basin system that consisted of three farmable basins and one grassed basin and included roughly 2,200 linear feet of tile. Stevens SWCD was able to secure Chippewa River Watershed Project funds to help the landowner financially with completion of the project. The plan was finalized by mid-summer and construction started in late fall 2017. The tile and intakes were installed, but since the earthen basins need to be constructed when temperatures are above freezing, they were put on hold until spring of 2018.
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The Stevens County Times
SWCD Districts in Stevens County
District 1 — Dave Lonergan, 320-589-4559 District 2 — Greg Fynboh, 320-589-7155 District 3 — (SEAT IS OPEN FOR 2018) District 4 — Dennis Feuchtenberger, 320-808-8498 District 5 — Troy Goodnough, 814-322-6531
Stevens SWCD District 2, and 3 seats are up for election in November 2018. For more information on filing for the District Board contact the Stevens SWCD office at 320589-4886 ext 3.
Stevens SWCD holds Family Fun Night, focus on Aquatic Invasive Species In August, Stevens SWCD held its first Family Fun Night at the Pomme de Terre Park. The event highlighted aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention. Families who joined us enjoyed an evening of games, food, and some great information on AIS. One of the activities included searching a boat to learn all the common places AIS can hide and to show kids how they can help clean a boat and protect our waters too. Aquatic invasive species are species that are not native to Minnesota and cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. As written in the current Stevens County AIS Prevention Plan, two aquatic invasive species have previously been recorded in Stevens County; these include Curly-leaf pondweed and Purple loosestrife. During your next visit to a lake or river, remember to CLEAN,
Stevens SWCD Staff and a few prize winners at the AIS Family Fun Night
DRAIN, and DISPOSE – it’s the law. About 5 percent of Minnesota’s lakes are on the infested waters list. Zebra mussels have been confirmed in over 120 lakes, rivers, and wetlands and about 130 water bodies are listed as
Species Spotlight Curly-leaf pondweed Ecological Threat: Curly-leaf pondweed tolerates fresh or slightly brackish water and can grow in shallow, deep, still or flowing water. Plants can grow in clear or turbid water but are mostly shade intolerant.
Curly-leaf pondweed has been identified in over 800 lakes in Minnesota and has been in the state since 1910. In many lakes, curly-leaf pondweed is present, but is not an issue. Some years, depending on the severity of the
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infested because they are closely connected to a waterway where zebra mussels have been found. For additional information on Aquatic Invasive Species please stop into our office or visit the Minnesota DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ais.
winters, its coverage expands or diminishes. In winters with very little snow on the ice it gets plenty of sunlight and can grow rapidly giving it a head start on the other native plants, which it can overwhelm. Sample section of Curly-leaf pondweed. Source: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut
Stevens SWCD 2017 Annual Review
The Stevens County Times
Saturday, February 17, 2018 5
Pomme de Terre River Association: Connecting Water Users
Shelterbelt restoration planted in spring 2014
PDTRA held Paddle Day Down the River in July.
“How do you interact with or use water?”
Progression showing the same shelterbelt restoration in July 2017
Stevens SWCD had a busy spring in 2017. With site conditions and short timelines to get trees planted, Stevens SWCD planted 4,358 trees and installed roughly 29,000 feet of weed barrier fabric on 20 sites from May 1 through the middle of June. We sold an additional 4,380 trees to landowners who planted them themselves. So in 2017, the SWCD helped get over 8,700 new trees planted in our community. Once these trees and fabric are installed, there’s still work to do. We ask the landowner to take pride in their investment and water periodically over the summer and remove weeds that are competing with the trees for moisture. If these steps are taken, it increases the chance for success of the trees. Before we even plant the trees, site prep is
probably one of the more critical parts of the planting. Stevens SWCD is there to help you with tree selection based on soil types. Many times, we like to plant more than one variety in the same row in case a disease overtakes one variety. Some will die off, but you are not starting completely over. As of now we have no confirmed cases of Emerald Ash Borer in Stevens County, but there is a large amount of ash trees planted throughout the county. It would be devastating to have to remove all these trees. If years ago even two varieties were planted in the same row, we would not be doing a total clear cut of these trees like some areas of the state are doing at this time. Planning is a huge part of success for the present and future planting of trees.
Place an order today! An order form can be found in this publication. Stevens SWCD is currently taking tree orders for 2018. 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 through cost-share for your project. For more information, contact John at (320)-5894886 ext 3.
This question was posed by the Pomme de Terre River Association (PDTRA) posed to wide range of community members throughout 2017, and the list of answers was anything but short. Fishing, irrigation, property value, drinking, gardening, boating, livestock, production of ethanol, duck hunting, brewing, cooking, tree growth for windbreaks, swimming; the list goes on and on. This question gets us to think about how intertwined water is to our livelihoods and day-today existence, and how easy it can be to lose our connection to it. PDTRA strives to bring awareness back to that connection to improve and protect the water resources that we rely on for enjoyment, livelihood, and survival.
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PDTRA is a Joint Powers Board made of the six counties and Soil and Water Conservation Districts with land in part of the Pomme de Terre Watershed (Swift, Big Stone, Stevens, Grant, Douglas, and Otter Tail counties). PDTRA works to provide cost share to landowners looking to implement voluntary practices that reduce erosion and runoff.
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PDTRA also reconnected landowners to their water resource by providing over $100,000 in cost-share for conservation practices including rain gardens, sediment control basins, streambank protection, and a damaged dam removal project that will be completed in 2018. These practices help reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering our waterways which, gone unchecked, can cause increased algae blooms, reduced habitat for fish and wildlife, and can pose potential threats to public health and safety.
How can you connect? Stay tuned to www.pdtriver.org or our Facebook: @PdTRiver to get information on upcoming opportunities such as our summer kayak trips, attending upcoming Water Conversations meetings to discuss local water issues and future goals, and to stay updated on what water quality means for the Pomme de Terre.
In 2017, PDTRA connected community members through awareness and appreciation by holding kayak trips down the Pomme de Terre River, providing hands-on education
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to fifth and sixth graders, and by hosting opportunities for members of state and local government staff and community members to network and share local knowledge about the health and future of our water resources.
6 Saturday, February 17, 2018
Stevens SWCD 2017 Annual Review
The Stevens County Times
Conservation Day at SWELL
Over 300 fifth grade students and teachers enjoyed a fun day in the outdoors on September 28, 2017. 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 eleventh 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. The program was coordinated by Judy Johnston of Stevens SWCD. Our presenters and volunteers that day were staff from Stevens and Pope SWCDs, 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. Special thanks to our many sponsors in Stevens and Pope counties who have been making special days like this possible for many years. In addition, special thanks to the SWCD staff of Stevens and Pope counties and to our session presenters and volunteers, as well as SWELL landowners Linda and Karl Retzlaff, for making this an outstanding event for our fifth grade students!
EQIP Construction Projects Successful in 2017
Construction 2017 turned out to be another successful season, despite all the rain we got. In Stevens County this year, we completed nine water and sediment control basin projects, one terrace project, and one grassed waterway. These projects are part of the USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and will
help reduce gully erosion in the farmer’s fields.
ly matter, which makes things much easier!
Stevens County NRCS also completed one pipeline project that will provide water to new grazing systems. Many thanks to all the contractors that did work on these projects in 2017. They did a great job getting these projects done well and in a time-
If you have any future conservation projects that you’d like technical and financial help with, please contact the Stevens County NRCS office and we can help get these projects designed for future construction.
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.
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Walk-In Access Stevens SWCD has administered the Walk-in Access (WIA) Program since 2012 in Stevens County. In 2017, Stevens County had 12 sites totaling 1,085 acres under contract. There are more than 26,000 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
located near a state Wildlife Management Area or federal Waterfowl Production Area.
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 September 1 to May 31. Bonuses are paid on parcels that enroll in a multi-year contract, are more than 140 acres in size, and are
If you are interested in enrolling a piece of land and want more information, feel free to contact the staff at Stevens SWCD or go to http://www.dnr. state.mn.us/walkin/enroll.html and click on Walk-In Program Fact Sheet. WIA is a way landowners can generate revenue by allowing public hunting on their private land. The enrollment period runs Jan. 22 to April 27. If you have any questions, please contact John at the Stevens SWCD office at 320-589-4886 ext 3.
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These local businesses salute the Stevens Soil and Water Conservation District for providing excellence in conservation.
Second graders from Stevens County experience and explore animal adaptations and the ways animals interact with both the living and non-living components of their Eastern Deciduous Forest habitat. Students got to meet five different live animals including a red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, salamander, snake, and “Spike” the porcupine. The program was delivered by the Audubon Center of the North Woods.
The Stevens County Times
Stevens SWCD 2017 Annual Review
WEED CONTROL In 2017, Stevens SWCD mowed 673 acres for weed control and regeneration of native grasses. These clippings consisted of CRPs that had mid-contract maintenance due and clipping of new CRPs to generate growth of new native grass plantings. Clipping new stands ensures they are getting adequate sunlight so that they can establish well. Clipping can be a way to establish grasses without using chemical control that will kill the flowers that are trying to be established within the plantings. Because we have seen a decrease in pollinators in the past couple years we encourage more clipping than chemical application for weeds whenever possible. Flowers in these native grass planting provide a great food source for pollinators. Sometimes there is no other option than to chemically treat a piece of land, and we saw that all to well this year when Palmer Amaranth was introduced to the state. This is a very noxious weed that is very hard to control even with chemical application. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture and many other chemical companies are working diligently to try to figure out a way to control this noxious weed. Stevens SWCD is equipped for spot treating of small areas to control weeds such as Canada Thistle and other common noxious weeds. We can spot treat up to 10 acres, and more if we have access to water.
5th- and 6th-grade poster winners
Mowing or clipping a CRP for weed control
Morris, Minnesota 56267
MORRIS Sstudents UN TRIBUNE - FARMSWCD “Healthy Soils Are Full of Life” poster contest. Back row (l to Hancock fifth-grade win Stevens r): Hudson VerSteeg, Noah Luthi, Eva Schaefer, Mrs. Nelson. Front row (l to r): Kendra Koehl and Mallory Joos
Saturday, March 9, 2013 - Page 7C
Feeding dairy steers on pasture, grain or no grain? Brad Heins and Elizabeth Bjorklund Stevens SWCD spraying equipment West Central Reasearch and Outreach Center, University of Minnesota, Morris
ventional steers were fed a diet of 80 percent concentrate and 20 percent roughage and received Component E-S implants. The organic steers were fed avery diet little of organic corn, Some of these sites are going and still has impact With the extreme organic corn silage, and at to need clipping and spraying on the desired forbs or flowers drought conditions in the least 30 percent of their used in combination to control your planting. Upper Midwest in during diet consisted of organic 2012, manyyou dairy producduring these weeds. For instance, Pleasepasture contact Mattthe orgrazing John continue to be worried season. The grass-only might need to clipers the weeds at Stevens SWCD, (320)-589about high grain and hay steers grazed pasture durbefore they go to prices. seed and then produc4886 ext ing 3, ifthe you have season any and Therefore, grazing are spray reducing the were come back in the ers fall and questions or are inhay fed interested high quality amount of grain to cat- out or hay silage the them when they are taking in fedfinding about weedduring control tle to reduce feed costs and non-grazing season. The nutrients for the winter. options your conservation maintainThis profitability. At on conventional steers were method has proven acres. sent to slaughter July 24, theeffective West Central Research and Outreach Center’s 2012 to the Tyson Fresh organic dairy, we have Meats plant in Dakota City, recently completed a study Neb. and the organic and where we evaluated the grass-only steers were sent effects of growth, meat to Lorentz Meats, Cannon quality and profitability of Falls, Minn. on Sept. 19, conventionally raised 2012 and Nov. 13, 2012, dairy steers compared to respectively. Strip loins organically raised dairy were collected for a consteers. This project was sumer taste panel, which Stevens SWCD has partnered with RMB Environmental funded by a North Central allowed 100 beef conSARE graduateway student Laboratories to provide a convenient and reliable to testsumers your to rate the beef for grant. overall liking and flavor. water. Pick up a water testing kit todayThere to ensure your water is is an increase in Profit was defined to organic safe from bacteria, nitrates, arsenic, global lead, demand fluorideforand secondary include revenues and products, especially grass- expenses for beef value, contaminants. Kits are available at the Stevens SWCD office. Comfed and finished. Bull feed cost, pasture cost, calves may represent a plete instructions for taking samples are in the kit. health cost and yardage. potential additional source The table has results for Simply return the kit to the Stevens SWCD office before 1 p.m. of revenue for organic conventional dairy steers dairy compared to organic and Monday through Thursday and RMB will pick it producers. up for testing. Currently, with the high grass-only dairy steers. Several kits are available and averageprice costoffor testing is between organic grains in The grass-only dairy steers the1-888-200-5770. United States, the male had greater days to slaugh$12 and $27. You can contact RMB at offspring of organic ter, lower slaughter Holstein and crossbred weights, and had lower dairy cattle represent a average daily gains than potential resource for pas- conventional steers. ture-raised beef in the Average daily gains from Midwest. birth (lb/day) were 2.52 The research study used (conventional), 1.79 (organbull calves born from ic), and 1.35 (grass-only). March to May 2011 from As expected, steers fed the WCROC dairy, and they higher amounts of grain were subsequently evalu- and concentrate had carated for growth, meat qual- casses with greater fat ity, consumer acceptabili- thickness, larger rib-eye ty, and profitability over area, and higher yield the next 14 to 20 months. grades than steers fed The bull calves were higher amounts of pasassigned to one of three ture. groups at birth: convenThe fat from the grasstional, organic (pasture only steers was higher in plus concentrate), and Omega-3 fatty acid and organic-grass only (100 lower in monounsaturated percent pasture). The con- and saturated fat, which
Discover What’s in Your Water
The Wonder of Wolves
Congratulations to Hancock School’s sixth-grade poster winners (l to r): Gabi Joos, Cody Moon, Clark Koehl and Remington Schaefer
Morris Area students place third at Area 2 poster/mural contest in 2017
may indicate potential it per steer ($593 vs. $442) health benefits of grass- compared to conventional fed beef. Consumers who steers because of lower rated the beef found no sig- feed costs, mainly pasture. nificant difference for Therefore, a low grain overall liking for the con- ration may reduce feed ventional and organic beef. Congratulations, Lexicosts without sacrificing The organic beef had sig- profit in an organic dairy Shank and Ally Leitch for nificantly higher flavor lik- system, assuming the ing than the conventional grass-fed steers can be placing third at the 12-county beef. However, consumers marketed at a premium Area 2 poster/mural competirated the grass-only beef price based on the producthe lowest in overall liking tion system. tion on their mural, “Healthy and flavor. The conventional steers Soils are full of Life. ” Judy For profitability, grain had some advantage over costs were Stevens substantially Johnston, SWCDthe ed-grass-only steers, and higher for the organic the conventional dairy ucation coordinator, presents steers, and therefore, steers grew much faster resulted in a net loss perand and the award certificates a required less time to steer (-$644/steer). The slaughter. However, grasscash award for both Lexi and higher cost of production only steers required fewer for the organic resources Ally. Each year,steers Judy is visits the than conventiondue to the extremely high al steers. Organic dairy fifthvalue and of sixth-grade organic cornclasses producers trying to seek ($15.90/bushel, January relief from high grain with a presentation. Topics 2013). The grass-only prices, with a little “extra” include the following: healthy steers had the highest prof- pasture may be able to
The day started with an assembly of Morris, Hancock and
ing with furs, skulls, tracks and other animal artifacts. Students participated in wolf communication activities as well.
The students learned about wolf characteristics, adaptations and behavior. In the classroom breakout sessions, students also participated in hands-on learn-
The program was made possible through education funding provided by the Stevens County Comprehensive Local Water Fund.
For more information, contact Brad Heins, Assistant Professor, Organic Dairy Management, 320-589-1711 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Fourth grade students from St. Mary’s learn about furs, wolves and other animal artifacts during the Prairie Ecology Bus Center presentation “Wonder of Wolves.”
St. Mary’s students in the Morris Area School Media Center, followed by breakout sessions for each class.
make a profit from feeding organic dairy steers versus selling them to conventional markets. The most important point for reducing inputs and increasing profits in organic dairy systems is to produce high quality forages and maximize dry matter intake on pasture.
soils, water quality, and we all need trees.
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The Wonder of Wolves was a new program coordinated by Stevens SWCD this year for Stevens County students. It was presented in March to fourth-graders at Morris Area Elementary by the Prairie Ecology Bus Center.
Saturday, February 17, 2018 7
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8 Saturday, February 17, 2018
Solemsaas serves as County Agricultural Inspector The duties of the County Agricultural Inspector (CAI) are to inspect all land in the county for the presence of prohibited noxious weeds. This is done with assistance from local weed inspectors (township and city officials or their appointees). If you would like to report noxious weeds, the first step is to contact your local township officer or city official to begin the investigation process.
The Stevens County Times
5TH AND 6TH GRADE POSTER WINNERS 2017 Each year, the Stevens Soil & Water Conservation District sponsors a poster contest for fifth and sixth grade students. Judy Johnston from Stevens SWCD visits each class and presents information on a current conservation topic. The 2017 topic was “Healthy Soils are Full of Life.” The winners of the poster contest receive a t-shirt and the top six posters or murals advance to Area 2 competition.
Another duty of the CAI is to help enforce the seed law. A sufficient amount of seed is collected and tested each year to ensure the protection of the citizens and businesses in the county through truthfully labeled seed and for fair competition. The CAI also administers the pesticide applicators test for commercial applicators. Study materials can be obtained from the University of Minnesota Extension Service in the Stevens County Courthouse. Pesticide applicators licenses are issued by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). Any questions regarding certification can be directed to Matt Solemsaas at (320) 589-4886 ext 112. When you are ready to schedule the exam: 1. Contact Matt Solemsaas for appointment Fill out application and pay licensing fee either online at the Dept of Ag website or in person the day of testing. 2. What to bring on test day: Payment or proof of payment if application made ahead of time Number 2 pencils Valid photo ID and calculator If you have any questions about noxious weeds in Stevens County, stop by Stevens SWCD or call Matt at (320)589-4886 ext 112.
Steve Linow joins Stevens SWCD as an Engineering Tech
Steve Linow is a Civil Engineering Technician that provides engineering services to 12 Soil and Water Conservation Districts in central Minnesota. He started his duties in May 2017 after 11 years of serving as a Civil Engineering Technician for USDA NRCS in Elbow Lake, MN. Prior to NRCS he has worked for Ducks Unlimited. With over 16 years of experience, he works with private landowners getting conservation on the ground. Steve’s main workload has been reducing soil erosion in cropland. He has experience in lakeshore/streambank erosion, ag waste facilities, and water retention. Steve is also interested in gaining experience with utilizing conservation within urban areas. Steve is from Alexandria, MN and currently resides near there. When he is not glued to a computer or survey rod he enjoys being outdoors and spending time with family and friends.
Stephanie Adams starts as Watershed Project Coordinator
In January of 2017, Stephanie Adams joined the Pomme de Terre River Association as the Watershed Project Coordinator. Stephanie aids in the coordination of water conservation efforts within the six counties of the Pomme de Terre Watershed (Otter Tail, Grant, Douglas, Stevens, Swift, and Big Stone). Most recently, the focus of the Watershed Project has been planning for One Watershed, One Plan and completing a cycle of intensive watershed monitoring.
New Seasonal Tech at Stevens SWCD
Bailey Zeiher started as Seasonal Technician at Stevens SWCD in October 2017. She has conducted field work associated with the establishment of perennial vegetation buffers along lakes, rivers, and streams. Her duties also include administrative tasks related to conservation easements. She received a master’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Manitoba. She has conducted research investigating agricultural contaminants in freshwater ecosystems; as well as worked on sea turtle conservation projects in Australia and Florida. Bailey moved to Morris from Winnipeg, Canada in November 2016. She enjoys outdoor activities, including volunteering for US Fish and Wildlife, and hiking and fishing with her husband Jeff and daughter Scarlett.
TOP: Congratulations to St. Mary’s 5th and 6th grade students for winning the “Healthy Soils are Full of Life” poster contest. Back row (l to r): Ms. Hanson, Meghan Goulet, Ava Boyle, Madi Staples, and Mrs. Weick. Front row (l to r): Sage Barnstuble, Maggie Beaver, Trey Holm, and Rylan Larson. RIGHT: Morris Area 5th and 6th grade winners of “Healthy Soils are Full of Life” poster contest sponsored by Stevens Soil and Water Conservation District. Back row (l to r): Ava Wayne, Josie Jacobson, Maddy Grove, Kortney Sanasack, Cassandra Villela, Kaleb Heins. Middle row (l to r): Shelby Dybdal & Rainy Eineichner, Lexi Shank & Ally Leitch, Chris Halvorson, Pierce Richards, Jaslyn Olson. Front row (l to r): Grace Dolence and Kelly Berlinger.
Water Fest in its 12th year On September 15, 2017, over 300 sixth grade students and teachers from Pope and Stevens counties attended the 12th 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 was held at the Pope County 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 journey and the lake game. The presenters were from various agencies including the Science Museum of Minnesota, Pope & Stevens Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Middle Fork Watershed, MPCA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, North Fork Crow River Watershed District, and the Glenwood DNR office. Morris Area students have fun with minnow racing at Water Fest as part of the Fishing Game session where they learn about the food chain and fish survival.
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Stevens SWCD 2017 Annual Review
The Stevens County Times
WATER CONSERVATION ACT What is the State law? 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. 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 you’re in compliance with others.
cation to the local government. Involving the WCA Administrator from the beginning is the easiest and best way to avoid problems. Request a field visit by the
What should you do before you start a project? 1. Complete your “AD1026” form for your local USDA office. 2. Bring a copy to the WCA Administrator and explain what you plan to do. 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 appli-
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.
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.
Communication is the key! Compliance with USDA (Swamp buster) 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.
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 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.
Saturday, February 17, 2018 9
Stevens County Landowners Continue to Manage WRP Easements Many of the 60-plus Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) formerly known as Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) permanent easements in Stevens County have been established for a decade or more now. With no new enrollments locally, our main focus has been encouraging landowners to manage their existing easements. All require periodic grassland management to continue to provide long-term conservation benefits. Some of the benefits of managing these easements include: prevents the area from turning into brushland, keeps grassed-based conservation practices working properly, keeps unwanted species from getting established and becoming a nuisance, and maintains the soil erosion, water quality, soil quality and carbon sequestration benefits.
NRCS active partner in conservation NRCS’s natural resources conservation programs help people reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages caused by floods and other natural disasters. The main financial and technical assistance programs available to help agricultural producers and landowners are the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). CSP is a 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, hay land, 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
WRP Managed Grazing
Water tank and pads installed in 2017 to facilitate rotation grazing
to mention the returns gained from being more efficient and sustainable.
ture monitoring, food plots for wildlife, pollinator habitat and the list goes on.
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, pas-
In 2017, Stevens County was able to enroll new CSP contracts and re-enroll contracts that started in 2013 for another five years! We currently have over 63,200 acres enrolled in CSP, with over $1.2 million paid annually to farmers in Stevens County for practices completed in CSP. Some common practices in Stevens County are cover crops, grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, terraces, converting irrigation systems to low pressure systems, nutrient
Located at former Duncan Trailer location
Trees and other woody species are always an ongoing battle on prairie easements. In past years we have tried controlling woody species and trees by burning and/or physically removing the larger trees with large equipment. In 2017, we had a landowner try using a mounted brush mover called a Fecon mower on a tracked skid steer and that took the trees up to six inches in diameter right down to the ground. They followed up with a herbicide application to catch any sprouted growth. It seemed to work very well, was very reasonably priced compared to methods used in the past, and did not impact the easement like using large equipment would. By fall, you couldn’t even tell where they were. Time will tell how fast trees and woody species would re-grow or encroach again. 001687348r1
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Another option used to manage easements is prescribed burning. Each year we have a few easements that have prescribed burns conducted. The majority of these burns are completed by a licensed and trained burn vendor.
LEFT: Cover Crop flown into standing corn at the end of August 2017.
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Landowners interested in WRE or that have existing WRP lands and would like more information on managing their easements are encouraged to come to our office and discuss them with NRCS staff.
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Grazing has shown to be very beneficial to improving the vegetation on the easement and does not hinder wildlife like a prescribed burn or haying would. The WRP landowner does not have to own the cattle that would graze. We have locally helped form partnerships between cattle grazers and easement landowners so that all parties benefit. There are cattlemen looking for grazing options if landowners are interested in having their easement grazed.
In 2017, over 1,500 acres had practices installed to treat resource concerns in Stevens County, working with more than 25 participants. Practices included paddock fencing, water pipelines and tanks for livestock grazing management, 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 is a voluntary conservation program from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). EQIP provides technical assistance and incentive payments to assist crop, livestock, and other agricultural producers with environmental, conservation and energy improvements to their operations. This assistance is to help landowners implement structural, vegetative, management practices, and Conservation Activity Plans (CAP).
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management, pest management, no-till, 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. If you have a resource concern on your land, EQIP probably has a practice that could fix your problem and that may be eligible for financial assistance. Producers must be signed up in EQIP and be in compliance with all USDA Farm Bill provisions in order to receive financial assistance.
The use of prescribed grazing has increased in recent years on WRP easements. Currently in Stevens County we have nine easements set up to graze for 2018, with more being planned. The landowners or operators have been supplying the fence materials. We work with them to develop a management plan that will benefit the easement and work towards their goals. The priorities of the easement come first. We set each plan up for the easement specific concerns and what we are trying to manage for. We typically strive to utilize 3050% or less of the available forage on the easement in a given year. Most easements we are managing for native grasses. Grazing does not occur until late June and runs through August, depending on the plan. We review the plans annually to see if we need to make changes for next year. Each acre on the easement is typically not grazed every year. We have set up plans to rotate cattle around the easement, using cross fences to leave some parts of the easement to rest for two years between grazing. We have also done plans where we graze for three straight years and rest for two years. We can develop up to a 10 year management plan for grazing.
Prairie restoration has always been a challenge and each situation is unique. The Nature Conservancy and the University of Minnesota developed prairie restoration guides that cover 20 different scenarios accounting for existing cover, site prep considerations, maintenance and species selection to meet the intended prairie type you’re looking to establish. They also have additional resources listed to help find the answers you are looking for. The restoration guides and resources can be found at: nature.org/MNPrairieRestorationGuides.
Stevens SWCD 2017 Annual Review
10 Saturday, February 17, 2018
The Stevens County Times
Morris Area Students 2nd at Environthon
The Area 2 Envirothon, an outdoor educational competition for students, was held April 19 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 2017 current issue topic “Agricultural Soil and Water Stewardship in Minnesota.” 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 which they then present at the competition. Morris Area High School had one junior high school team competing in 2017. They placed second out of 15 junior teams. 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. The top three teams at the Area Envirothons advance to the Minnesota State Envirothon each year.
TOP PHOTO: Morris Area eighth graders did very well in the Area 2 Envirothon held at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center near Spicer. During this session they are tested on their knowledge of forestry in Minnesota. BOTTOM PHOTO: Congratulations to the Morris Area Junior Team, who earned second place at the 2017 Area 2 Envirothon. Team members were, left to right: LaRae Kram, Katie Messner, Angel Gallegos, Claire Reed, Ana Hernandez
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Published on Feb 17, 2018