Mower SWCD annual report 2023

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2023 Annual Report

In 2023, Mower SWCD’s Board of Supervisors saw a change in the seat representing northeast Mower County.

Board member Micah Peterson, of rural Grand Meadow, resigned in August 2023 to start a part-time position on the Mower SWCD staff as a district technician, with the retirement of Larry Callahan.

In fall 2023, Jay Soltau, a farmer from Grand Meadow, then was appointed to serve out the remainder of Peterson’s term as a Mower SWCD supervisor.

Soltau’s area includes the townships of Pleasant Valley, Racine, Grand Meadow and Frankford.

SWCD gives cost-share to seal private wells

Mower County residents continued in 2023 to properly seal unused or old wells in cooperation with Mower SWCD.

During 2023, eight landowners worked with Mower SWCD to seal an old well on their property. This involved Mower SWCD contributing a 50 percent cost-share payment capped at $1,000 for each well sealing.

Groundwater is the source of drinking water for most people in Mower County.

Sealing old wells helps protect groundwater resources. Old wells should be sealed for physical safety; health and environment; and legal responsibilities.

Mower SWCD will continue to offer cost-share assistance for well sealings in 2024 but the amount of funds dedicated to the practice might decrease in future years if the demand for wellsealing assistance diminishes.

In 2022, Mower SWCD gave cost-share for sealing 19 wells in Mower County; Austin Utilities sealed four wells.

Since 2019, Mower SWCD and Austin Utilities – the city of Austin’s municipal water provider – have worked together to offer cost

-share assistance for sealing wells around the county.

Anyone in Mower County interested in well sealing costshare should contact Mower SWCD’s Tim Ruzek, water plan coordinator, to learn about the application process.

An unused well can act like a drain that allows surface water runoff, contaminated water or improperly disposed waste a direct path into underground sources used for

Cover crops 2,095 acres Grassedwaterways 7 miles (39,975 ft.) CRP enrollments 607 acres
An old well before sealing
Angells strong example of conservation farmers

The Angells use variable-rate fertilizer and split application for their nutrient program to minimize nutrient loss and increase productivity.

Ag Appreciation

Conservation projects increase across

of those including a grassed waterway. Most projects were in central and north-central Mower County, which are upland areas of the Cedar and Root rivers.

In 2023, Mower SWCD had its busiest construction year in a long time, completing 32 field projects throughout Mower County.

All but one of those projects involved a

About one-third of the 2023 projects were done in Sargeant Township in the headwaters of the Root River’s north branch.

Construction started in late May 2023 and finished in November 2023 after almost ideal conditions due to the county’s drought.

Overall, Mower SWCD led construction of

nearly 7 miles of grassed waterways (36,975 feet). Grassed waterways are graded channels built where a field is experiencing gully erosion from stormwater runoff. They are seeded to grass or other vegetation to slow runoff water, and they convey water to a stable outlet at a non-erosive flow.

In 2023, Mower SWCD oversaw the construction of nearly a half-mile (2,450 feet) of water-and-sediment control basins that treat runoff from 103 acres.

field should reach out to Hunter to discuss the resource concerns and options for addressing them.

Partners with the Sustainable Answer Acre work on planting into cover crops in May 2022. Searching for soil solutions Conventional Cover Crops
A crew works in September 2023 to restore wetlands for a MN CREP project by the Cedar River in Lansing Township.

Upland storage gets boost in ’23

Snowmelt runoff is captured in late February 2023 in Dexter Township behind the largest upland-storage berm in Mower County.

Mower SWCD 2023 outreach

Part of Mower high priority for pocket prairies

Ramsey Mill Pond


1408 21st Ave. N.W.

Austin, MN 55912

507-434-2603, ext. 5

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