The Mission of the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District is to provide technical, financial and educational resources in order to implement practices and projects that preserve, protect and enhance water quality, soil, and other natural resources. 

NEWS 

Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) Informational Meeting   MAWQCP logo

Wednesday December 12, 2018     9:00am – 11:00am

at Anoka-Ramsey Community College – Room E237

300 Spirit Dr. S, Cambridge MN 55008

On December 12th, the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District will be hosting an informational meeting for local farmers and agricultural landowners to learn about the voluntary program designed to protect Minnesota’s water by implementing and maintaining farm management practices. Coffee and refreshments to be served.

Participants in the program will receive:

    • Regulatory Certainty: Certified farms will be deemed in compliance should any new State water quality rules or laws be enacted during the 10-year period of certification.
    • Financial and technical assistance: Priority access to dollars and expertise for any farm practices that would improve water quality.
    • Recognition: Stewardship-minded farms will receive recognition from the community for their efforts and a sign that can be displayed on their property.

There is no obligation to sign up in order to attend; it is just an opportunity to learn how you can get involved in protecting water quality in Minnesota and become agricultural water quality certified.

For any questions and to RSVP contact Thomas Zimmermann, Conservation Technician at 763-689-3271 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you are unable to attend but are still interested in the program, please contact me.

 

City of Isanti Recognized for Outstanding Work in Conservation

Congratulations to the City of Isanti, recipients of the 2018 Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District’s Outstanding Conservationist Award.  The City will be recognized at the Outstanding Conservationist luncheon held in conjunction with the MN Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) 2018 Annual Convention on Tuesday December 4th.  Each year the Isanti SWCD recognizes individuals and/or organizations for outstanding accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota’s natural resources.

“We’re proud of The City of Isanti for what they’ve done for conserving the natural resources in Isanti County,” said Wayne Calander, board chair of the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District. “It’s great to be able to recognize the work that they have done locally” Calander said.

The relationship between the SWCD and Isanti began in 2011 following the completion of a Stormwater Retrofit Study that identified locations to cost effectively improve treatment of stormwater from portions of the City that discharge to the Rum River.  The results of the study led to a $120,000 Clean Water Fund grant to install the top-rated pollution reduction project—a Stormwater Outfall pond located on RR Ave.  The City provided the $38,750 match for the project via their Stormwater Utility fee.

The initial partnership led to subsequent joint conservation projects including:

Erosion control on the Rum River:  Isanti has installed 300 linear feet of cedar tree revetments to control erosion on the Rum River in River Bluff Park

City-Wide Rain Garden Program:  The City has developed a City-wide raingarden incentive program that includes FREE SWCD technical assistance to landowners

Groundwater Conservation:  The City has elected to take part in a groundwater use audit at both the City Hall and Community Center.  This audit will identify current water usage and cost-effective ways to reduce the amount of water they are using.

Isanti2018OutstandingCooperator

MPCA's Citizen Water Monitoring Program  Join more than 1,400 Minnesotans who track the health of their favorite lake or stream — become a citizen water monitor today! Citizens in every county can join the water quality movement by signing up to be a water monitor through the MPCA’s Citizen Monitoring Programs. With 69,000 miles of streams and over 14,000 lakes in Minnesota, more volunteer monitors are needed to help track the health of our waters. No prior experience or training is required – just a love of water.   All equipment and training is provided by the MPCA free of charge.

Find out if your favorite lake or stream needs monitoring by using the MPCA’s interactive map.  To become a volunteer or learn more about the program, visit the Citizen water monitoring enrollment webpage, or call 651-296-6300 (Twin Cities) or 800-657-3864 (Greater Minnesota).

Seed Drill Rental  The Isanti SWCD rents a seed drill suitable for planting native grasses and wildflowers.  Cost is $12/acre and must be within a 20 mile radius of the City of Isanti.  Rental within Isanti County has a $150 minimum fee.  Rental outside of Isanti County has a minimum $250 fee.  A $150 damage deposit is required at the time of rental. For safety reasons, we ask that you don't drive over 20 mph while towing the seeder.  Call Thomas or Todd at 763-689-3271 to schedule.

Oak Wilt Resources for Isanti County Residents  Oak wilt, caused by the non-native fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, is responsible for killing large numbers of oak trees annually in Minnesota.  Oak Wilt is most severe in red oak group species such as Northern Red Oak and Northern Pin Oak.  The Isanti County Parks Department has put together this brochure as a guide for managing Oak wilt: Oak Wilt in Isanti County  To learn more and see good photos of diseased trees, you can also visit the U of M Extension website: https://www.extension.umn.edu/environment/trees-woodlands/oak-wilt-in-minnesota/  Residents can call the SWCD and the Isanti County Parks Department for names of contractors who can help with trees and root trenching on your property.

SWCD Expands Agricultural Services  The SWCD partners with the Farm Service Agency, Pheasants Forever, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to bring technical and financial help to assist agricultural landowners who want to implement conservation practices on their land. Read all about the opportunities here.

SWCD Recieved $251,000 to Protect Blue Lake!  The Isanti SWCD, in partnership with the Blue Lake Improvement District and Spencer Brook and Stanford Townships, has been selected to recieve over $250,000 to protect the health of Blue Lake!  The grant, along with matching funds provided by its partners, will pay for the installation of cost-effective projects that will reduce the amount of nutrients draining into the lake.  These nutrients are causing algae blooms and excessive plant growth.  The projects include: two rain gardens and a sump to treat runoff from right-of-ways in Spencer Brook Township, a gully and shoreline repair to treat runoff from a public access in Stanford Township, a sand filter to capture organic materials released from a channelized wetland on the southeast side of the lake, and multiple lakeshore buffers to treat overland flow on private properties.

Thanks to the State's Clean Water Fund, Minnesota was able to support 30 conservation projects across the state totalling $6.5 million.  To learn more about the Clean Water Fund and see what other projects are being done around the state to protect our lakes, rivers and drinking water vist:  http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/cleanwaterfund/

New Buffer One-Stop Website  Minnesota landowners with questions about compliance waivers and other buffer topics also have another option available today with the launching of a new one-stop website for information and tips to implement the buffer law. The new site, mn.gov/buffer-law, is a user-friendly and convenient resource for landowners and the public to learn about the law, find answers about alternative practices, and get information about financial and technical assistance and more.

Recent Buffer Law Changes  The recently signed Environment and Natural Resouces Omnibus Bill contains the following changes to MN's Buffer Law:

      • 1)  Alternative practices: expanded to include “practices based on local conditions approved by the SWCD that are consistent with the Field Office Technical Guide.”
      • 2)  Seed mixes need to be verified by MDA (to prevent spread of weeds/invasives like Palmer Ameranth)
      • 3)  Waivers/extensions can be sought by filing with the SWCD by Nov. 1, 2017 a “parcel-specific riparian protection compliance plan” which gives landowner until July 1, 2018.

4)  The bill also contains $2 million per year for counties and watershed districts for enforcement of the buffer law, as well as provisions for how it will be distributed.

Also of interest, Cost-share will be make avaliable to SWCD's to work with landowners on buffer and alternative practice installation.  Stay tuned for more details!

Rum River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS)  The Rum River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) is a management plan for the Rum River, and all the lakes and streams in its watershed.  The process of preparing the WRAPS included extensive monitoring, modeling, stakeholder/public outreach and scientific analysis from 2013-2016.  The WRAP focus is on water quality and overall ecological health.  It includes strategies for fixing impaired waters that do not meet state water quality standards, as well as protecting good quality waterbodies. 

The Rum River WRAPS report and accompanying Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Report for impaired waters are on public notice from May 1-31, 2017.  Please visit the MN Pollution Control Agency website to view the draft reports and public comment opportunities.  Please note that other informative reports done as part of the WRAP process are also on the MPCA website including a groundwater report, biota stressor identification report, and monitoring and assessment report. 

Blue Lake Watershed Study Completed  The SWCD, in partnership with Sherburne SWCD and the Blue Lake Improvement District, has completed a stormwater retrofit assessment (SRA) for the area of land draining to Blue Lake.  The SRA identifies and prioritizes opportunities to place projects that will protect the health of Blue Lake.  Check out the Executive Summary here!

Grant Secured for Rum River  We have secured $226,766 to restore and enhance aquatic and terrestrial habitat on the Rum River north of Cambridge! This grant will allow us to restore flow to over one mile of river channel that was abandoned due to a man-made diversion.  The funds for this project will come from the DNR Conservation Partners Legacy Grant and The Nature Conservancy will provide the required 10% match.

NRCS Conservation Client Gateway  NRCS has launched the NRCS Conservation Client Gateway which is a secure online portal that lets individual landowners and land managers track their payments, request assistantce, sign documents, and request conservation assistance anytime, anywhere.  The Gateway provides users the flexibility to determine when they want to engage with NRCS online and when they prefer in-person conservation palnning assistance.  click for more info

 

Education Resources: Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention

Invasive Species

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Regular meetings for the Isanti SWCD Board are the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 8:00 a.m. at the USDA Service Center in Cambridge at eh address listed below.

Isanti SWCD
110 Buchanan Street North
Cambridge MN, 55008