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

Shoreline Plant Maintenance Workshop - Saturday, June 16th 9am-noon  Are you interested in learning more about native plants and shoreline protection?  Maybe you've recently installed a shoreline restoration project and would like to know how to maintain and improve your shoreline.  Please join us to learn the basics of shoreline restoration maintenance.  Topics will cover weeding, watering, and repairs.  This event is hands-on and will visit several recently installed projects along the north side of Green Lake.  You'll be able to ask all your questions with local specialists and community members. Click here for the flyer, and RSVP to the Isanti SWCD at 763-689-3271 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

College Students on the Lakes The Isanti SWCD is happy to partner with the 2018 Undergraduate Research Group from the Cambridge Campus of Anoka Ramsey Community College. Students will be conducting water quality and aquatic invasive species (AIS) sampling and on Skogman, Fannie, Elms, and Florence (Joe) Lakes in Isanti County throughout this summer. Testing is scheduled mainly on Wednesday mornings, but if the weather is bad - it may switch to a Tuesday or Thursday.  All data gathered will be given to the Isanti County SWCD and will be formally presented in August.

2018 ARCC Research Group

We have a New Employee!  

Hello, I am Thomas Zimmermann, the new Conservation Technician at Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District. I earned my Masters Degree in Environmental and Conservation Science from North Dakota State University in 2014 and have spent the last 4 years working for Minnesota Native Landscapes. I live in Orrock with my wife (Candice), two children (Wren – 6 and Miles – 3) and dog Izzy (lab-mix). I grew up in Avon, MN and have always enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping, gardening and most anything outdoors.

I look forward to working with Isanti County landowners, group and businesses on their conservation projects. My primary focuses will be on the buffer law, water monitoring, groundwater campus audits, observation well monitoring, RIM easements and woods/forest program, and agriculture program development. However, I’m sure to be helping with any number of projects here at Isanti SWCD. If you have any questions or concerns I can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by cell at (320) 249-9079.

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 within Isanti  County and $17/acre outside Isanti County must be within a 20 mile radius of the City of Isanti.  Rental has a $150 minimum 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/

Dave and Bev Medvecky named 2017 Isanti Outstanding Conservationists

Medvecky Cropped

Dave and Bev Medvecky purchased their Isanti County property in 1978 with dreams of a building a farm centered on conservation.  The dream included wetland restorations, cover crops for soil health, native buffers and prairies, pollinator gardens, a sustainable and healthy “big-woods” forest, organic vegetables and a multi-story cropping system that would include maple syrup, honey, ginseng, and mushrooms. The Medvecky’s did more than dream.  With time and commitment they would slowly purchase land on which they could implement their conservation dreams using state and federal funding and, more often than not, their own hard-earned money.  It is evident that the Medvecky’s have invested in conservation because they feel it is the right thing to do.  For this, the dream and the action, the Isanti SWCD feels proud to name Dave and Bev outstanding conservationists.

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