The Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District is a local unit of government in Isanti County, MN, that is dedicated to soil and water conservation. Our mission, 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 is governed by the State law and the Soil and Water conservation Policy 103C.005 as described below. The Isanti SWCD was established in 1963 by petition of the citizens of Isanti County.

Prior to 2013 the SWCD focused on assistance with Farm Bill related activities including providing planting assistance with for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The SWCD also focused on promotion of no-till cropping, The States Reinvest in MN (RIM) Conservation easement program, and the annual tree sale.

Presently the SWCD can offer technical assistance and sometimes financial assistance to landowners on natural resource conservation practices such as:

  •      Lake Monitoring and Stream Assessment
  •      Aquatic Invasive Species mapping for treatment permits
  •      Riverbank erosion issues
  •      Lakeshore Restoration Design Using Native Vegetation
  •      Rain Garden and other rain water runoff control practices
  •      Site visits, Project Review and Technical Information on Wetland Issues
  •      Site visits and possible financial assistance for agricultural best management practices
  •      Assistance with abandoned well sealing
  •      Educations and outreach



District Tree Sale
The Isanti SWCD offers for sale tree and shrub species native to Minnesota for conservation practices. The scale of planting ranges from small backyard habitat projects to large forestry restoration projects.  Orders are taken December-April and tree pickup will be on May 4th, 2019 from 8am - noon 

Seed Drill Rental  The Isanti SWCD rents a seed drill suitable for planting native grasses and wildflowers.  Cost is $12/acre; $150 minimum within Isanti County. $250 minimum outside of Isanti County. Rental must be within a 20 mile radius of the City of Isanti. 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.

Pheasants Forever Cost Share Program
The Isanti County Chapter of Pheasants Forever offers cost sharing grants to landowners for habitat enhancement and maintenance. Isanti SWCD serves as the point of contact and administrator of these grants.  In 2016 Pheasants Forever dedicated $5,000 to be used in conjunction with existing funds such as the SWCD's cost share program and/or USDA's CRP program.  Pheasants Forever will cost share up to $50 per acre up to a maximum of 100 acres.

State Cost-Share Program
The District receives funds from the State Cost Share Program to encourage conservation practice installation. A variety of projects that prevent erosion or improve water quality are eligible.

Conservation Easements
Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easements are administered through SWCDs.  Landowners are compensated for restoring certain marginal or environmentally sensitive lands.  Easements are generally permanent.  More information.

Well Sealing Loans
Unused wells must be professionally sealed by state because of the threat to groundwater.  Low interest loans are available. More information.

Septic System Loans
Failing or non-compliant septic systems pose an environmental and human health threat.  Low interest loans (3%) are available through the AgBMP loan program (see below).

AgBMP Loan Program
The MN Department of Agriculture offers low interest (3% or less) loans to landowners for projects that will improve water quality.  The Isanti SWCD serves as a local point of contact and helps landowners through the application process.  More information..

Grant-Funded Projects
From time to time grants are secured for specific natural resource projects.  These grants allow staff to dedicate time to identified issues and often provide financial incentives for landowners to install projects such as erosion control, habitat, and others.

USDA Programs
Our partners at the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service offer a number of financial incentive programs for projects and practices that benefit environmental quality.  The Isanti SWCD is co-located with NRCS.

Stormwater and Shoreline Protection Project Coordination
In partnership with Isanti County, municipalities, other agencies and landowners we coordinate projects that benefit lake, stream and river water quality.  In 2015 the SWCD partnered with Green Lake, Blue Lake and Long Lake groups to gain funding and to help to install projects that will protect water quality.

Aquatic Invasive Species Surveying                                                                                                                                                                  The Department of Natural Resouces (DNR) requires mapping before issuing permits to treat curly-leaf pond weed and Eurasian watermilfoil. The SWCD offers these mapping services to lake groups in order to expedite permit issuance and ensure tratment occurs as early as possible.  In 2015 the SWCD completed mapping of AIS for Blue and Spectacle Lakes.

Water Quality Monitoring                                                                                                                                                                                     We provide Water quality monitoring servies such as monitoring plan development and water monitoring for lake groups upon request.  In 2016 we contracted with both Blue and Green Lake Improvement Districts to provide various lake, stream and water quality reporting services.

     Water Quaity Reports

     Blue Lake and Tributaries:  2015    2016   2017

     Green Lake and Tributaries: 2016  2017

     Francis Lake and Tributaries:  2017

     Long Lake and Tributaries: 2017

     Oxford Township Lake and Tributaries: 2017




Rum River Watershed Restoration and Protection Plan Strategy (WRAPS)                                                                                                  This project involves nine counties, tribal interests and state agencies in an effort to protect and improve the almost one million acre Rum River Watershed.  With its beginning at Lake Mille Lacs, most of the Rum River is a State Scenic and Recreational Waterway.  This project focuses on river but will also include the streams and lakes in the watershed.  The most notable outcome will be a plan to protect good water quality where it exists and restore it in those places where it is poor. For more information visit the MPCA Rum River Watershed Page.

Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan                                                                                                                                                        In 2014 the MN legislature recognized that success in AIS efforts would require the combination of local, state, and federal agencies. As such, on May 20th, 2014 the MN legislature leveraged local energy by creating the AIS prevention fund. This fund distributes $10 million annually at the county level. The bill specifically states that the proceeds must solely be used to prevent the introduction or limit the spread of aquatic invasive species at all access sites within the county. Isanti SWCD partners with Isanti County to implement an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan. The SWCD assists with education and early detection activities.

Groundwater and Precipitation Monitoring Program
Five DNR groundwater wells are monitored to track hydrological changes.
The SWCD has 8 volunteer precipitation recorders throughout Isanti County. Working with the State Climatology office, the data collected provides citizens and the State of Minnesota with important precipitation information and weather history.

Subwatershed Assessments
Through Clean Water Legacy Funding via the Metro Conservation Districts the Isanti SWCD has begun conducting subwatershed assessments, also known as stormwater retrofit assessments. The purpose of these studies is to identify opportunities to better treat stormwater before discharge into priority waterbodies. Studies have been completed for Green Lake, City of Cambridge, City of Isanti and Fannie- Skogman Chain of Lakes, Blue Lake, and Green Lake North Brook and Wyanett Creek Tributaries.  Studies are underway for Spectacle Lake and Long Lake.

Wetland Conservation Act
The Isanti SWCD staff serve on Isanti County's Wetland Conservation Act Technical Evaluation Panel (TEP). We also advise landowners with respect to the law.

County Water Planning
Isanti County serves as the county water planner. The Isanti SWCD serves on the County Water Planning Task Force which advises water management efforts county-wide.

Sunrise River WRAP
The Isanti SWCD is a partner in the Sunrise River Watershed Restoration and Protection project (WRAP), which is coordinated by the Chisago SWCD.  This project was completed in late 2014.  Implementation of the project recommendations is ongoing.