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.All equipment and training is provided by the MPCA free of charge.
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. Security deposit $150 at time of rental. Call Thomas at 763-689-3271 to schedule.
Congratulations to Rod and Sara Elmstrand, recipients of the 2019 Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District’s Outstanding Conservationist Award. The Elmstrands will be recognized at the Outstanding Conservationist luncheon held in conjunction with the MN Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) 2019 Annual Convention on Tuesday December 10th. Each year the Isanti SWCD recognizes individuals and/or organizations for outstanding accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota’s natural resources.
The Elmstrand farm has been in the family since 1934; although, it wasn’t until 1981 that Rod’s Berry Farm was established. Since that time, with the help of his wife Sara and his five children Becky, Tricia, Mary, Erik and Paul, the Elmstrand’s have continued to expand their business. Presently, they grow and market strawberries, blueberries and pumpkins. In addition, they grow a diverse crop rotation of other crops including corn, soybeans, hay, small grains and a variety of cover crops.
The Elmstrand’s are continually seeking ways to improve productivity while also improving soil health, protecting groundwater and reducing pollution into nearby lakes and streams. Some of the ways they have done this include:
In Barry Springborn’s front yard, prairie grasses and flowers buzz with pollinators. The driveway on this family farm outside Cambridge in Isanti County is lined with blooming partridge pea. Bumblebees feed on the yellow flowers. Song sparrows sing from the tall grasses swaying in the wind. Sandhill cranes fly overhead. Trumpeter swans appear on the far edge of Johnny’s Lake. The Springborn farm is perched above the small, shallow lake. Recently installed buffers will protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat.
Springborn raises beef cattle and corn. In 2017, he planted a buffer adjacent to Johnny’s Lake with a pollinator seed mix in accordance with Minnesota’s riparian buffer law.
“When the buffer strip requirement came along, at first I was confused. I had some conversations with staff from the Isanti Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), and they helped me get in touch with students at Anoka-Ramsey Community College that were conducting a pollinator study. The college supplied the pollinator flower seed, and I contacted a private vendor to get a native grass mix that would work with the flower mix,” Springborn said.
Do you love fishing the Rum River? Do you live along or near the Rum River south of Grandy? If you answered yes to either of these questions you will be interested and excited to learn about this project!
Construction is currently underway to restore flow to a one-mile segment of the Rum River that was abandoned due to a man-made diversion dug over 50 years ago. Due to increased rain events over the last 20 years, the diversion began causing a number of problems including the disconnection of the river from its floodplain (this can result in increased flooding to downstream communities) and widening of the river upstream (this can result in erosion of the streambanks and loss of fish habitat).
To resolve the problems, the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District (ISWCD) secured a $250,000 grant from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment and funding from The Nature Conservancy to hire Minnesota Native Landscapes to fill the diversion and redirect flow into the abandoned river channel. The project is currently underway and is slated for completion late March 2019.
If you are interested in learning more about the project, or seeing the completed project, consider taking a canoe trip down the Rum River this summer (access the river from Co. Rd. 14). OR, contact Tiffany Determan, Isanti SWCD @ 763-689-3271
2018 was a busy year for Isanti SWCD. Click here to read all about our most recent Conservation programs and priorities. We would like to send out a special thank you to all our Federal, State, and Local partners who support our mission to preserve, protect and enhance water quality, soil, and other natural resources in Isanti County. We’re already planning great things for 2019 including targeted agricultural outreach, lakeshore restorations on Green Lake, and conservation planning in the Lower St. Croix Watershed.
The City of Isanti views rain gardens as a powerful tool to manage stormwater, as well as a great way to add aesthetic elements to residential lots. In order to encourage its residents to install rain gardens, the City of Isanti has the Residential Rain Garden Incentive Program. Program participants will be given tools for planning and implementing rain gardens on their property, and approved applicants will be reimbursed 50% of the cost, up to $500, for plants, soil, and other supplies to get the garden started. Click here for more information.