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                                                             

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 detials!

Isanti SWCD HIres Summer Apprentice- 

Isanti SWCD is happy to welcome Michael Mccullough to the district for a summer long apprenticeship positon. He will work alongside SWCD staff on projects such as lake and stream water monitoring and will also assist Isanti County Zoning by conducting sites visits to verify compliance with ordinances.  

Mccullough was hired though the Conservation Apprenticeship Academy, a program of Conservation Corps Minnesota that has placed 33 apprentices in SWCDs throughout the Minnesota to learn hands-on skills in managing soil and water resources. He will work, for the most part, in the Isanti SWCD office in Cambridge, MN though mid-August.

Apprentices serve as AmeriCorps members and receive a monthly living stipend of $1,355 as well as an education award of $1,527 to use towards qualifying education and student loan expenses. Educational credits may be arranged by the apprentice. The service term runs from May 16-August 11.

The program is funded through the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund and LCCMR. 

Join us in Welcoming Michael Mccullough!Mille Lacs sampling

Mille Lacs sampling

Michael grew up in a family that loves to camp, fish and hike. The outdoor experiences of his childhood are directing his interest towards natural resource conservation. First prompting him to attend an environmental college along the shore of lake superior, and most recently motivating him to pursue an apprenticeship position—through the Conservation Core—with Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District and Mille Lacs Soil and Water Conservation District.

With his career goal of becoming an environmental lawyer, Michael is looking forward to seeing how policy and science interact within the conservation arena. He is very excited about this positions unique combination of scientific and regulatory engagement. As an avid canoeist, climber, and backpacker he can't wait to explore our areas natural landscapes via science and recreation. 

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!

2nd Grant Secured for Long Lake- We have secured a state Clean Water Fund grant totalling $30,405 to continue lake restoration efforts on Long Lake!  To date the program has helped 24 homeowners do their part in restoreing lake health by installing native plant gardens and erosion control on their property.  This project has a goal of restoration of 350 linear feet of lakeshore and 6,000 square feet of stormwater treatment.

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.

Isanti County Buffer Maps Avaliable for Viewing- Mapping of public waters and county ditches that will require buffers in accordance with the states buffer law has been updated and is avaliable for landower review at: www.mndnr.gov/buffers.  "Specific questions about the map's depiction of waters on private land should go to the local soil and water conservation districts or drainage authorities," DNR Buffer Mapping Project Manager Dave Leuthe said.  The buffer map is avaliable at www.mndnr.gov/buffers Please contact us with questions.

Blue Lake and Stream Monitoring Reports- Last year the SWCD partnered with the Blue Lake Improvement District to(LID) implement a long-term holistic lake and stream monitoring program. The program includes sample collection within Blue Lake as well as its four tributaries. The 2015  reports can be viewed here:  Lake ReportTributary Report

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

Seed Drill Rental - The Isanti SWCD rents a seed drill suitable for planting native grasses and wildflowers.  Cost is $12/ac in Isanti  County and $17/ac outside Isanti County.  $150 minimum fee.  $150 damage deposit.  Call Todd at 763-689-3271 to schedule.

Aquatic Invasive Species  Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens that live primarily in water and thrive in their new environment, often out-competing native species. Well known AIS include: zebra mussels, curlyleaf pondweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny waterflea and Asian carp. These species are a serious threat to the health of our lakes, recreational opportunities like boating and fishing. Isanti SWCD partners with Isanti County to implement an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan. The SWCD assists with education and early detection activities. For more information on AIS contact the SWCD or visit the DNR’s AIS website by clicking here.

 

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