Please note our regular scheduled meeting in July will be held on the 18th at 7 a.m. at the USDA Service Center.
The Pope SWCD staff presented this year’s poster contest theme “We All Need Trees” to three schools Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Minnewaska, and Glacial Hills. The contest was open to 5th and 6th grade students. The winners are:
BBE and Overall Poster Contest Winners:
1st Place-Aynsley Preble
2nd Place-Lydia Mitchell
3rd Place-Ryli Laage
Glacial Hills Poster Contest Winners:
1st Place-Devin Mikel
2nd Place-Miranda Longtin
3rd Place-Dominic Maijala
Minnewaska Poster Contest Winners:
1st Place-Dakota Holder
2nd Place-Berkley Steffen
3rd Place-Lily Anderson
Pope County Natural Resources, Pope SWCD, the Land Stewardship project, and Glacial Ridge Cattelmen’s Association, will be hosting a grazing management field day. The field day will consist of a tour of two operating rotational grazing systems where the producers will share information on their projects including fencing, watering systems, utilizing cover crops, and invasive species management.
The tour will focus on beef cattle operations but management practices can be applied to all classes of grazing livestock. Topics covered will include:
Intensive grazing for pasture production and for rejuvenating native prairie
- Utilizing a pipeline system to provide clean water to grazing livestock
- Utilizing cover crops to assist in removing old pastures, grazing and improving soil health
- Invasive species management to improve pasture and grassland health
- A rainfall simulator demonstration will be presented showing how good stewardship protects our soils.
An evening meal will be provided. Reservations are requested by July 14th to secure a meal. For more information contact the Pope NRCS/SWCD office at 320-634-5327.
Holly Kovarik and Jessica Oldakowski from Pope Soil and Water Conservation District, attended a legislative briefing and meetings at the State Capitol March 21-22nd in St. Paul.
They joined a group of other officials from the state’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) who met in St. Paul to gather support for conservation districts’ programs and issues.
“It is important for us to get the conservation message out to our elected officials in St. Paul,” said Kovarik. The 2016 Legislative Session will be critical to the future of conservation programs in the state, noted Kovarik. “This year legislators will address issues including buffers, appropriations of constitutionally dedicated sales tax funds, bonding funds, and policy issues. Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts are an integral component for enhancing Minnesotan’s quality of life through conservation on private lands, which yields environmental, wildlife and aesthetic benefits to the public.
During the visit to St. Paul, Kovarik and Oldakowski met with local legislators Representative Paul Anderson, Representative Jeff Backer, and Senator Torrey Westrom.
The event was sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
SWCDs fill the crucial niche of providing land and water conservation services to owners of private lands. Minnesota has 89 Soil and Water Conservation Districts. For more information on the Pope Soil and Water Conservation District, please call 320-634-5327 or visit our website at www.popeswcd.org.
Plan would partner with landowners to enroll up to 100,000 acres in water quality conservation efforts
ST. PAUL, MN – Continuing his work to improve water quality and wildlife habitat, Governor Mark Dayton today submitted a $795 million proposal to the United States Department of Agriculture for a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) for Minnesota. This federal, state and local partnership would work with farmers and other landowners across Minnesota to implement conservation practices on up to 100,000 acres of land to restore and protect water quality. Funding provided through CREP would provide additional financial support for farmers and landowners as Minnesota works to implement bipartisan buffer legislation enacted last session.
“This CREP funding would help tremendously, as Minnesotans work together to be even better stewards of our land and water,” said Governor Dayton. “We have begun to reverse the serious deterioration in the quality of water in parts of our state. But much more remains to be done. This is everyone’s challenge and everyone’s responsibility.”
The proposal submitted today focuses on prioritized and targeted acres that would provide the greatest water quality and habitat benefits. It would fund the implementation of buffer filter strips, wetland restoration projects, and wellhead protection efforts. The CREP proposal is a five-agency effort, led by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and including the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“Minnesota has a plan to improve water quality and enhance habitat, backed by sound science and local Soil and Water Conservation District readiness,” BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke said. “This CREP would get Minnesota closer to its natural resource goals.”
State support is already building for Minnesota’s CREP proposal. Bipartisan support at the Legislature yielded $35 million last session for conservation efforts, which will provide part of the required state contribution necessary to leverage federal CREP dollars. The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council has also recommended the Legislature approve $20 million in Outdoor Heritage Fund in the upcoming session. Additional state matching funds will be considered by the Legislature in the upcoming session.
About the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is an offshoot of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the country’s largest private-land conservation program. Administered by the USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA), CREP targets high-priority conservation issues identified by local, state, or tribal governments or non-governmental organizations. The proposed federal, state and local partnership would voluntarily retire environmentally sensitive land using the nationally-recognized ReInvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve program. This is accomplished by establishing conservation practices via payments to farmers, ranchers, and agricultural land owners.
Comment Period Open on Statewide Buffer Mapping Project
In the previous year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been creating a Buffer Protection Map, based on the current public waters inventory, distinguishing the public waters requiring a buffer. Buffers are defined as “an area consisting of perennial vegetation, excluding invasive plants and noxious weeds, adjacent to bodies of water within the state and that protects the water resources of the state from runoff pollution; stabilizes soils, shores and banks; and protects or provides riparian corridors”. The Minnesota DNR has produced a preliminary buffer map. This map is currently open for public viewing, review, and has an open comment period. The buffer protection map can be found online at http://arcgis.dnr.state.mn.us/gis/buffersviewer/. The comment period will be close May 31, 2016.
After the comment period is closed, the Minnesota DNR will begin finalization of the Buffer Protection Map’s public waters and ditches. Public waters will be required to have a 50 foot average with a 30 foot minimum buffer by November 1, 2017. County Ditches will be required to have a 16.5 foot buffer by November 1, 2018. Please be aware that Pope County has a shoreland ordinance. The counties shoreland ordinance requires a 50 foot, no variable width, buffer on multiple water bodies, including some county ditches. This information can be found at the Pope County Land and Resource office, Pope Soil and Water Conservation District office and online at http://gis.co.pope.mn.us/link/jsfe/index.aspx?defaultRole=Public.
Pope Soil and Water Conservation District is able to assist each landowner with identifying areas of interest, determining requirements, technical assistance, and compliance verification. We can also review the DNR buffer map with you and submit the comments directly. If you have questions or concerns about what may be required, technical assistance, or other guidance about the Buffer and Soil Loss Statute, please stop by the office or make an appointment with Jessica Oldakowski.