On behalf of Pope and Stevens SWCDs, we would like to congratulate Kaley Poegel a 4th grade teacher at Glacial Hills Elementary School. Kaley was nominated by these SWCDs for the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District’s Teacher of the Year. Kaley was selected as this year’s recipient. She will be honored in December at the MASWCD Conference on December 9th and by the County on December 17th. Congratulations Kaley for all you do for our area youth and especially your work on teaching them about the environment.
The Pope SWCD would like to congratulate this year’s Outstanding Conservationist, Don and Shari Opdahl. Don is an employee of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (seed, biotech, and noxious weed unit) for the past 28 years. Shari is a retired music teacher of 34 years and most recently worked at Glacial Hills Elementary school.
The Opdahl’s operate an 820 acre corn and soybean farm south of Starbuck, Minnesota. The entire farm is on a 4 year rotation for grid soil sampling. The Opdahl’s have implemented 9 water and sediment control basins starting in 2015.They also installed approximately 20 water quality inlets on the remaining open intakes on their farm. They converted 1 open intake to a rock inlet design. Don and his family have been very supportive of the Pope SWCD and NRCS. They have on at least 2 occasions allowed our office to use their sites for educational program tours.
Don and Shari are very deserving of this recognition as the 2019 Outstanding Conservationists of the Year. They addressed their erosion concerns by implementing structural practices but were receptive and did implement new management to their tillage program. Their entire operation was reviewed under the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification program and did meet the criteria for certification once the tillage was adjusted, intakes were closed, and structures were installed. Don is a fourth generation Pope County farmer who hopes to pass this farm off to the fifth generation, his son. These investments Don and Shari have made will have a large impact on the future of the farm. Congrats again to the Don and Shari Opdahl Family on their efforts to improve their land for future generations.
They will be recognized in December at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual conference in Bloomington, Minnesota and by our County Board. Congratulations to the Opdahl Family on this well deserved recognition.
The Pope Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) wants to remind you that each of us has a connection to natural resources. The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is celebrating the 64th year of Stewardship Week April 28 – May 5, 2019. The 2019 Stewardship Week hinges around the theme “Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper.” Soil provides us with a multitude of benefits and services including, but not limited to: clean water, produce we grow, fuel, jobs, and more.
Holly Kovarik acts as the District Manager for Pope SWCD. The District was formed in 1969 to assist people in Pope County with technical assistance for conservation of land and water through project implementation. During Stewardship Week, Pope SWCD has provided materials to 25 churches and has presented this year’s poster contest theme to three schools within the County.
Your local conservation district can assist you in learning more about soil and the types native to your area of the county. They can also provide insight on conservation practices you can use to help protect your soil. Districts have a long-standing history of working with landowners in helping improve their soil health.
Pope SWCD is a member of NACD which oversees the Stewardship Week program. Stewardship Week is one of the largest national annual programs to promote conservation. NACD represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, which were established to encourage resource conservation across the country.
Pope SWCD encourages you to participate in conservation activities through the entire year. For information about Stewardship Week and conservation, contact Nicole Brede at (320) 634-5327 or Nicole.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For almost 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. NACD’s website is at www.nacdnet.org.
Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle from Asia that infects and kills all native species of ash trees in North America. The larvae create tunnels under the bark as they feed. As these tunnels accumulate the ash tree begins to show signs of infestation. Once a tree shows symptoms of infestation it usually dies within 1-3 years.
Emerald Ash Borer was first found in North America in Michigan in 2002. Since then it has spread to numerous other states and Canadian provinces including Minnesota. In 2009, it was found in St. Paul and spread through the metro area. By 2016, the beetle had found its way to Duluth and most recently in 2019 it was found in 10 trees in Sauk Centre, MN.
With an estimated 1 billion ash trees throughout the state, emerald ash borer poses a substantial environmental and economic threat. EAB infestations are difficult to identify in the early stages and spread by both natural and artificial means; therefore, quarantines are enacted when an infestation is discovered. A map of the current EAB status can be found at the following website https://mnag.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=63ebb977e2924d27b9ef0787ecedf6e9.
EAB’s active period is from May 1st to September 30th so it is best to avoid any removal or pruning of ash trees during this time. If you must prune or remove ash trees during this time due to health hazards have at least 1” of the outer bark and wood chipped onsite before transporting it to a removal site. It’s also important to not transport firewood to help control the spread of EAB. Landowners can also help control the spread of EAB by looking for systems of infestation.
Symptoms to look for include:
- Canopy thinning – branches will progressively start dying each year after infestation
- Increased woodpecker activity – these birds like to feed on the larvae, particularly downy and hairy woodpeckers
- D-shaped exit holes – the adults leave distinct D-shaped exit holes about 1/8” wide when they emerge from the tree
- Serpentine tunnels/bark splits – the larvae create meandering S-shaped tunnels as they feed on the vascular tissue of the tree which is only visible when the bark is peeled away. These tunnels can cause a split in the bark.
If you suspect one of your trees to have Emerald Ash Borer please call the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Arrest the Pest hotline at 888-545-6684. Also note the exact location of the tree and take a digital photo if possible. Landowners can also contact the local Pope County Ag Inspector- Barry Bouwman at 320-634-7791 or the Swift County Ag Inspector- Tom Orr at 320-843-4910.