Tricounty News

Legacy funding to assist Stearns County landowners

The Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was awarded more than $750,000 in Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment funds from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR).

BWSR approved more than $14 million in state grants for projects that will protect and improve Minnesota's streams, rivers, lakes and groundwater resources. Funding for the competitive grants includes $2 million from the state's general fund and $12 million from the Minnesota Clean Water Fund - one of four funds established through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment which was approved by voters in 2008. Most of the funded projects will also leverage local and federal dollars.

"These funds are targeted for projects that will provide the greatest environmental impact," said Dennis Fuchs, Stearns County SWCD administrator. "In addition, these projects will address the priority concerns identified in the Stearns County Comprehensive Local Water Management Plan, which includes impaired waters, urban development, and drinking water protection."

Many of the projects will establish conservation practices to control stormwater runoff in urban and agricultural areas. Other practices will improve water quality by upgrading feedlots and by establishing native vegetation along shorelines in environmentally sensitive areas. In addition, a portion of the funds will be used to address noxious weeds in partnership with Kandiyohi County.

It is anticipated that funds will be available summer 2010. Projects started before being approved are ineligible for cost-share assistance. Stearns County residents interested in implementing conservation practices can call the Stearns County SWCD office at (320) 251-7800, Extension 3, or visit the Stearns County SWCD office in Marketplace Mall, 110 2nd Street South, Suite 128 in Waite Park.

All programs and services of the Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation are available without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and marital or familial status.