Tricounty News

Diversify tree and shrub plantings

When selecting trees and shrubs for your landscape, always plant several different species to help protect against invasive species or an insect or disease infesting and damaging your plantings. Properly selected and placed trees and shrubs in the landscape can offer multiple benefits to both urban and rural areas. These benefits include producing edible fruit or nuts, saving energy (heating and cooling), protection from the wind or snow, increase property value, protect soil and water resources, increase wildlife habitat, provide living screens and beautify the land.

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Wild horse and burro adoption May 17-18

The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management is announcing the wild horse and burro adoption program to take place in Decorah, Iowa, May 17-18.

Friday, May 17, is a preview from 2-7 p.m. and the adoption process is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The adoption is by “First Come, First Served.”

This is to take place at the Winneshiek County Fairgrounds, East Main Street, in Decorah. Directions are to take Water Street or Montgomery Street to East Main Street. Go east on East Main Street until you get to the fairgrounds. For questions, please call (866) 468-7826, blm.gov.

‘Is Farming Your Future?’ April 14

Are you trying to figure out if a farming career is right for you? The Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings program is offering a “Farm Dreams” workshop from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at Good Earth Food Co-op in St. Cloud. The registration fee is $20 for Land Stewardship Project (LSP) members and $40 for non-members, and pre-registration is required. For details or to register, contact Nick Olson by calling (320)
269-1057, or e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Registration is also available at www.landstewardshipproject.org.

In this interactive workshop, participants will learn about regional training opportunities through LSP’s Farmer-to-Farmer Network, the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Extension and others. This class is the first step to planning an educational path toward farming.

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Drought outlook improves; watching snow melt and flood risk

The area of Minnesota’s landscape in severe to extreme drought diminished during February, dropping from 84 percent of the state’s landscape to under 70 percent. This modest improvement was mostly due to above normal snowfall, especially across central and northern counties.

The new climate outlooks from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center suggest that, for much of March, the Great Lakes region will see above- normal precipitation. This is welcome news in the context of improving our drought situation, especially if we can lose the soil frost as well so the ground is more receptive to moisture recharge. In some areas, frost depth ranges from 20 to 40 inches; this will take some time to thaw out.

One potential risk of a wetter-than-normal March is the threat of flooding from snow melt. Last week, the National Weather Service updated the spring flood outlook for major Minnesota rivers. This new outlook calls for a near-normal risk of spring snowmelt flooding on portions of the Upper Minnesota River, as well as the Upper Mississippi River. This is mostly due to more abundant snowfalls during February, along with deeper ground frost, which combined to elevate the risk of spring flooding from a below normal level to a near normal level. You can read more about the spring flooding outlook and keep up to date here: http://1.usa.gov/VZTAQn.

Spring flood outlook probabilities for the Red River are also available from the Grand Forks NWS Office. These show a relatively higher risk of flooding on the lower end of the Red River Valley between Wapehton and Fargo, ND.
You can get more detail at: http://1.usa.gov/YPUb69.

The higher risk of flooding along the Red River is because the abundant snow cover already contains 2 to 5 inches of liquid water trapped on top of frozen ground there. A rapid thaw could cause a great volume of runoff before the soils are capable of absorbing the moisture. If this situation develops and is further compounded by heavy March rainfalls, then indeed this area of the state could see some moderate to major flooding. Thus state and federal agencies will monitor the gauged flow volumes on the rivers, as well as the weather very carefully during the month of March.

Visit www.extension.umn.edu/extreme-weather, for related educational information on drought and winter impacts. Visit climate.umn.edu, for more information from the University of Minnesota’s climatology working group.

Walk-In Access program now available to Meeker County landowners

Landowners from Meeker County can now enroll land in Walk-In Access, a program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Walk-In lands provide public access to private land. Landowners, in turn, are paid for the access. The program now includes 35 counties in the western half of the state.

“We’ve had many requests to expand the area of our Walk-In pilot program,” said Marybeth Block, DNR Walk-In access coordinator. “As we enter our third year for the program, the time seems right to add some additional counties.”

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