News from the SWCD

Although winter seems like it should be the slower time of the year at the Soil and Water Conservation District office, we have been quite busy!  Craig Mell, district administrator, has been wrapping up the 2012 annual report, an overview of the many tasks we completed last year.  Along with that comes planning for staff activities for 2013, which looks to be another very busy year.

Craig has also been working in conjunction with Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) staff to design gully and erosion stabilization projects, particularly along the St. Croix River Escarpment area.  The SWCD and NRCS work closely together to provide both technical assistance and cost share to interested and eligible landowners.  Correcting actively eroding gullies greatly reduces the amount of sediment and excess nutrients reaching surface waters.

Water Resource Specialist Casey Thiel has been working on several Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies for our county.  These include TMDLs for the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes, Sunrise River Watershed, and the Rock, Rush, Goose Creek Watershed.  These studies help determine what condition local water bodies are in and set goals for maintaining or obtaining water quality goals.

Mary Jo Youngbauer, water resource technician, has been working on rural assessments of the Rush Lake Watershed and the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes Watershed.  The goal of the assessments is to break the watershed into smaller catchment areas so that the areas of highest priority for water quality can be pinpointed.  Potential projects in those areas can be highlighted.

Sue Humble, administrative assistant, has been working to set up the 2013 Spring Bonanza in conjunction with the Master Gardeners.  The Bonanza will be held March 16 at the North Branch Senior High School.  A variety of classes will be offered.  Keynote speaker Stan Tiekala’s presentation will be on uncommon facts about common birds.  To pre-register for the bonanza, contact Sue at 277-0151.

Those who have questions or concerns, or would like to learn more about what’s happening at the SWCD, visit, or call at 651-674-2333. The SWCD office is located at 38814 Third Ave., North Branch.

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