Every year, the Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors recognizes an individual or organization for their outstanding accomplishments in improving Chisago County’s natural resources through the implementation of conservation practices on their land. In 2013, the Chisago SWCD named Hazelden Foundation as Outstanding Conservationist for Chisago County for their continued dedication towards protecting the natural resources of Chisago County.
Hazelden Foundation is best known locally and nationally for helping individuals, families, and communities struggling with alcohol and drug addiction and currently has facilities in Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York and Florida. However, most people are not aware they are also great stewards of their land. Founded in 1949, Hazelden has a strong tradition of conservation and land stewardship. Over the years, they have carefully managed over 500 acres of rolling farmland, woods, and wetlands along four miles of undisturbed native shoreline along South Center and Ogren Lakes on their Center City campus.
Five years ago, the decision was made to return the land adjacent to the campus to its natural growth. Since then, all 85 acres of existing cropland (mainly highly erodible land) has been planted to a mix of trees and shrubs, cool season grasses and legumes, and native prairie grasses to drastically reduce the amount of storm water runoff coming from their property. All of this has been accomplished to improve the local water quality and wildlife habitat in and around the campus.
The Chisago SWCD would like to thank the Hazelden Foundation for their efforts to improve water quality and wildlife habitat while being a community leader.