As a local government unit, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) began to form in the 1930s as a direct result of the landscape destruction during this period of intense drought compounded by poor farming practices. Today, each of the counties in the Minnesota River Basin supports a SWCD office with two found in Otter Trail County. SWCDs concentrate on working with landowners, farmers and others to install conservation practices to protect and restore natural resources of water and soil. Many of these offices also provide educational programs, monitoring activities, and other opportunities to engage the public on environmental issues. The Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) administers state funding for the SWCDs. (Percentages below indicate percent of county within the Minnesota River Basin.)
Big Stone SWCD (75%)
Home to Big Stone Lake and headwaters of the Minnesota River, the mission of the Big Stone Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to educate and assist the citizens of Big Stone County to efficiently and economically manage the soil and water resources of the County, for present and future generations. Cost-share practices available at the Big Stone SWCD office include field windbreaks, shelterbelts, grassed waterways, terraces, sediment basins, strip-cropping, and critical area plantings, along with well sealing. Big Stone SWCD is also involved with educational activities like the annual Environmental Fair, Arbor Day and Soil Stewardship Work
Contact: 320-839-6149 ext. 3 - http://www.bigstoneswcd.org/index/index.htm
Blue Earth SWCD (100%)
A political subdivision of the State of Minnesota, Blue Earth Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was established in May of 1959 to carry out a program for the conservation, use and development of soil, water and related resources. Assistance is offered by the SWCD staff to land occupiers in applying proper practices to control soil erosion, reduce water pollution and aid in land resource planning on all lands within the District. Two watershed projects – Maple River Watershed and Big Cobb River Watershed – are housed at the Blue Earth SWCD office.
Contact: 507-345-4744 - http://www.blueearthswcd.org/index.php
Brown SWCD (100%)
Established in 1958 under the state law, Brown Soil Water Conservation District (SWCD) is a local unit of government carrying out conservation programs on the local level. Brown SWCD works with landowners to help them manage and protect land and water resources on all private lands. Priorities have been set for the following cost-share practices: grass waterways; terraces; riparian buffer strips; sediment retention, erosion or water control structures; diversions; field windbreaks; critical area stabilization; waste management systems; stream, Shoreland and roadside projects; farmstead shelterbelts; and strip cropping. Brown SWCD is also sponsors a number of educational programs – Conservation Update Annual newsletter, Poster Contest and Soil Stewardship Week.
Contact: 507-794-2553 - http://brownswcdmn.org/
Carver SWCD (65%)
The mission of the Carver Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to provide high quality assistance to the land managers and citizens of Carver County for the protection of land and water resources. Funding is available for landowners through the State Cost-Share Program to install conservation practices like agriculture waste management; critical area planting/ stabilizations; CRP planning and planting grass; sediment retention, erosion, or water control; streambank and Shoreland protection; diversions, filter strips; grassed waterways; riparian buffer strips; terraces and waterways. Other programs available through the Carver SWCD office include wetland restorations, tree sales and educational activities.
Contact: 952-466-5230 - http://www.co.carver.mn.us/departments/LWS/swcd.asp
Chippewa SWCD (100%)
The purpose of the Chippewa Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to control soil erosion and improve water quality. The primary goal of the District is to take available technical, financial and educational resources, whatever their source, and focus on coordinating them so that they meet the needs of the local land user. Services under the Chippewa SWCD office include cost-share for conservation practices (i.e. grass waterways, livestock waste management and sediment basins), tree program (planning, sales and planting) and nutrient management planning among others. Chippewa SWCD also sponsors a 5th grade field day and poster contest.
Contact: 320-269-2139 ext. 3 - http://www.chippewaswcd.org/index.htm
Cottonwood SWCD (75%)
To help maintain a better environment for future generations, to encourage it through programs and education is the mission of the Cottonwood Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The Cottonwood SWCD is a legal subdivision of the State governed by a five member board that is elected by the public. They provide the local leadership and direction for applying conservation practices to the land and how the county deals with a wide variety of resources management issues, including wetlands, water quality and soil erosion. In addition to promoting conservation practices and providing technical assistance, the staff of the Cottonwood SWCD coordinates the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance effort.
For more information 507-831-1158 Ext. 3 - http://www.cottonwoodswcd.org/
Dakota SWCD (20%)
Providing high quality assistance to the citizens of Dakota County for the protection of land and water resources is the mission of the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Dakota SWCD offers a wide range of programs and services including Agriculture Resource Management (i.e. conservation easements, feedlots, filter strips, nutrient management, trees and others); Backyard Conservation (i.e. native shoreline stabilization, rain barrels, rain gardens, and more); Natural Resource Management; Stormwater Management and Watershed Management. One of the educational programs offered by the Dakota SWCD is through Blue Thumb featuring native gardens, rain gardens and shoreline stabilization.
Contact: 651-480-7777 - http://www.dakotacountyswcd.org/index.html
Douglas SWCD (45%)
To promote, guide and direct an action program which will result in efficient conservation of soil and water is the mission of the Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District. The Douglas SWCD was organized in 1954 by local farmers for the purpose the art and science of good land use. The staff assists landowners and operators in planning and applying the soil and water conservation practices needed to protect and improve their soil and water resources. Programs and services from the Dakota SWCD include best management practices, easement programs, technical assistance and educational opportunities for all ages.
Contact: 320-763-3191 ext. 3 - http://www.douglasswcd.com/
Faribault SWCD (100%)
The mission of the Faribault County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to assist the citizens of Faribault County in improving water quality and reducing soil erosion, establishing wildlife habitat, and promoting information and education to ensure continued clean water for future generations and continued productivity of our soil and water. Faribault County SWCD offers programs involving agricultural conservation, drainage, education, storm water, tree planting, and septic systems. This office also handles all the planning zoning programs for Faribault County.
Contact: 507-526-2388 - http://www.faribaultcountyswcd.com/
Freeborn SWCD (20%)
Located in south central Minnesota, Freeborn Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was formed to address the conservation needs of the county’s agricultural land. The mission of Freeborn SWCD is to strive to create an awareness of the need for conservation practices to help protect the county resources. Freeborn SWCD staff offer practical and manageable alternatives to address landowner and operator needs by providing both technical and cost-share assistance with best management practices. They focus on Soil Erosion Reduction, Water Quality Improvement and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement.
Contact: 507-373-5607 ext. 3 - http://www.freebornswcd.org/index.htm
Grant SWCD (25%)
This local government unit manages and directs natural resource programs in Grant County. The Grant Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) works with landowner in rural, urban and lakeshore areas to implement a program for the conservation, use, and development of soil, water, and related resources. Grant SWCD programs include tree planting, local water management plan, agricultural best management practices, cost-share, conservation easements and educational opportunities. One of the major success stories of this SWCD office is the Grant County Buffer Initiative, enrolling more than 18,000 acres since 1998.
Contact: 218-685-5395 - http://www.grantswcd.org/index.php
Hennepin Conservation District (20%)
Founded in 1949, the mission of the Hennepin Conservation District (HCD) is to facilitate the conservation of water, soil, and related natural resources through education, technical assistance, and implementation of sound land use practices, in the most cost-effective manner, for the benefit of current and future generations. Today, HCD is involved in a wide variety of land and water conservation issues as its role continues to evolve along with the landscape of Hennepin County. The staff assists landowners with sustainable land use and works with municipalities to develop growth management strategies.
Contact: 612-348-9938 - http://www.hcd.hennepin.mn.us/index.html
Jackson SWCD (20%)
The Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) provides technical assistance to all county private and public landowners. This is accomplished through a multitude of local, state and federal programs in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Jackson SWCD offers cost-share for best management practices, manages a tree planting program and technical assistance.
Contact: 507-662-6682 ext. 3 - http://www.co.jackson.mn.us/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7B830B338F-3200-41BE-A911-7133769E460F%7D
Kandiyohi SWCD (50%)
To encourage the wise use of land and water and to treat these resources in accordance with their needs for protection and improvement is the mission of Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Established on April 23, 1954, the staff of the Kandiyohi SWCD assists landowners with a variety of natural resource concerns. Projects overseen by the staff include wetland restorations; agriculture waste pits; streambank, shoreland and roadside protection along with other conservation practices. The Kandiyohi SWCD also provides assistance with tree planting, native prairie and rain barrels.
Contact: 320-235-3906 - http://www.co.kandiyohi.mn.us/swcd/default.htm
Lac qui Parle SWCD (100%)
The mission of the Lac qui Parle Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to take available technical, financial and educational resources, whatever their source and focus or coordinate them so that they meet the needs of the local land users to help them protect Lac qui Parle’s natural resources. The Lac qui Parle SWCD does this through its Tree Program, Walk in Access Program, No-Till Grass Drill, Conservation Planning and Construction, Cost Share Programs, Land and Water Treatment Programs, Agriculture Best Management Practices Low interest Loan Program and other programs. Outreach and information is another part of Lac qui Parle SWCD’s conservation effort involving a radio talk show, educational programming and displays.
Contact: 320-598-7321, ext. 3 - http://www.lacquiparleswcd.org/index.htm
Le Sueur SWCD (65%)
Located in south Central Minnesota, Le Sueur Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) got its start in 1946 for the purpose of assisting landowners wanting to apply practices on their land and for the conservation of soil and water resources. The Le Sueur SWCD assists landowners with conservation practices focusing on controlling wind and water erosion, pollution of lakes and streams, and damage to wetlands and wildlife habitats. Some of the programs offered by the Le Sueur SWCD include Ag BMP Program, Tree Program, State Cost-Share Program and Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM).
Contact: 507-357-4879 - http://lesueurswcd.org/home.htm
Lincoln SWCD (85%)
Organized on July 3, 1944, The Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) works with landowners in both rural and urban settings to carry out a program for the conservation, use and development of soil, water and related resources. The mission of the Lincoln SWCD is to protect and improve the quality of the county’s water, soil and natural resources by providing programs and services to the citizens and landowners of Lincoln County to implement conservation practices. Priority concerns include ground water protection, surface water quality deterioration, erosion and sediment control on agricultural land among others.
Contact: 507-694-1630 ext. 3 - http://www.lincolnswcd.net/
Lyon SWCD (90%)
The staff of the Lyon Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) assists rural and urban residents in the protection and enhancement of the natural resources. Lyon SWCD provides cost share funds and technical assistance; knowledge of conservation programs; soil type information; educational programming; tree sales and planting and demonstration projects. The mission of the Lyon SWCD is to provide high quality, professional assistance to the citizens and landowners of the county to provide them tools and programs to utilize in the protection and enhancement of the county resources.
Contact: 507-537-0396 ext. 3 - http://www.lyonswcd.org/
Martin SWCD (75%)
Formed in 1947 to address soil erosion on the county’s farmland, the mission of the Martin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to assist land users of Martin County in efficiently utilizing the soil and water resources. The Martin SWCD will assist land users in increasing the productive use of crop land, pasture land, wood land and wildlife production. Under a wide range of programs, the Martin SWCD works with land managers, local government agencies, land users and others interested in addressing a broad spectrum of resource concerns: Erosion Control, Flood Prevention, Water Quality and Quantity, Non-Point Source Pollution, Forest Land Protection, Wildlife, Recreation, Waste Water Management and Community Development.
Contact: 507-235-6680 - http://www.martinswcd.net/
McLeod SWCD (15%)
To assist the land users of McLeod County in efficiently and effectively using the natural resources in order to increase the productive of cropland, pastureland, woodland, urban land, wildlife land, and recreational land while maintaining and improving the soils base, water quality, tree production, wildlife and the quality of life in the county is the mission of the McLeod Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The McLeod SWCD offers assistance with these programs: Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Best Management Program (AgBMP) and Reinvest in Minnesota Wetland Restoration Program along with Program (RIM), along with educational opportunities.
Contact: 320-864-5176 - http://www.mcleodswcd.org/
Murray SWCD (15%)
The Murray Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) works to implement a comprehensive long range plan for natural resource protection in the county. Formed in 1954, the mission of the Murray SWCD is to provide technical, financial, and educational support to the public for the purpose of conserving and protecting soil, water, and other natural resources. A number of programs are offered through the Murray SWCD – Tree Program, State Cost-Share, Rock Inlet Program, Grass Land Reserve Program (GRP), Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Contact: 507-836-6990 ext. 3 - http://www.murrayswcd.org/
Nicollet SWCD (100%)
The mission of the Nicollet Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to assist the landowners of Nicollet County in efficiently and effectively using natural resources in order to increase the productive use of cropland, pastureland, woodland, wildlife land, urban land, and recreation land, while maintaining and improving the soils base, water quality, tree production, wildlife, and the quality of life in the county. Some of the programs and services offered by the Nicollet SWCD are the State Cost Share Program, District Tree Program, Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM), Wetlands Conservation Act (WCA), Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Low Interest Loan Program for Conservation.
Contact: 507-931-2550 Ext. 3 - http://www.nicolletswcd.org/
Pipestone SWCD (5%)
The Pipestone Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) works with both rural and urban landowners to carry out different conservation programs for the use and development of soil and water related resources. The Pipestone SWCD is involved with a diverse selection of conservation programs – Tree Sales, Planting and Matting; Well Sealing; Ag BMP Loans; Rain Gauge Observers; Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP); Wetland Conservation Act (WCA); Conservation Reserve Program (CRP); Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP); Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM); and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).
Contact: 507-825-6765 - http://www.pipestoneswcd.org/
Pope SWCD (90%)
The mission of the Pope Soil and Water Conservation District is to promote, guide, and provide high quality technical assistance for Pope County and for the enhancement and protection of land and water resources through implementation projects that will lead toward effective conservation of soil and water. Programs offered at the Pope SWCD office include Windbreak/ Shelterbelt, Working Lands Initiative, Riparian Buffer, Pope County 8 Lake TMDL Study, Outstanding Conservationist of the Year, and Rosholt Research Farm, which conducts soil and water research. Education initiatives involve both a Jr. Envirothon and Envirothon, Pope & Stevens County Waterfest, Conservation Education Day and Poster Contest.
Contact: 320-634-5327 - http://www.popeswcd.org/
Ramsey SWCD (1%)
The Ramsey Conservation District (RCD) was created by Ramsey County citizen petition in 1973. The RCD was the last of the State’s 90 soil and water conservation districts to be created. Since our inception, we have assisted both public and private land owners prevent soil erosion, repair denuded landscape, protect groundwater, stabilize lake and stream shorelines, protect wetlands, protect the quality of our surface waters from the damaging effects of urban stormwater runoff, and protect open space and wildlife habitat. The Ramsey Conservation District is the bridge between conservation agencies and Ramsey County citizens and local governments to sustain our natural resources through partnerships, technical services and education. Contact: 651-266-7270 - http://www.ramseyconservation.org/
Renville SWCD (75%)
Formed in 1955, the mission of the Renville Soil and Water Conservation District is to insure proper management of the county’s soil and water resources. The District has enrolled the largest number of conservation easement acres in both the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Program and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Renville SWCD works with a diverse selection of partners including local government units, state and federal agencies along with nonprofit groups like Pheasants Forever to help put conservation practices on the ground. One of the more recent easement initiatives helps protect granite rock outcroppings along the Minnesota River.
Contact: 320-523-1559 - http://www.renvilleswcd.com/
Rice SWCD (5%)
Formed in 1942, the mission of the Rice Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to assist local landowners in the management and conservation of soil and water resources by means of educational, financial and technical assistance. Since its inception, the Rice SWCD has been providing technical and financial support to Rice County residents for a wide variety of conservation practices. Some of the programs offered through the Rice SWCD are the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Wetland Restoration Program, Permanent Wetland Reserve Program, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and Environmental Quality incentives Program (EQIP).
Contact: 507-332-5408 - http://www.riceswcd.org/
Scott SWCD (95%)
Since 1941, the Scott Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), has been helping Scott County citizens protect and preserve land and water resources. Scott SWCD is dedicated to working directly with landowners and agencies to promote the wise and sustainable use of land and water resources; to educate and inform the public about these uses; to help solve resource problems within the District; and to serve as a county-wide natural resource information and referral center. The mission or objective of the Scott SWCD is to carry out a well-rounded program of conservation by providing assistance to land occupiers who are applying proper practices to control soil erosion, reduce water pollution and aid in land resource planning on all lands within the District.
Contact: 952-492-5425 - http://www.scottswcd.org/
Sibley SWCD (95%)
From its start on February 11, 1952, the Sibley Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has been committed to the wise use of its soil and water resources. Sibley SWCD can assist with these type of programs and services: State Cost Share, Tree Program, Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM), Wetland Conservation Act (WCA), Septic System Low Interest Loans, Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Contact: 507-237-2948 - http://sibleyswcd.org/
Steele SWCD (5%)
The Steele Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was organized in 1946 for the purpose of being an organization from which all people in Steele County could acquire assistance to develop and apply sound land use treatment measures on land within the county. All land resource users are eligible for resource planning assistance to develop conservation practices that will protect soil from wind and water erosion. Technical assistance is also given to help people apply those conservation practices that will protect surface and subsurface waters from pollution hazards. The mission of the Steele SWCD is to assist in the conservation, development and productive use of soil and water resources so all people may enjoy them now and in the future.
Contact: 507-451-6730 ext. 3 - http://www.steeleswcd.org/
Stevens SWCD (75%)
The mission of the Stevens Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to work with county landowners in putting conservation practices on the land and to help all citizens be good stewards of our natural resources. Some of the duties carried out by the Stevens SWCD include co-administering the Wetland Conservation Act in the county; working with other agencies to promote and assist landowners with conservation programs; provide educational opportunities for both county youth and adults; provide planning and design of conservation projects; and work with MPCA and other counties to coordinate watershed activities including TMDL studies and implementation plans and both water quality and quantity monitoring activities.
Contact: 320-589-4886 ext. 3 - http://www.co.stevens.mn.us/SWCD/index.shtml
Swift SWCD (100%)
A variety of services are offered to landowners and farm operators by the Swift Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). These services include engineering and designing conservation practices to assist in farm planning and installing of tree and grass plantings. For its mission, the Swift SWCD seeks to achieve and maintain the highest quality and quantity of the county’s resources. Swift SWCD will provide protection of land and water resources and is committed to providing assistance to any individual, group or agency that requests help in managing their natural resources.
Contact: 320-842-7201 - http://www.swiftswcd.org/
Redwood SWCD (100%)
Citizens of Redwood County established a Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office in January of 1953 because they were concerned about the affect f wind and water on water quality. Priority concerns for Redwood County include drainage management focusing on wetland restorations and floodwater retention opportunities; surface water quality addressing impaired waters for phosphorus, nitrogen and fecal Coliform bacteria; and erosion and sediment control focusing on residue management county-wide. Some of the conservation programs offered through the Redwood SWCD are the Rock Outcrop Easement, Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) and Native Buffer Program.
Contact: 507-637-2427 ext. 3 - http://www.redwoodswcd.org/
Traverse SWCD (5%)
Contact: 320-563-8218 ext. 3 - http://www.traverseswcd.org/
Waseca SWCD (95%)
The Waseca Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) cooperates with all governmental units to determine, to educate, to assist the implementation of districts, state and federal conservation practices and to promote soil, water and environmental stewardship of the Waseca county natural resources. Programs and services offered at the Waseca SWCD office includes the State Cost Share Program, District Tree Program, reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program, Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
Contact: 507-835-4800 ext. 3 - http://www.wasecaswcd.org/index.htm
Watonwan SWCD (100%)
To assist the people of Watonwan County in the wise management of the quality and quantity of ground and surface water, the wise management of wind and water erosion areas, and to educate landowners to recognize the need for proper soil and water resource management is the mission of the Watonwan Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The Watonwan SWCD is involved in a wide range of programs and services including Ag Best Management Practices Loan Program; State Cost-Share Program; Streaming Monitoring Program; Conservation Easements and other initiatives.
Contact: 507-375-3104 ext. 101 - http://www.co.watonwan.mn.us/department.aspx?Id=8004781c-71c2-4931-af2a-e31177d65127
Otter Tail SWCD (20%)
Two offices handle the soil and water conservation work in Otter Tail County with the Minnesota River Basin work handled by the West Otter Tail office. The mission of the West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to promote the wise and proper use of all natural resources within the District for the economic, environmental, and aesthetic betterment of all. Some of the conservation programs available through the West Otter Tail office include the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve Program, State Cost Share Program, Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)
Contact: 218-739-1308 - http://www.wotswcd.org/
Yellow Medicine SWCD (100%)
Organized on April 17, 1950, the Yellow Medicine Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) strive to maintain and improve water quality and protect the soil. The Yellow Medicine SWCD is involved with promoting Best Management Practices like grass waterways, terraces, water and sediment control basins, wastewater and feedlot runoff control and conservation tillage along with offering technical assistance. Other conservation programs include the Blind Intake Program, Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM), Working Lands initiative Program, Rock Outcrop Program and Conservation Reserve Program. The staff is also committed to introducing and continuing soil and water education to all of the county’s youth and adults for the purpose of conserving and protecting soil and water resources.
Contact: 320-669-4442 ext. 3 - http://www.yellowmedicineswcd.org/