Maximizing benefits in Mower County

Seven miles north of Austin, Minn., a restored wetland complex represents the outcome of several years of work among various conservation partners and landowners. As a result, approximately 33 acres of marginally drained agricultural land has been restored to wetlands within an 86.7 acre conservation easement complex. The results have benefited landowners, the surrounding community, wildlife, and water quality.

Preserving and protecting wild rice

Minnesota is the epicenter of the world’s natural wild rice. Although once found throughout most of the state, today the heart of the state’s wild rice acreage falls within an eight-county area: Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, St. Louis, and Wadena. Wild rice shoreland encompasses a complex of shallow lakes, rivers, and shallow bays of deeper lakes that are important not just for wild rice, but wetland-dependent wildlife species. Protecting shoreland and preserving it in an undeveloped state has benefits for the wild rice crop, wildlife, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Bringing conservation to the next generation

When it comes to learning new things, hands-on experience is often the perfect way to bringing education to life. For the Southwest Minnesota Association of Conservation Districts, this means giving students the opportunity to get their hands dirty: seeing, touching, and even tasting what they’re learning about. Since 1992, the 11-county coalition has provided a unique, interactive experience for the region’s students to learn about and better understand the importance of our natural resources and make connections between themselves and the world in which they live.

Higher education meets Clean Water in Stearns County

Stearns County residents are justly proud of two features of their local community: higher education and clean water. With five universities and colleges within its boundaries, higher education is a cornerstone of life within the county. The Mississippi River and many lakes and rivers enhance the county residents’ quality of life. Now, higher education is taking a stand for clean water. Saint Cloud State University and Saint John’s are enhancing the natural environment through the installation of water quality improvement projects on their campuses.