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SWCD Board Election Filings Begin May 17

Individuals interested in natural resource management in Dakota County should consider filing May 17 to May 31 to run for the position of Supervisor of the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).

Soil and Water Conservation Districts are political subdivisions of the State and are governed by an elected Board of five Supervisors. Each Board Supervisor represents a district within the County and each district is defined by population. 
“Supervisors play an important role in a wide variety of natural resource management issues at the local level, including water quality, soil erosion, stormwater management, agricultural conservation and land protection” noted Brian Watson, District Manager of the Dakota County SWCD. 
“Serving as a supervisor is a terrific opportunity for people who want a voice in how we manage our environment and place conservation on the land” he said. SWCDs are special purpose units of government that manage and direct local conservation activities with landowners and communities. An elected Board of Supervisors governs each of Minnesota’s 90 SWCDs.

Due to recent redistricting, the Dakota County SWCD has all five Supervisor positions up for election. SWCD candidates appear on the ballot during the general election which will take place on November 8.  Again, individuals who wish to be on the ballot must file for candidacy between May 17 and May 31.
Election terms are four-years. However, because all five districts are up for election there is a need to stagger terms for future elections. For the 2016 election, Supervisors representing districts 1, 2 and 3 will serve four-year terms and districts 4 and 5 will serve two-year terms.
District 1 includes the City of Coates, Douglas Township, City of Hampton, Hampton Township, Marshan Township, City of Meisville, City of New Trier, Nininger Township, City of Randolph, Randolph Township, Ravenna Township, City of Rosemount, City of Vermillion, Vermillion Township, and sections of Apple Valley and Lakeville.
District 2 includes the cities of Lilydale, Mendota, Mendota Heights, South St. Paul, Sunfish Lake and West St. Paul, and sections of Inver Grove Heights.
District 3 includes the City of Eagan, and sections of Apple Valley and Inver Grove Heights.
District 4 includes the City of Burnsville, and sections of Apple Valley.
District 5 includes Castle Rock Township, Empire Township, Eureka Township, City of Farmington, Greenvale Township, City of Lakeville, City of Northfield, Sciota Township, and Waterford Township.
A more detailed description of each Supervisor district, including precinct numbers, can be found on the Dakota County SWCD webpage at
Supervisors meet monthly to discuss the business of the SWCD including conservation priorities, grant opportunities, coordination with other local units of government or state and federal agencies and set legislative priorities. Supervisors receive compensation for attending meetings and are reimbursed for related expenses. Soil and Water Conservation Districts do not have taxing or land use authorities.
Any eligible voter that is 21 years old and lives in a nomination district up for election can file for that SWCD Board vacancy.
If you are interested in filing for an SWCD Board Supervisor position a “Minnesota Affidavit of Candidacy” is available from the Dakota County Election and Voter Registration Department, and there is a $20 filing fee. More information can be obtained at or by calling (651) 438-4380.  Information about the Dakota SWCD programs and activities are available at If you would like more information you may also contact the SWCD Office at (651) 480-7777.

Dakota County Irrigation Management 

Want to try scheduling irrigation based on soil moisture? Agricultural producers are invited to participate in an incentive program to increase efficiency of center pivot irrigation systems, and, as a result, better manage water use and fertilizer.

Dakota County, Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization (VRWJPO), University of Minnesota Extension, and Dakota Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) are providing this incentive program. At least 30 fields are necessary to carry out the program during the 2016 growing season. 

Many good technologies and services exist to provide field-specific soil moisture and irrigation scheduling with varying costs. The incentive program will provide services to collect field-specific moisture and direct assistance to producers using the “Irrigation Scheduling Checkbook,” a tool to assist in irrigation water management. The total annual cost to provide these services is $600/field. The program will provide $400/field, so the producer is responsible for the remaining $200/field. If a producer wishes to use technologies and services with higher costs than what is provided, the producer can still utilize the program, but will be responsible for the remaining costs. University of Minnesota Extension staff will provide program participants information about field-measured soil moisture conditions and consultation on scheduling their next irrigation cycle.

Water use and fertilizer management have received heightened scrutiny in recent years for their potential impacts on surface and groundwater quality and quantity. As a result, regulations on water use and fertilizer management may be developed by State agencies in coming years. The organizations offering this program want to assist agricultural producers in being proactive in advance of potential regulations by demonstrating measures to improve surface and groundwater quality and quantity and thereby potentially avoiding regulatory burdens.

Questions or are interested in taking part in this incentive program? Please contact Ashley Gallagher at the Dakota County SWCD at (651) 480-7781 by May 1, 2016.

Landscaping for Clean Water Workshops

Attend a Landscaping for Clean Water Introduction Workshop to learn about creating beautiful gardens that help keep water clean. Creating landscaped areas with native plants or gardens that soak up rainwater is the secret to leisurely living in great looking yards. Attend a Landscaping for Clean Water workshop to see how others in your city have created great looking landscaped areas that benefit local lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

**Pre-registration for the free workshop is required. 
To register, please call the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District at (651) 480-7777 or register online using the link below!
Register for a Landscaping for Clean Water Workshop!
After seeing dozens of affordable designs that have transformed urban landscapes to beautiful retreats, participants can attend a Landscaping for Clean Water Design Workshop to receive professional assistance to create a design for your yard!

Citizen Stream Monitoring Program

The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District is partnering with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization and the North Cannon River Watershed Management Organization to engage local community members in  monitoring both the Vermillion River and North Cannon River watersheds!
Volunteers participating in the Citizen Stream Monitoring Program will be asked to visit their stream monitoring site once per week to monitor water transparency (using a Secchi tube), as well water level and appearance. Data will be submitted to the MPCA and used to assess the water quality of rivers and streams in Minnesota.
For more information about how you can become involved with the Citizen Stream Monitoring Program, please contact Lindsey Albright at (651) 480-7783.

Women Caring for the Land Workshop

Women who own or manage farmland in Dakota and surrounding counties are invited to a free conservation discussion and field tour on Wednesday, May 25th in Farmington. 

Coffee and registration begin at 8:30 a.m. and the program starts at 9 AM. 
A free lunch is provided and the program will end with wrap-up and dessert by 3 p.m.

Women Caring For the Land is an innovative program sponsored by the Women, Food & Agriculture Network (WFAN) and facilitated in Minnesota by Renewing the Countryside. It brings together women landowners in an informal, discussion-based learning format that enables these land owners to meet with female conservation professionals to discuss their goals for improving air, water and soil quality on the land they own and to engage in different activities that teach conservation principles.

Topics for discussion range from managing soil and water conservation to government cost-share programs to how to talk with tenants about changing management practices, and how to participate in Minnesota's new Agricultural Water Quality Certification program. A specialized curriculum has been developed for this program, featuring activities that bring issues such as diversity and soil erosion to life. After a facilitated morning conversation discussion and lunch, participants go on a guided tour of area farmland to see these principles and practices in action.

Regional hosts for the workshop include Renewing the Countryside, Dakota County SWCD, NRCS, University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Department of Agriculture. These workshops are made possible with funding from a Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Register for the workshop on the 'Renewing the Countryside' website Events page, by clicking the link below, or by calling Beth Kallestad at (507) 301-9900.
Register for the Women Caring for the Land Workshop

Burnsville Native
Plant Market

Every spring, the City of Burnsville hosts a Native Plant Market  as a way to encourage people to grow native plants in their yards. In addition to beautifying the community, native plants provide food for pollinators, help improve water quality, and require less care than traditional garden plants.

Native wildflowers, ferns, and grasses will be available for sale from multiple vendors.This is a farmers market style event and each vendor operates their own market stall and is paid separately.
Attendees should arrive early for the best selection! The event is held rain or shine!
Only cash and checks are accepted as payment – no credit cards!
Event Information
What: Native Plant Market
When: Saturday, May 21, 2016
Where: Parking lot across from City Hall (100 Civic Center Parkway)
Who: Open to all
(including non-residents)

Township Stormwater

The University of Minnesota Extension Water Resources team agreed to share information about the MPCA’s stormwater permit requirements and outreach materials with MN township staff over a series of 15 meetings throughout the state this spring.

Like other forms of local government, township staff want a better understanding of stormwater requirements to help identify problems and work with permittees on compliance.
These short courses are the result of a partnership between MPCA and the Minnesota Association of Townships.

We believe that working together is a good way to achieve our shared water quality goals.  Partnerships are a great way to help regulated parties understand regulations and achieve compliance through various local government channels. 

For more information, please visit 
 U of M Extension Water Resources  webpage. 

City of Inver Grove Heights Honored 

The City of Inver Grove Heights Public Works Department was presented with the Environmental Leadership Award, which honors an individual, company, government agency, or organization that has demonstrated leadership in the erosion and sediment control or stormwater management field. The city was recognized by the Minnesota Erosion and Sediment Control Association at their annual conference.

A highlight of the award was the city’s proactive approach in the northwest area of the city. That portion of the city is landlocked and the city has developed ordinances and guidelines for land development that use Low Impact Development (LID) techniques. LID techniques mimic how rainwater naturally moves through the landscape and use practices such as raingardens and preserving natural vegetation, wetlands, and grass swales to maintain the natural ability of the land to soak in water.

The City of Inver Grove Heights has been a strong partner with the Dakota County SWCD on a number of projects that help protect local rivers, lakes, and wetlands. The city has installed almost 50 curbside raingardens during city street reconstruction projects, six bioretention cells, restored a quarter mile of shoreline on Bohrer Pond, and incorporated multiple stormwater practices while renovating the city hall. These projects capture and remove pollutants which could otherwise harm local lakes and rivers.  
Copyright © 2016 Dakota County Soil & Water Conservation District, All rights reserved.

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