Within the Sauk River watershed, producers who implement soil health practices could tap an emerging revenue stream, earning credits for improvements that benefit water quality and sequester carbon. For Ben Mergen, it’s an opportunity to increase profitability on his fifth-generation dairy farm.

Ben Mergen checked a 13-acre Farming Township soybean field on June 29 where he planted soybeans into a living oats-winter rye cover crop this spring. A well-timed chemical application later killed the cover crop. Mergen is among the first in the Sauk River watershed to sign up for a pilot project that could lead to receiving payments for carbon credits. Photo Credits: Ann Wessel, BWSR

Working with Dodge SWCD staff and funds available through an NRCS-BWSR partnership, Currier brothers improve water quality, increase their operation’s efficiency with a new manure pit, nutrient management plan tailored to their Mantorville dairy

By late May, the manure storage facility on the Currier brothers’ Mantorville Township dairy farm in Dodge County held seven months’ worth of manure. It’s built for 12 months of storage, with extra capacity in case of emergency. The cow yard slopes to the pit. Jay (left) and Ben Currier previously had one week’s worth of storage. The facility was installed with assistance from the Lower Mississippi River Feedlot Management in Minnesota Regional Conservation Partnership Project, which is funded jointly by the USDA’s NRCS and by BWSR. Photo Credit: Ann Wessel, BWSR

Clean Water Fund grant cuts risk for producers to try soil health practices that benefit Holland and Edgerton’s drinking water supply management areas

Tom Griebel and Laura DeBeer stood in a grassed waterway on March 31 as they discussed his cereal rye cover crop, in the background. A Clean Water Fund grant from BWSR helps to cut the risk of trying soil health practices meant to reduce nitrates. DeBeer, a Pipestone SWCD-based regional water resources specialist, works with landowners within highly vulnerable wellhead protection areas. Photo Credits: Ann Wessel, BWSR

Kernza grows in mid-April in a field within a drinking water supply management area near the city of Edgerton’s water treatment plant. A perennial wheat grass, Kernza helps to reduce nitrates. Photo Credits: Laura DeBeer, Pipestone SWCD

His advice: ‘You’ve just got to try what you think will work with your mind-set, operation, money — and then adjust it as you go.’

March 31: Pipestone County farmer and Farm Bureau member Tom Griebel checked on cereal rye, AKA winter rye, in a field within Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water’s Holland Drinking Water Supply Management Area. A Clean Water Fund grant from BWSR aims to reduce nitrogen-loading here and in other DWSMAs in the county. Grant dollars offset some of the risk for producers who try cover crops or perennial cover. Photo Credits: Ann Wessel, BWSR

Stormwater work off County Road 66 in Crosslake built upon collaboration among SWCD, county, city, Whitefish Area Property Owners Association

In Crosslake, a stormwater retrofit for Island Loon Lake replaced drainage that sent stormwater directly into the lake. The Crow Wing SWCD project involved the county highway department, the city, the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association and the Crosslakers. It drew from Clean Water Funds from BWSR. Photos Courtesy of Crow Wing SWCD

With North Center and South Center lakes delisted, Chisago SWCD and NRCS staff continue to work with landowners and community partners to advance positive water quality trends emerging throughout the 20-lake chain just north of the metro

Nancy Moe-Mergens and Mike Mergens worked with Chisago SWCD on a lakeshore restoration that replaced invasive grass with native plants. They never intended to have a beach on their North Center Lake property, but Nancy said it’s possible for landowners to incorporate a bit of beach in a restoration. Ten years worth of rural and urban conservation projects are paying off in the 20-lake Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes. Photo Credit: Nancy Moe-Mergens

St. Paul Parks and Recreation, Capitol Region Watershed District’s Clean Water Fund supported work at Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary treats stormwater before it reaches the Mississippi

A north-facing aerial view of Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary in St. Paul shows railroad tracks and Interstate Highway 35 East on the right, and Trout Brook Regional Trail along the left. This image was captured in 2016. Photo Credit: Capitol Region Watershed District

Valley Branch Watershed District’s Clean Water Fund project focuses on reducing phosphorus via stormwater treatment, bio-retention basin, to maintain quality of metro lake book-ended by parks; known for public boat launch, piers, swimming beach

Silver Lake attracts anglers to Joy Park in Maplewood, seen here, and to Silver Lake Park in North St. Paul on the south shore. It supports sunfish and largemouth bass, along with walleye, northern pike, other panfish and channel catfish, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website. Both parks have fishing piers. Joy Park is the site of Maplewood’s only public boat launch. Contributed Photos

City works with willing landowners, Nobles SWCD, Minnesota Rural Water Association on Clean Water Fund project to curb nitrate levels in drinking water

A south-facing view from Adrian’s water treatment plant shows the wellhead protection area. The city’s location just off Interstate Highway 90 has made it more challenging to plant cover crops. The powerlines that parallel the freeway make aerial seeding impossible. In recent years, equipment has become more available for ground seeding. Photo Credits: Ed Lenz, BWSR

Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

Our mission is to improve and protect Minnesota’s water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners.

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