How wetland easements fixed a ditch, added water storage in Lincoln County

The project saved farmers $175,000, curbed flooding and augmented wildlife habitat. Communication and coordination at the local, state and federal level — plus easement agreements with willing landowners — made it happen. Partners included the SWCD, Yellow Medicine River Watershed District, Area II joint powers board, Minnesota Department of Transportation, NRCS.

The restored wetland on Steve Snyder’s Lincoln County property west of Ivanhoe filled shortly after work was complete. Seen here in summer 2019, it lies within an 80-acre parcel that the previous owner had enrolled in CREP. Today, it’s part of a multi-agency, three-landowner project that fixed a 100-year-old ditch system at a fraction of the cost while providing flood mitigation and habitat benefits. Photo Credit: Steve Snyder
Raising a township road made it possible to increase floodwater storage on Snyder’s land to 61 acre-feet. The entire project involved three landowners, two wetland restorations and a flowage easement. Photo Credit: Area II Minnesota River Basin Projects
On Stan Gorecki’s 60-acre RIM easement, Area II helped to design and install a pump station that lifts water 12 feet from tile that’s part of Lincoln County Ditch 37, and sends it south through Steve Snyder’s restored wetland to Minnesota Highway 19, where it becomes a Yellow Medicine River tributary. Photo Credit: Area II Minnesota River Basin Projects
Water pumped by the lift station from the tile first enters this basin, seen after snow melt in April 2018. Photo Credit: Area II Minnesota River Basin Projects
The view looking north on April 3, 2020, shows the restored wetlands at their maximum water-holding capacity. The Snyder property is to the west, the Steffe flowage easement is to the the east side, and the Gorecki property is straight north of Snyder’s land. Photo Credit: Lincoln SWCD
Stan Gorecki, 87, raised sheep and ran nearly 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans in Lincoln County. He’s retired from farming and truck driving, but still hunts the land. His four children grew up hunting; a grandson and nephews from the Twin Cities have hunted the RIM easement. Courtesy Photo
Steve Snyder, 68, grew up hunting waterfowl and upland birds near Marshall. He’s easing out of his bleacher and grandstand business, Ellendale-based Seating and Athletic Facility Enterprises, and has acquired about 550 acres in Lincoln and Lyon counties with retirement income in mind. He raises English setters, and runs pointing dog field trials on the national grouse circuit. Courtesy Photo

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