Matlack column: Carlton County's 2020 conservation awards
Although we cannot gather for an event, the SWCD board and staff would like to highlight some outstanding work in the county performed by some of the many property owners we serve.
For many years the Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has recognized outstanding conservation efforts by county property owners, contractors, developers, conservation groups, legislators and agency partners.
For the first time since its inception in 1961, the Carlton SWCD will not have a formal program for this public recognition. Due to ongoing restrictions brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic, the SWCD Board voted recently to suspend its annual recognition event that normally takes place in the fall.
But that’s not the end of this story. Although we cannot gather for an event, the SWCD board and staff would like to highlight some outstanding work in the county performed by some of the many property owners we serve.
The SWCD took over management of two pieces of tillage equipment in mid-June to provide a low cost rental option to try new or different tillage methods that improve soil health, and the agricultural community responded. In the first month of this new service, nine farmers from around the county rented equipment to implement conservation practices on pastures and cropland they own. Great job and thanks for being an example in your communities.
In another new program, the SWCD sold native plant kits to 136 property owners for planting to provide much needed pollinator habitat. These 136 people are doing voluntary conservation that will help turn the tables on the decline in habitat for bees, birds, butterflies and even bats. Congratulations everyone. Keep up the great work.
Over the Summer SWCD staff completed a draft of the newest water plan for Carlton County. It was a collaborative project that included over 27 individuals from this area who participated in meetings and a tour to provide feedback to our planning team. They displayed a deep respect for the wildlife and natural places unique to the Nemadji River Watershed. They gave hours of their time to help develop this first of its kind water plan in Carlton, and the SWCD honors their passionate contribution.
Often in recognizing conservation efforts in Carlton County, the SWCD can only celebrate the specific larger efforts of a few outstanding conservationists. But for 2020, the SWCD recognizes smaller, but nonetheless valuable, contributions from some of the many citizens of the county. Together, these citizens are improving water and soil resources and creating critical habitat for some of our smallest wildlife doing the most important work of pollinating our gardens, fruit trees, and wildflowers. Thank you to all these vital voluntary conservationists in our community.
Brad Matlack is the manager of the Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District. He invites anyone to get involved in conservation at any scale through the many projects and programs the SWCD offers. Get started today at CarltonSWCD.org .