Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Chris Gass
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Until next time

The Green Guy


“Goodbye.” Maybe it’s just me but it seems reserved for formal occasions with suits and ties or when the end just can't come soon enough. The saying goes “out with the old and in with the new” after all, right? Given this, I much prefer the intentionally vague “until next time” which carries with it a likelihood, or at least opportunity, for paths to cross once more.

With that in mind, I say to you readers of Carlton County until next time as I am leaving the SWCD. Hence, this will be my last report to you on the happenings of the District, conservation highlights, and attempting to persuade everyone to pick up a broom and clean up a stormdrain (you can always try it just for fun anyhow, I promise you’d be making a difference)

Fitting with my sendoff, I want to share with you the District’s own farewell it does in memory of the past year, otherwise known as our annual report. In doing so, I hope to convey the impressive impact the SWCD team has, and give our efforts a moment of recognition given that much of it happens outside the public eye.

First and foremost, let me note that the District was an office of 7 for the 2019 year and that we operated a total of 247 days from my estimates. Now given that our foundational focus is on soil and water, its a fitting spot for me to start with. Through our efforts in integrating management on private forests, renovating farm infrastructure, stabilizing private shorelines, and overseeing large public works projects to renovate streams and culverts. We ended up rejuvenating nearly 2 miles of stream and the bordering shoreline habitat, reconnecting 15 miles of streams for trout navigation, and saving 670 tons of sediment plus 656 tons of phosphorus from polluting our waterways while reducing future rates too. Not too shabby I’d say.

Worth highlighting as well was our impact with private landowners. Particularly since we pride ourselves on the motto “Unlocking the Land's Potential” through “Your Land, Your Goals, Our Expertise.” Overall, we assisted with 1,323 acres of private land and dedicated 87% of our efforts to a little over 110 landowners and 12 community groups.

Landowners of today don't exclusively get our attention though, We also worked with the land-dwellers of the future. In total, we engaged with about 450 students through local events and collaboration with 4 schools, giving a total of 31 class presentations, partnering with 7 teachers, and hosting a high school video competition.

Education and engagement is important but so is funding. That’s why we also focus on funding assistance. We provided $748,729 to landowners while operating at a mere $558,301. I make no hesitation in saying that we are an efficient machine and one that really gets the bang for its buck. What’s more, I haven’t even begun the deep dive into all the planning and technical assistance we provided too (find all that in the actual report on our website).

Yes, 2019 was certainly a year for the books, but that is the trend with the District from what I’ve seen (and landowner testimonies seem to say as much too). I cannot express enough the gratitude I have for my peers, our partners, the landowners, and this area in general. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you take the time to reach out to the office and just make a connection. Our service starts with a conversation and we are here to serve you.

Bon voyage, everyone.


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