The Conservation Dashboard will provide the Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District, its water plan, and local landowners a system to target, prioritize, and measure resource needs and effective conservation implementation within the subwatersheds of Carlton County. The Dashboard will identify where data gaps exist, translate the data in a way that partners and landowners easily understand, and insert Best Management Practice recommendations onto the county webmapping tool, used by citizens.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been decimating ash throughout the Great Lake States and is currently advancing into Minnesota, threatening the future of the ash forests that occur across much of the state. Of particular concern is the impact EAB will have on the ecology and functioning of black ash swamps, which cover over one million acres in Minnesota and represent the state’s most common ash forest type. Black ash trees grow and thrive in swamps and occupy a unique wet niche where few other tree species grow.
Minnesota has 9.5 million acres of public forest lands that play an important role in sustaining Minnesota’s environment and economy. The policies and programs used by public timber sale programs can impact post-harvest ecological conditions and have pronounced effects on the composition, structure, and productivity of the forest in the future. Additionally, timber harvesting revenues play an important role in economic activity, employment, and tax revenue.
Minnesota has 15.9 million acres of forest land managed by a variety of county, state and federal agencies, and private landowners for timber production, wildlife habitat, and ecological considerations. Forest managers rely on inventory data to make effective planning and management decisions. Because forests are continually changing through natural and human processes, forest inventory data is periodically updated. However, doing so is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor and, as a result, much of Minnesota’s forest inventory data is currently out of date.
Demand for Engineering services in Northeast Minnesota's nine-county Area III Technical Service Area is exceeding the capacity to deliver the needed services. There are increased requests from Soil and Water Conservation Districts for engineering needed to design and install Best Management Practices in part due to requests related to Clean Water Fund projects. These funds will be used to hire an engineer, which will increase engineering capacity and result in the completion of at least five additional projects per year.
The Kettle River is a major tributary in the St. Croix River Basin. It is a State Wild and Scenic River and designated canoe route. Reducing sediment and nutrient pollution to the Kettle will protect water quality within the watershed and will also benefit the St. Croix River and help to address excess nutrient loading in Lake St. Croix. This project is a partnership between Carlton, Pine, Kanabec, and Aitkin SWCDs, with the Carlton SWCD acting as the project administrator.
Native to the western United States and Canada, mountain pine beetle is considered the most devastating forest insect in North America. Trees usually die as a result of infestation and an unprecedented outbreak in the west is currently decimating pine forests there. While mountain pine beetle is not presently believed to reside in Minnesota, there are risks posed by an expanding species range resulting from warming climate and the potential for accidental introduction via lumber imports from infested areas.
Northern white cedar wetland plant communities provide unique ecological, economic, and wetland functions, including high value timber, long-term carbon storage, winter refuge for deer and other wildlife, wildlife habitat, and thermal buffering for brook trout streams. However, these plant communities have been declining in Minnesota for decades mostly as a result of development impacts. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at improving the quantity and quality of white cedar wetland plant communities in Minnesota.
This project will fund the stream restoration of a failed, 30-year old sediment control structure in the Deer Creek subwatershed using natural channel design methods to restore the stream to a stable state. Since the dam breached an estimated 78 tons of sediment is transported annually to the turbidity-impaired Deer Creek.
This project is planned in the Skunk Creek subwatershed, which empties into the turbidity impaired Nemadji River. The goal of the project will restore the stream and stabilize the bank where a 30 year old sediment retention structure failed, releasing sediment into the Nemadji Watershed. In addition, remaining structures within the watershed will be prioritized and a discussion between land owners and permitting organizations will be initiated. This project will prevent an estimated 80 tons of sediment from annually entering into the Nemadji River.
The Red Clay Project was a 1970's era project that encompassed watersheds in Northeast Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin draining to Lake Superior. In Minnesota, efforts focused on sediment retention structures in two subwatersheds of the Nemadji River Basin in Carlton County. Sixteen structures were constructed in the Skunk Creek Watershed and four structures were constructed in the Deer Creek Watershed. The design life of these structures was 10-25 years depending on the specific project and the design life has now been exceeded.
This pilot program protected 1,210 acres of wild rice lake shoreland habitat in the Northern Forest Section by securing 14 permanent RIM conservation easements and four fee-title acquisitions, surpassing our goal of 700 acres, and doing so $250,202 under budget.
Twenty six easements protecting 1,173.3 were recorded which exceeded the original proposal by 173 acres (15%). 11.6 miles of shoreline were protected which exceeded the 8 acre goal by 30%. Total expenditure was $1,355,000 which was 17% lower than originally budgeted. No fee-title land acquisition opportunities on wild rice lakes that fit within DNR and other government agency land plans were available during this time period thus DU did not expend any of the $100,000 budgeted for fee-title acquisition. Instead the program focused on RIM easements.
This Phase IV continuation of the Wild Rice Shoreland Protection project will acquire approximately 900 acres of permanent easements (~18) and 13 acres in fee title translating to approximately 6 miles of wild rice shoreland habitat in the Northern Forest