The Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), in partnership with the Menahga Conservation Club, will offer a free nitrate water-testing clinic at the Blueberry Township Hall from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday May 10, 2017. 

Nitrates are the most common contaminants in Minnesota’s groundwater, and in some areas of the state a significant number of wells have high nitrate levels.  With that in mind, experts recommend that private well owners who get their drinking water from wells should test their water regularly. 

To participate in the testing, homeowners are asked to bring at least one-half cup of water in preferably a clean plastic or clean glass container.  To get a good sample, allow the tap to run 5 to 10 minutes before filling the container.  Homeowners with distillation units, reverse osmosis or other nitrate removal systems should take two water samples ‑ one before and one after the treatment process.  This will determine if the system is working.  Homeowners with just a water softener need to take one sample, either before or after the water passes through the water softener. 

Samples should be taken no more than 24 hours before the testing and must be kept refrigerated prior to testing.  To ensure accurate results, homeowners should mark the container with their name, phone number and a well identification number if more than one well is sampled.  Homeowners who wish to remain anonymous should choose an easily recognized “code number” to identify their sample.  It is not necessary to provide information about the well or well location.

Samples will be analyzed on the spot ‑ the process usually takes less than five minutes ‑ and results will be given directly to the homeowner.  If the nitrate level in a sample is elevated, clinic staff can refer the homeowner to certified labs that will retest the water.  For questions about the clinic or how to take a water sample contact the Wadena SWCD at 218-631-3195 x4.

2016 Wadena County Outstanding Conservationists: 
Paul and April Enberg of Verndale

December 16, 2016
The Enberg's utilize a diverse crop rotation including cover crops with deep roots to break up soil compaction and improve soil quality, use nitrification inhibitors with early applications of ammonia to reduce nitrogen loss by volatilization, apply nutrients within 30 days of planned planting dates, and split nitrogen applications prior to planting and after crop emergence.  The Enberg’s installed a rotational grazing system for their beef cows and regularly rotate their cows through paddocks at the prescribed time to optimize grass growth and prevent potential overgrazing.  Manure management is built into this as well to decompose into their soils rather than running off the land.  We feel Paul and April Enberg are worthy of this award.  All of the things they do on their farm, including having a diverse crop rotation, outwintering their cows, planting cover crops, implementing a nutrient management plan and a rotational grazing system, and making their land better for wildlife are what makes our natural resources better.  The Enberg’s don’t do these practices for the recognition but to be good stewards of the land.  Agriculture is needed on the landscape, and with local farmers like them, it has a bright future.   

2017 Clean Water Fund Grant Received

December 14, 2016

Every year the Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR) provides funding to Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) for projects and practices that will help improve water quality and protect water resources in the state, called the Clean Water Fund (CWF).  This funding is available on a competitive basis every year through the Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment, which Minnesota voters passed in 2008.  Grant proposals are written by individual SWCDs, counties, and Watershed Districts for possible projects within the service area of each entity. 

The approved grant will seek to provide cost sharing and incentives for implementing forestry management plans that will be used enrollment in the Sustainable Forestry Incentives Act (SFIA) or tax class 2c managed forestland in the Crow Wing River Watershed.  Both of these enrollments require a minimum of 8-10 years of protection from deforestation.  Forests provide incredible water quality benefits by infiltrating large amounts of rainfall, decreasing runoff, and absorbing nutrients that may be harmful to nearby waterbodies.  Therefore, protection of these forests is crucial because forests preventing nitrate leaching in groundwater, runoff of harmful pollutants into lakes and streams, and providing high quality habitat for wildlife. In addition to assistance writing forestry plans, the SWCD will provide filed training days for common forestry practices, such as tree planting and pruning.

Wadena County Commissioners sign resolution approving the Wadena County Comprehensive Local Water Management Plan on November 7, 2016