Prevention of water quality problems is less expensive than fixing them later

Isanti County Water Plan Task Force
Submitted Article

The Isanti County Water Plan Task Force is a group of individuals from the public and private sector that focuses on improving and maintaining the integrity of our lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands.

Its members are appointed by the Isanti County Board. The group meets regularly to go over various projects and discusses budget and implementation strategies for achieving water quality. The group operates under the contents of the Isanti County Water Plan, which is compatible with the County’s Comprehensive Plan. The Water Plan can be found on the County’s Web site at

Some tasks that the group performs include updating the Isanti County Water Plan, coordinating 6th-Grade Conservation Day and assisting in securing grants for clean water projects. The Water Plan outlines the strategies that will be used to achieve water quality now and into the future. It is a 10-year plan, and the group is doing a 5-year review. The 6th-Grade Conservation Day is an annual half-day event, which features environmental professionals running several stations with different activities for the 6th-graders.

Isanti County was recently awarded a grant for approximately $65,000 from the Clean Water Legacy Program, which is a grant from the Board of Soil and Water Resources. The money will be used in the county for the design and construction of two demonstration rain gardens and for installation of native plants to act as buffers along water bodies. The projects will protect water quality and provide erosion control.

Rain gardens are shallow basins that are commonly planted with deep-rooted, native vegetation designed to capture stormwater prior to running off into a lake, river, stream or wetland.  The water is used by the plants and the remaining water is allowed to naturally infiltrate into the ground.

Buffers are planted to capture and filter runoff before running off into a lake, river, stream or wetland.  The plantings are, once again, deep rooted and oftentimes taller than turfgrass, which make them more effective at lessening the amount of pollutants such as grass clippings, manure, fertilizers and pesticides from running off impervious surfaces like streets, driveways and parking lots, people’s yards and farm fields and into these water bodies.

These proven pollution prevention best management practices will not only help to protect the environment, but also save money in the long run, as clean-up measures cost more than these practices.