Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District celebrates 50 years

Fifty years ago, the people of Isanti County petitioned the State for the establishment of the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District.

Since then, they’ve changed with the times while always focusing on water, soil and wildlife. Conservation districts are local units of government that specialize in assisting private landowners with habitat and erosion control on their own property.

Pictured, from left are, Jamie Schurbon-District Manager; Ryan Carpenter-Supervisor; Roger Larsen-Supervisor; Annette Swanson-Administrative Assistant; Wayne Calander-Supervisor; and Ron Shelito-Regional Supervisor BWSR. Not pictured are Al Koczur-Supervisor, and Barb Kilpatrick-Supervisor.

Pictured, from left are, Jamie Schurbon-District Manager; Ryan Carpenter-Supervisor; Roger Larsen-Supervisor; Annette Swanson-Administrative Assistant; Wayne Calander-Supervisor; and Ron Shelito-Regional Supervisor BWSR. Not pictured are Al Koczur-Supervisor, and Barb Kilpatrick-Supervisor.

They provide expert advice, as well as access to local, state and federal conservation dollars.

On Aug. 20, Ron Shelito, Regional Supervisor from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, presented the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District board and staff with a plaque commemorating 50 years of conservation.

He noted that 80 percent of that state agency’s dollars are passed through to local agencies, especially conservation districts. So, the Isanti SWCD is a key link between state resources and local knowledge.

Over the past several years, the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District has restored native prairie, stabilized riverbank and fixed erosion.

Wayne Calander, the Conservation District Chairman, said, “While we have done good work in the past, the board is really excited about the things we are planning to do in the future.”

Jamie Schurbon, Conservation District Manager, agreed, and added that “Isanti County looks much different than 50, or even 15, years ago.  We’ll adapt to make sure we maintain the Rum River, wetlands, and wildlife that are such a big part of this community’s character.”

Conservation Districts are eligible to apply for funding through the state’s appropriation for the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment. This funding is based upon competitive grant applications.

“These grants are an excellent way for good projects to be vetted, and great projects to get installed,” Schurbon said.

The Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District can be reached at 763-689-3224.

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