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Conservation district seeking projects

July 24, 2012
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

The Emmet Soil & Water Conservation District seeks landowners who want to participate in cost-share programs with an eye toward protecting the Tuttle Lake watershed.

According to Seana Godbold, landscape architect and Tuttle Lake watershed coordinator/Soil Conservation technician, there are four to five months remaining in the construction season. Landowners would receive cost share through Watershed Improvement funds, the Conservation Reserve Program and state cost share.

"For watershed projects we are still looking to install projects that aid in the reduction of sediments entering Tuttle Lake," said Godbold. "More specifically, the practices that assist in sediment reduction are farmable wetlands, wetland enhancements, grassed waterways, grade stabilization structures and filter strip plantings. Although these aren't the complete listing of practices available, we can assist each landowner with the most appropriate practice for his/her farm operation or lakeshore property."

Article Photos

Seana Godbold stands before a temporary retention pond at the site of a four-acre wetland now under construction on the Annette and Gene Yackle property just west of Tuttle Lake Campground.
EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Godbold said this is a "last call" for those who want to install conservation practices for the betterment of the Tuttle Lake Watershed Improvements Project.

"As we near the end of the calendar year, it will become increasingly difficult to allow time for the installation of practices," said Godbold. "More importantly, we cannot predict what the weather has in store so it's that more imperative that landowners seek assistance sooner, rather than later. Please call the Emmet County Soil & Water Conservation District if you have resource concerns that need to be addressed."

Godbold said qualifying projects include grass waterways, filter strip planting, grade stabilization and wetland enhancement.

Two very successful projects are a wetland just west of Tuttle Lake and a grassed waterway about a mile south of the Tuttle Lake dam.

Just west of Tuttle Lake Campground, Annette and Gene Yackle are working with the Tuttle Lake Watershed Improvement Project to install an enhanced wetland.

Flanked by Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) filter strips on both sides, the wetland enhancement will trap sediments in an upper basin and the wetland vegetation will filter out phosphorus and other nutrients once it's established. The four-acre wetland intercepts nearly 1,300 acres. The wetland enhancement with the existing filter strips will top 11 acres.

Seventy-five percent of the project expense was funded by the Watershed Improvement Review Board and the remainder by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. This type of conservation practice is ideal in locations where sediments can be filtered out and there is an area adequate to install a wetland, Godbold said.

Along County Road A17, about a mile south of the Tuttle Lake dam, the Ellsworth Community College Board of Trustees have installed a 3.7-acre grassed waterway to prevent gullies from forming along a major drainage way. This practice will drastically reduce the amount of sediment leaving the nearly 350 acres that it drains. Based on the waterway criteria, the Ellsworth Community College trustees chose to enroll these acres in the Conservation Reserve Program.

Grassed waterways are installed where there is concentrated flow, said Godbold, adding that it is especially important in heavier rain events, so the established vegetation prevents the ground surface from being scoured. An area in need of a waterway can become impassable with farm equipment, excessive amounts of topsoil can be lost downstream and it can have adverse affects on neighbors as well.

"Not only does the farmer benefit from having a more stable crossing with an established waterway, they retain more of their fertile soil," Godbold said.

There are other projects in the works within the Tuttle Lake Watershed, but there is room for more. For more information on what programs and practices best suit your needs and whether you're in the watershed or not, please call the Emmet Soil & Water Conservation District at (712)-362-2883.



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