For 25 years, the conservationists at the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources’ (BWSR) have been cleaning the state’s water, improving soil productivity and restoring wildlife habitat on private lands.
And for much of that time, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has been a partner to the state agency.
Working together with local offices, the two agencies assist private landowners with conservation practices that reduce soil erosion, improve water cleanliness and enhance habitat in Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands.
John Jaschke, executive director of the agency, says what makes BWSR so special is the strong network of local agencies working together on a common conservation concerns.
“Landowners need to trust the people who work with them, and partnerships are key for creating those relationships,” he says.
The close collaboration of local conservation districts with state and federal agencies and conservation organizations has proven effective again and again, Jaschke says.
As an example, he explains that nearly 40,000 acres of the 200,000 acres of wetlands and upland habitat that have been restored through the state’s fund-matching Reinvest in Minnesota program were cooperatively funded by NRCS’ Wetlands Reserve Program, in partnership with local conservation organizations.
In the last decade, BWSR and NRCS’ ability to weave their programs together has strengthened the partnerships that both BWSR and NRCS have at the local level, said Jaschke. Many of the private landowners who invest their own money in conservation practices appreciate the seamless coordination between the local, state and federal conservation programs that help them resolve resource concerns on their land.
Don A. Baloun, Minnesota NRCS state conservationist, says that BWSR and NRCS have accomplished a lot over the past 25 years, but that much work needs to be done in the state to continue to conserve natural resources.
“We look forward to our partnership continuing and growing for another very productive quarter-century of helping the citizens of Minnesota improve our precious land and water,” he says.
On July 21, the Board of Soil and Water Resources will celebrate the 25-year history of the Reinvest in Minnesota program. NRCS Chief Dave White will be speaking at this milestone event, which will be held at the Straight River Marsh south of Owatatonna, Minnesota.
Follow NRCS on Twitter.
Check out other conservation stories on the USDA blog.