Dollars available for conservation

Published 3:37 pm Saturday, October 30, 2010

State flood recovery dollars will be made available for Freeborn County landowners with conservation-based flood damage.

According to Don Flatness, manager with the Freeborn County Soil and Water Conservation District, recovery dollars will be made available for landowners with erosion damage or areas that experience frequent flooding. He said that damaged areas could possibly receive 100 percent of the cost of repair.

“If you’re thinking the frequency of flooding is such that you should put your land in a set-aside program, you should call us,” said Flatness.

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He said SWCD will then follow-up with field assessments.

After field assessments, SWCD will compile all names into a list and present these in a meeting with state officials on Nov. 16.

Flatness said Freeborn County SWCD would like to have as many names as possible on this list because while he doesn’t know how much funding Freeborn County qualifies for, it will most likely be based on needs.

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources received $13 million through the flood disaster relief law signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty following the special legislative session on Oct. 18. The money be available to landowners in Freeborn County and the 28 additional disaster-declared counties across the state.

The appropriation to BWSR includes $10 million for the Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve conservation easement program and $3 million to install, repair, or rehabilitate erosion and sediment control projects in the disaster area to protect soil and water quality and to support fish and wildlife habitat.

The RIM Reserve dollars will be used to acquire permanent easements from willing landowners to restore floodplains, buffers and wetlands.

BWSR is pursuing supplemental, complementary or matching federal funds for these easements and will give priority for site selection and design to flood-prone areas or flood attenuation and retention areas.

BWSR reported that the $10 million for RIM Reserve is expected to leverage $10 to $15 million in federal dollars through the USDA Wetland Reserve Program or through other funds made available because of the federal disaster declaration.

To report conservation-based flood damage, landowners should contact Flatness as soon as possible at 507-373-5607 Ext. 3.