Services and Programs

Programs Services
  • Survey & Design assistance
  • Rain Gardens
  • Water monitoring
  • Tree tubes
  • Fabric
  • Food plot seed
  • Tree planting
  • Native grass planting
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Rain Barrels



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Conservation Buffers

Conservation buffers are strips or other areas with trees or grass that help control pollutants, erosion, or other environmental concerns. Filter strips, riparian buffers, field borders, grassed waterways, field windbreaks, shelterbelts and contour grass strips areall examples of conservation buffers. 

You can use conservation buffers along streams, around lakes or wetlands, and they can be installed within fields or at field edges.  Buffers are most effective when they are combined with other practices such as conservation tillage, nutrient management, and integrated pest management.  Together these practices can provide you with an effective, profitable conservation program.

There are existing programs available to assist landowners who wish to install a buffer. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) can pay a rental rate and provide cost share for planting grasses on buffers.  A landowner can get points for enrolling in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for existing buffers or can add buffers or width to existing buffers as an enhancement.  In addition the State of Minnesota Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program will pay landowners to enroll a buffer in a perpetual conservation easement.

Buffers benefit all of us by providing wildlife habitat and improving water quality.  They help trap snow & snirt and slow down spring runoff and downstream flooding.  They trap sediment which can reduce ditch cleanout costs and reduce pollution from sediment in downstream watercourses.

Buffer Law

In June of 2015, Governor Dayton signed into law a new buffer initiative aimed at enhancing protection of Minnesota's waters.  The buffer initiative will help protect the state's water resources from erosion and runoff pollution by establishing roughly 110,000 acres of buffer along waterways.

The new law generated a signifcant amount of interest, and landowners likely have many questions about how it will impact their property.  The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, which will oversee the process, is working to get program details underway.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is beginning to create the buffer protection maps that will determine what waters are subject to the new law.  Completion of these maps is expected by July 2016.

Landowners may install buffers on their own at any time, or they can wait until those maps are complete in 2016.  The new law specifies November 2017 as the deadline for establishment of 50-foot wide buffers on public waters and November 2018 for 16.5-foot wide buffers on public drainage systems.

For more information about the buffer law, please visit:

Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP)           

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect our water.  Those who implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years.

Through this program certifed farms receive: regular certainty, recognition, and priority for technical and financial assistance. Rich and Carol Radtke were the first certified farm in Kandiyohi County. 

More information is available with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at or contact the Kandiyohi SWCD at 320-235-3906 ext 3.                                   

 MN Walk-In Access Program (download flyer)

The State of MN has received federal funding to compensate landowners to open their habitat acres to public hunting. This is a cooperative effort by the MN Board of Water & Soil Resources, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Pheasants Forever (PF) and Soil and Water Conservation Districts.  Here are some of the highlights of this VOLUNTARY program:

  • Targeted at lands already enrolled in federal or state conservation programs like CRP, CREP,
    RIM, WRP
  • Minimum size of 40 acres, with a bonus payment for more than 160 acres
  • Landowners afforded state protection from liability, unlike private leases
  • Access during all open hunting seasons (including spring turkey season)
  • DNR Conservation Officers responsible for any enforcement action
  • Landowner payments range from $10-$13/ac. based on size and duration of enrollment
  • Signage to mark property boundaries is provided by the program

The Walk-In Access (WIA) program is limited to a 46 county area in southwestern Minnesota.  The Walk in Access (WIA) program began in 2011 and has grown from 10,000 acres to 24,000 acres in 2015. There are approximently1,200 acres in the Walk in Access (WIA) program in Kandiyohi County. The sign up period for this program is scheduled for January 23, 2018 thur April 28, 2018.

Walk In Access website:

For more information on this voluntary program, please call the Kandiyohi SWCD at 320.235.3906 ext. 3.


The Kandiyohi SWCD monitors wells for ground water levels and for nitrates.

The Kandiyohi SWCD monitors wells for groundwater levels for the DNR.  The wells are measured  monthly  and reported to the DNR.  The water level readings are available via the DNR web page.  The water level readings are analyzed for impacts of specific events and for trends in aquifer response to human activities. 

Concerns about high nitrates levels in private drinking water wells led to the development of the Central Sands Private Well Network starting in 2011.  Kandiyohi County is one of the 14 counties involved in the monitoring with the Minnesota Dept of Agriculture.  A monitoring network will provide a better understanding of nitrate trends in the region and will be used to educate priviate well owners about the quality of their drinking water.  This project will help answer the questions:  Are nitrate concentrations in private drinking water wells increasing, decreasing or staying the same?

Rainfall Monitoring Program

The Kandiyohi SWCD operates a Rainfall Monitoring Program throughout the county. Rain Gauges are read and recorded daily by our volunteers.  At the end of each month our volunteers submit their readings to the SWCD.  The SWCD then submits the data records to the statewide archives maintained by the State Climatology Office.

The information is recorded in a database that is used to graph averages at the state Climatology Office. This information is used for lake level and stream flow predictions, tracking drought conditions, predicting future weather conditions, and for basic knowledge. This data has been proven to be helpful at the local and statewide levels. 

We currently have a number of rain gauge monitors, but continue to seek volunteers.  We provide the official rain gauges and data sheets free of charge.  If you are interested in becoming a volunteer of the Rainfall Monitoring Program, please stop by our office or call us at 320-235-3906 ext 3 for further information. 

To view maps, current conditions, recent weather events, and additional information, go to:   

2017 Cover Crop Cost Share Program

The Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will be offering to Kandiyohi County residents a cost share program to establish cover crops planted, between June 15 and September 16, 2017. 

See the information below for the guidelines for the Cover Crop cost Share program.  Please talk with us BEFORE you plant or buy the seed!

*Cost share up to 75% of costs to plant cover crops, with maximum payment of $2,000 per landowner.
*Cost share application must be signed and approved BEFORE seeding!
*Seed mix must be comprised of at least two species approved by the SWCD.
*No fall tillage, No harvesting of cover crop or excessive grazing (as determined by the SWCD).
*Invoices, seed tags, and field inspection are required before payment is made.
*Ineligible for this cost share if you receive cover crop incentive and or cost share payment through any other program. (e.g. EQIP, CSP)
*Cost share is available to producers in Kandiyohi County!
*This program requires at least two species in the seed mix. Planted combinations of Oats, Radish, Turnips, Vetch, Rye, Tritcale, and Rape seed.
Kandi Creek Watershed:

The Kandiyohi SWCD received a Clean Water Fund Grant from the Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR) to address the water quality and quantity concerns in the Kandi Creek Watershed.  The Kandi Creek Watershed is located in Kandiyohi County a few miles east of Willmar.  The 7.40 square mile (4,736 acres) watershed generally flows from North to South with its headwaters approximately 1 mile north of the City of Kandiyohi and outlets into County Ditch 23a which is approximately 1 mile upstream of Lake Wakanda.  The main channel grade within the watershed varies between 2.5 and 52 ft/mile with an average grade of 12.1 ft/mile.

This Clean Water Grant will allow the SWCD to address excessive nutrients (phosphorus) in addition to excess total suspended soilids from field and in-channel sources.  This grant is a phase one approach to resolving these issues by focusing on watershed management in Kandi Creek, a tributary into Lake Wakanda.  Lake Wakanda is a significant resource that has become deeply degraded by years of altered hydrology, urban channelization, and increased agricultural pressures.  This project includes a number of in-field and in-channel best management practices to reduce sediment and nutrient pollution.

This project is geared to take our local efforts and partnerships beyond the scope of our mandated work and will add additional incentive dollars towards conservation in this area. This grant would allow local natural resources entities to take our work to the next level to make a positive impact on downstream users and ecosystems.
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