The Lasting Impact of Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

The Anoka Conservation District (ACD) has been a long-time partner of Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa (CCMI) and this tradition continues in 2023. This year, ACD was awarded 32 CCMI crew days to be used towards implementing streambank stabilization practices along the Rum River in Anoka County. Crews are deployed, a week or more at a time, to a specific project site. ACD will act as the project host to coordinate projects, provide equipment and materials, and utilize ACD's expertise for extensive on-site training and education.

The majority of Corpsmembers are recent college graduates and these field crew positions provide members the opportunity to learn how soil and water conservation districts and other professional organizations operate. ACD strives to provide in-depth training on project installation, project goals, site identification, and touch on other critical aspects of a project. Additionally, extensive time in the field allows ACD staff get to know the Corpsmembers and contribute insight into their professional development and growth within their career path.

CCMI field crews serve the greater outdoors by restoring habitat, managing natural resources, and occasionally responding to natural disasters or emergency needs of a community. The Field Crew program prioritizes personal and professional growth while teaching hands-on conservation skills in the field. Corpsmembers develop technical skills throughout their term while completing challenging and impactful conservation projects. Many projects are performed in partnership with public land management agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources, US Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, cities, counties, and trail associations.

Working in a field crew blends hard work, community service, and environmental stewardship while also gaining additional life-long skills. Corpsmembers often have a transformational experience during their term, leaving them feeling more prepared for whatever comes next. 

Visit the Conservation Corps website to learn more about the organization and available career opportunities. 

https://conservationcorps.org/programs/field-crews/ 

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Well Sealing Funding Extended Through 2023!

Unused wells can serve as direct conduits for surface contaminants to reach our aquifers. The Anoka Conservation District was awarded a grant in 2020 through the Clean Water Fund to help eligible landowners seal unused wells located within Anoka County, targeting vulnerable groundwater areas such as Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMAs). This program has been extended to run through 2023 in order to continue to help local residents with the cost of sealing an unused well on their property! 

A well is defined as "not in use," when the well is not functional, cannot readily pump water, or has not been operated on a daily, regular or seasonal basis. A "not in use" well has not been sealed by a licensed well contractor. A well that is "not in use" (i.e., "abandoned") must be repaired and put back into use, permanently sealed by a licensed well contractor, or the owner must obtain a maintenance permit for the well. In many cases, placing an old well back into use is not practical.

If your house was built before public water was available, the property may have one or more wells. Wells can be located either inside or outside a residence.
Indoors look for:

  • Glass block or concrete patch in an exterior step.
  • Wells are often housed in a small room in the basement, many times under exterior concrete steps.
  • Pipe sticking up out of the floor in your basement, or a concrete patch in the floor where the well was located.

Outdoors look for:

  • Low spot or sunken area in the ground.
  • Metal, wood, or concrete cover or manhole.
  • Areas that stay wet can be caused by an unsealed flowing well.
  • Windmill, an old shed or well house, or an old pump.
  • Dug wells typically appear as a ring anywhere from 1 foot or several feet in diameter, made of concrete, tile, bricks, or rocks.
  • Pipes 1 to 8 inches wide above, at, or below the surface may indicate a well.


Visit the ACD website today to get more information or to download an application to apply. If you are unsure if you have a well on your property or questioning if you would qualify for funding simply contact our office.

ACD Contact: Kris Larson, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 763-434-2030 *110

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Monitoring Drought Strategically

The majority of the state is currently experiencing drought conditions, including Anoka County. The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is a map that is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country. Drought categories show experts' assessments of conditions related to dryness and drought, including observations of how much water is available in streams, lakes, and soils compared to usual for the same time of year.

Each week, drought experts consider how recent precipitation totals across the country compare to their long-term averages. They check variables including temperatures, soil moisture, water levels in streams and lakes, snow cover, and meltwater runoff. Experts also check whether areas are showing drought impacts such as water shortages and business interruptions. To learn more about current drought conditions in Anoka County and other areas of the country visit https://www.drought.gov/states/minnesota/county/anoka

Anoka County
USDM’s five-category system
Current drought statistics for Anoka County
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The Benefits of Simple Lakeshore Practices

The Anoka Conservation District (ACD) recently installed a 70-foot lakeshore restoration project to mitigate active erosion at a property on the east side of Martin Lake in northern Anoka County. This section of property is heavily used by the family and was a priority to keep intact. The shoreline had receded/eroded back, with certain areas experiencing severe undercutting caused by wave action. These vulnerable sections could lead to additional property loss in the future and contribute to pollutant loading into Martin Lake, further degrading water quality. 

As designed, this project should stabilize the shoreline and allow new vegetation to become established from existing native sources. It is estimated that the project will prevent 1.3 pounds/year of phosphorous from entering the waterbody throughout the life of the project.

Coir logs are designed entirely of natural materials that are made to biodegrade into the soil overtime. The material is inexpensive, durable, and able to be shaped uniquely to the shoreline. Coir logs can be purchased in different densities, lengths, and diameters, depending on the erosion situation. Compared to other types of erosion control practices, coir logs are low in cost and can be installed by landowners without professional guidance. These practices are also easy to maintain because landowners can fix individual sections that may be damaged over time.

Coir logs protect against wave action and allow banks to stabilize while encouraging vegetation growth. Sections of coir logs are installed in a continuous line near the bank and secured into place using wooding stakes which will also naturally degrade. Aquatics plants are commonly planted into the coir log to provide more enhancement.

This project was funded by the landowner and the ACD cost-share program. ACD provided project administration, design services, and project installation. 

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Spiders: Friend or Foe?

White crab spider with its prey


We have all noticed spiders in our homes or when we are out for a walk. Most of the time, we view them as gross or something to fear. Instead of instantly thinking of spiders as pests that we want to kill or remove from the home, we should try to gain a better understanding of the important role these creatures play within the ecosystem.

Minnesota is home to 519 different species of spiders, including a species of 'jumping spider' that has only been found in Anoka County. 7 of the spider species found in the state are poisonous, but a spider bite resulting in death hasn't been recorded in the United States for decades. Less than 0.5% of spider bites lead to major medical complications.

The main benefit that spiders provide is that they eat a massive amount of insects, consuming on average between 400 and 800 million tons of bugs globally every year. Not only do spiders eat common pests like mosquitos and flies, they also act as a natural insecticide, eating many insects that are known for destroying crops or gardens.

To learn more about why spiders are important, please visit our friends at the Three Rivers Park District: https://www.threeriversparks.org/blog/myths-and-facts-spiders

Black and yellow garden spider
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