Lawns to Legumes Individual Grants Available

Dreaming of warmer weather and gardening season? Applications are now open for Fall 2024 individual Lawns to Legumes grants! Minnesota residents are eligible to apply for $400 reimbursement grants for creating native pollinator habitat on their properties. Projects can take the form of small pocket plantings, larger pollinator meadows, or pollinator friendly lawns.

Grant recipients are selected by a lottery system. The application closes on May 15th. Check out the MN Lawns to Legumes page for a plethora of resources on pollinator garden design, selecting native plant species, and maintaining pollinator habitat.

Note: Individual Lawns to Legumes grants are distributed at the state level, not by ACD. You can find contact information for assistance with these programs at the links above. 

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Pursuing Levy Authority in 2024

The elected Board of ACD is moving forward with legislation to have the ability to levy property taxes for residents of Anoka County. With the levy limits included in the bill (HF3701) and ACD's other revenue streams, the anticipated levy increase for the average single family home in 2025 through 2029 is around $0.67 per year. Why bother pursuing legislation for such a small levy? That's a long story, but here's the gist of it.

  • ACD has been around since 1946 serving the public by providing financial and technical assistance to private landowners who want to be good stewards of our lakes, stream, wetlands, drinking water, wildlife, etc.
  • ACD submits a budget to Anoka County to request funding to support our mission. The County has the option to fund all, some or none of the request.
  • ACD's requests to the County compete for limited funding against transportation, public safety, social services, economic development, and parks and recreation.
  • For 20 years, when population growth and inflation alone grew Anoka County's budget by 83%, ACD's allocation grew by 8.4%.

"So what you're saying is that if ACD gets its way, a family of four in Anoka County will have to give up one fancy cup of coffee every four years for cleaner lakes and rivers, better fishing, improved habitat for wildlife, and safer drinking water?" Well, when you put it that way…

For more information about ACD's pursuit for levy authority contact Chris Lord, District Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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$1.7M of Habitat Enhancement for the Rum River Corridor

$1.7M of state funds from the Outdoor Heritage Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment was awarded for habitat enhancement in the Rum River Corridor. A broad-based partnership will bring an additional $215,000 in local matching funds. We will use these funds to enhance wildlife habitat from the headwaters in Lake Mille Lacs to where the Rum River joins the Mississippi River in Anoka. The Rum River Corridor is critical habitat for many rare species, including Blanding's Turtle and two types of mussels, to name a few. We will be doing habitat improvement projects from in the river to beyond the banks.

Links:
Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment
Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council
Outdoor Heritage Fund

For more information visit the links above or contact Jared Wagner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 763.434.2030 x200
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Legislature Passes SWCD Funding Reform

This legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature passed Minnesota Statute 477A.23, subd. 4(b), providing funding to soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) throughout the state. While this isn't new money, the funding comes from a different source that will make it more reliable and provide local flexibility.

For the last eight years, SWCDs have received funding through the Clean Water Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment which required legislative action every two years. On average, Anoka Conservation District (ACD) received $125K/year with 2023 being $137K. Unlike most grants, this funding could be used for any project or program aimed at improving water quality. ACD could quickly tap into these funds to complete many small but critical efforts such as:

  • photo inventories of lakeshore and riverbank erosion,
  • development of public outreach materials to promote conservation programs,
  • hosting events,
  • website enhancements like project mapping, and dashboards,
  • equipment and technology purchases, and
  • small project cost share.

Where the previous funding fell short was that it couldn't be used for projects outside the scope of water quality, making projects such as habitat improvement, water conservation, and general public outreach and engagement ineligible. The new funds will replace Clean Water Funds and are distributed directly from the state through the Department of Revenue to SWCDs, cutting out mid-level agency involvement and reducing red tape. Now that these funds aren't restricted solely to water quality, SWCD's can use the funds where they are needed to properly address local priorities.

We are excited that for two years ACD will receive a bit more than past years at $179K. This will go down to normal thereafter.

For more information contact Chris Lord, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 763.434.2030 x130 

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Funding Available For Agricultural Practices

The Anoka Conservation District is offering incentive grants to agricultural producers who use land management practices that benefit water quality and soil health. Eligible agricultural practices include cover crops, no-till, strip-till, conservation-tillage, prescribed grazing, nutrient management, and others. Available funding varies by the type of practice. A three-year commitment is required by the landowner to qualify for the program. 

For more information about this great opportunity, contact Jamie Schurbon at 763-434-2030 ext. 210 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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Financial Dashboard Added to ACD’s Website: Improving Transparency and Accountability to the Public We Serve

Online dashboards are an increasingly popular way to display summary information about otherwise complex data sets. Beginning in 2022, ACD started using dashboards to highlight annual and cumulative progress on ecological and water quality oriented projects. The most recent addition to ACD dashboards is one that shows ACD financials going back to 2010. "While it took a bit of time to format financial data to work with the dashboard interface, I think it was well worth it" Anoka Conservation District Manager Chris Lord said. "We beta tested it with several of our state legislators during virtual meetings and they responded very positively." The data extend back to 2010 specifically to capture all of the funds ACD has received from the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Constitutional Amendment.  

The next dashboard in the lineup will show ACD progress toward 10-Year Natural Resource Stewardship Plan goals. For more information contact Chris Lord,  763.434.2030 x130, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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