OLMSTED COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT 2016 OPERATIONAL PLAN

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1 OLMSTED COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT 2016 OPERATIONAL PLAN

2 MISSION STATEMENT The mission of Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District is to promote sustainable resource utilization and protection of natural resources in the County. The District assists farmers, communities, watershed planners and landowners in developing and implementing conservation and resource management systems and practices. The District also serves as a source for conservation and resource information and provides environmental education for county residents. Introduction The purpose of Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District s Operational Plan is to provide guidance and direction to District staff and supervisors for the goals and mission set forth by Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District. The Operation Plan is the working plan for the District and is utilized through the comprehensive plan for determining important program applications, staffing, and financial requirements for District Operation. 2

3 Operational Objective: WATER QUALITY The Olmsted County Water Management Plan will be the main objective for the District. Connected with this is the County s land use plan that has water quality elements. These plans will assist the Zumbro Watershed Partnership in identifying priority sub-watersheds in the County that align with their water management goals, providing technical assistance to the Whitewater Watershed and to begin to address its role in the targeted Root River Watershed One Water One Plan Comprehensive Plan, other areas identified in the Olmsted County Water Management Plan. The District will serve and function as a cooperative technical agency for these major watershed. Actions: Bear Creek, Cascade Creek, South Zumbro and Lake Shady watersheds have been identified as potential priority subwatersheds: assist in developing an organizational structure that can focus on their management needs. Assist watersheds in developing an organizational structure, finding partners with similar interest and objectives to further the One Watershed, One Plan effort. Serve the technical role for the SE MN Technical Joint Powers Board, Olmsted County Environmental Commission and state programs such as BALMM and the SE Water Resource Board. Provide technical assistance through the State Cost Share Program in addition to promoting and administering Reinvest in Minnesota Program. Promote Agriculture Best Management Practices Loan Program to address failing septic systems, conservation tillage, best management practices for land use, livestock exclusions, feedlot abatement systems and ag-waste systems. Serve as a cooperative technical agency with Olmsted County and the City of Rochester for storm water management and suburban erosion control. Work cooperatively with Rochester Olmsted County Planning and Zoning staff in updating the Olmsted County Water Management Plan to identify priorities and action items. Promote and implement the riparian buffer program for the County resulting from the 2015 Buffer Initiative legislation. 3

4 Operational Objective: PROTECTION OF NATURAL RESOURSES A mission of Olmsted County is to promote sustainable resource utilization and protection of natural resources. The District will provide assistance to all landowners and operators to reduce erosion in the upland landscapes and riparian floodplains adjacent to the streams. A reduction in pollution delivery to streams is included in this objective. Actions: Control erosion by promoting upland practices where they apply and assist in their implementation through state and federal cost share programs and providing landowners with technical assistance. Identify riparian areas that are not meeting the requirements of the 2015 Buffer Initiative for public waters streams and assist landowners with compliance requirements of County and State ordinance. Identify frequently flooded riparian areas that have been taken over by invasive woody vegetation, display significant stream bank erosion encouraging reestablishment of native prairie vegetation. Serve as a cooperative technical agency to City and County Townships in conducting plat reviews for all proposed developments with emphasis on controlling runoff, erosion and protecting wetlands. Administer and implement elements of the County Soil Erosion ordinance for suburban development and rural activities. Promote Ag Best Management Practices Loan program for soil and water conservation practices, no-till and ag-waste systems. Promote State and Federal Programs. Identify and promote perennial alternative crops that provide permanent cover in buffer areas and riparian corridors. 4

5 Operational Objective: WETLAND CONSERVATION ACT Olmsted County is responsible for the administration of the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) of Pursuant to the Joint Powers Agreement between Olmsted County and Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District the District will act as the delegate of the County as the local government unit (LGU) for areas designated as rural on the County Land Use Plan. The District will carry out responsibilities of the LGU for implementation of the Wetland Conservation Act of Actions: Provide assistance to County, municipalities and landowners on implementation of WCA rules and regulations. Provide technical assistance with affiliated agencies on WCA issues. (Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corp. of Engineers, Board of Water and Soil Resources, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and County Government) Assist NRCS with highly erodible land conservation (HEL) and wetland conservation certification on ag lands to insure compliance with State and Federal Wetland rules. Administer and provide technical assistance in the implementation of the State Permanent Wetland Preserve Program( WRP) when available. Provide wetland conservation information to cooperators, including banking opportunities, educational programs, newsletters, and conservation planning. Provide technical assistance for cease and desist orders. Assist landowners with development of restoration and /or replacement plans within WCA regulations. Integrate GIS and GPS into the above activities. 5

6 Operational Objective: DEVELOP NEW PROGRAMS AND MAINTAIN EXISTING PROGRAMS Olmsted SWCD will continue to maintain existing programs, which have proven effective; and develop new progressive conservation and education programs in the areas of environmental stewardship and natural resource management. Actions: Provide an Olmsted County Platbook for sale based on 2015 data. Price: $35.00 plus tax. Continue the Tree and Shrub Sales Program in support of other District Programs for individual landowners. Provide technical assistance for the preservation and restoration of native prairie communities to area landowners. Promote and provide technical assistance to landowners on forestry stewardship. Provide information on the former Fugles Mill Plant Materials Center. This facility is located in Olmsted County and provides local education and recreation opportunities. Promote vegetated buffers on highly erodible land, riparian zones, wetland restorations, and groundwater protection zones. Maintain the precipitation monitoring program utilizing volunteers in the County. Integrate GIS and GPS into the activities of the District. Promote Federal Conservation Programs. Identify and/or select a landowner to recognize as Olmsted County s Outstanding Conservationist. Landowners demonstrating good land stewardship through implementation of conservation and water management practices will be recognized at the Annual Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District s state convention. 6

7 Operational Objective: EDUCATION Olmsted SWCD will provide educational programs in environmental stewardship. In addition all Supervisors and staff will continue their personal education and training in conservation related areas. Actions: Conduct training for staff in District Operations and Programs. Encourage employees to increase skills and abilities benefiting the District, by providing compensation for technical and continued education. Utilize training programs offered by NRCS, BWSR and Olmsted County. Facilitate SE Minnesota Envirothon Program providing outdoor educational opportunities to secondary students. Facilitate Ag in the Classroom providing environmental and agricultural learning opportunities to elementary students. Provide the Olmsted County Land Use Model and Groundwater Quality Model as tools for environmental education to schools, nature centers and events in the County. Provide education and technical assistance to schools on conservation topics addressing teacher specific curriculum requests and participation in Outdoor Learning Classroom opportunities. Provide Olmsted County residents with educational resources through Olmsted County and Olmsted SWCD websites. Provide Olmsted County Board of Commissioners a presentation of Olmsted County activities and provide tour sites of implemented or completed conservation practices in Olmsted County. Promote, educate, and provide technical assistance to landowners on the function, value and development of rain gardens and sustainable storm water infiltration, filtration and treatment systems. Promote Graham Park as a demonstration area for storm water management. Assist Olmsted County and the City of Rochester in developing and implementing a plan for water management at Graham Park. Promote educating the public through news articles and newsletters. 7

8 OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVE: STATE COST SHARE PROGRAM HIGH PRIORITY EROSION AND WATER QUALITY HIGH PRIORITY EROSION: When applications exceed available funding, priority for state cost share projects are based on direct evidence of ephemeral and/or gully erosion rather than T and soil class. Further priority is given to applicants following existing conservation plans and/or demonstrating the willingness to apply conservation practices that reduce runoff and sedimentation and improve water quality. State Cost Share assistance is available to landowners to improve water quality. State Cost Share assistance is available to landowners to offset the cost for practice implementation. Geographically, priority is given to watersheds identified in the Olmsted County Water Management Plan. HIGH PRIORITY WATER QUALITY: Olmsted SWCD identifies Zumbro, Root River, Bear Creek, Whitewater and the sub-watersheds identified in the County Water Management Plan above the flood control structures as priority areas for water quality. Promote management of buffers in riparian areas with permanent native vegetation. The District has and will continue to solicit applications for State Cost Share, RIM, CCRP, CRP, EQIP Projects in these areas. Priority will also be given to applicants with existing nutrient management plans, or who have plans in preparation. The District is assisting feedlot operators in understanding the compliance requirements of MPCA. High priority impaired waters are expected to be identified through the TMDL and WRAPS efforts, and will be targeted in State Cost Share projects. 8

9 OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVE: SPECIAL PROJECTS Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources grant funding will be pursued to implement water quality improvement projects in the South Zumbro Watershed. Olmsted SWCD will work with townships, county and state agencies, landowners and consultants to identify potential locations and sizes for water and sediment retention structures designed to reduce flooding and damage to the County s roads and bridges. These structures would retain water and sediment upon the landscape, reduce peak flows and sediment loads to ditches and streams. A Clean Water grant for the South Branch of Cascade Creek will be used to implement a stream channel restoration project on the former Meadow Lakes Golf Course property. In addition three water retention structures will be installed in the upstream watershed. The project is a cooperative partnership between Olmsted SWCD, Olmsted County, City of Rochester and Department of Natural Resources. When completed the project will reduce sedimentation in downstream lakes and reduce peak flood flows Southern Minnesota Flood Relief grant for the affected properties owners of Stonegate Court will be used to stabilize the stream bank of the South Zumbro River. The project is a cooperative effort with the City of Rochester and Olmsted SWCD. Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (Ag Certainty) is a pilot program sponsored by the MN Department of Agriculture. The purpose of the Program is to accelerate the voluntary adoption of agricultural practices that improve water quality and maintain a productive agricultural economy. Producers who implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified in the program and in turn be assured that their operation meets the state s water quality goals and standards for a period of 10 years. The Whitewater watershed is 1of 4 areas selected to participate in the program. The Whitewater Joint Powers Board along with Olmsted SWCD and other SWCD s have agreed to work with producers on assessing their properties for whole farm certification. Targeted funds from NRCS will be utilized for implementation of conservation projects to meet certification using EQIP funding. In 2015, the certification program was rolled out statewide. 9

10 OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVE: SPECIAL PROJECTS Protection of Soil Productivity and Reduction of Soil Loss through Highly Erodible Land (HEL) Compliance Assistance Grant has been awarded by the Board of Water Soil Resource to Olmsted SWCD. Olmsted SWCD will work cooperatively with NRCS to evaluate producers practices and update conservation plans to determine HEL compliance. Olmsted SWCD and USDA NRCS has entered into a cooperative working agreement to provide landowners, producers, Federal and State land management agencies, other individuals, groups and units of government with leadership in resource conservation. Olmsted SWCD will continue to pursue grant opportunities to assist Olmsted County residents in addressing water quality and soil erosion. The 2015 Buffer Initiative legislation enacted during special session in June 2015 enhances the protection of Minnesota waters by building on existing requirements to buffer public waters. The new legislation requires and provides funding for SWCD s to work with affected landowners to implement 50 of perennially vegetated buffers on public waters streams and 16.6 of buffer on public ditches. The public waters buffers, which will affect Olmsted County landowners, must be implemented by November 1, The MN DNR is tasked with providing the SWCD s with maps identifying buffer protection locations statewide by July Olmsted SWCD will participate in future opportunities as they arise. 10

11 11

12 OLMSTED SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT 2016 BUDGET REVENUE Intergovernmental Revenue Federal NRCS Contribution Agreement $ 5,800 Intergovernmental Revenue -State State Conservation Delivery Grant $ 22,941 State Cost Share Base Grant $ 25,000 Other State Revenues $ 74,584 Intergovernmental Revenue - County County Appropriations $ 274,494 Planning (WCA Grant) $ 12,000 Charges for Services Plat Books $ 3,000 Trees $ 20,000 Miscellaneous Revenue Wetland Fees $ 3,000 Miscellaneous Services $ 8,200 Investment Earnings Interest $ 500 Reserves $ 21,593 Reserves LEAP/OPEB $ 7,895 TOTAL REVENUES $ 479,007 12

13 OLMSTED SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT 2016 BUDGET EXPENDITURES District Operating Other Services Staff Development $ 4,400 Telephone/Fax $ 1,500 Postage $ 300 Membership Dues $ 5,555 Professional Services $ 3,200 Public Works Finance Services $ 10,483 Olmsted County LEAP $ 3,924 Olmsted County IT $ 14,512 Miscellaneous $ 300 Mileage $ 800 Gas $ 3,000 Rent Building $ 21,000 Vehicle Maintenance $ 3,000 Insurance $ 10,922 District Operating Personnel Services Salaries and Benefits $ 344,111 Elected Officials $ 12,000 District Operating Supplies Office Supplies $ 2,000 Field Supplies $ 1,000 District Project Expense Education $ 100 Trees $ 10,000 Plat Books $ 1,700 Miscellaneous $ 200 Intergovernmental Payments State State Cost Share $ 25,000 TOTAL EXPENDITURES $ 479,007 13

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