Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Dec. 18, 2000

Lake Ann Association honored by SWCD

The Lake Ann Association was honored as the outstanding Wright County Conservationists at the Dec. 5 annual convention of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD), in Bloomington.

The Wright Soil and Water Conservation District nominated the Lake Ann Association for the award. "The Lake Ann Association has provided a wonderful example of what a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can accomplish," said Greg Bengston of the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District.

In 1995, the Lake Ann Association, MPCA, DNR Fisheries office in Montrose, Planning and Zoning and the Wright SWCD had the first of several watershed meetings to promote best management practices and programs to landowners in the watershed.

"The association completed a septic system survey and follow-up program for non-conforming systems. The association felt it must clean up its own 'backyard' before approaching the ag community. Other 'backyard' efforts included lake-scaping and promoting phosphorus free fertilizers," Bengston said.

The lake association was the catalyst for and has assisted financially with Wright SWCD's Buffer Initiative. Landowners in Lake Ann Watershed are paid to install and maintain grass buffers along a main tributary to Lake Ann. To date, four landowners are participating in the program, with nine buffer strips totaling approximately 25 acres.

The lake association has also promoted replacing open tile inlets with rock inlets. To date, in this watershed, 10 open intakes have been replaced.

Along with SWCD staff, members of Lake Ann visited farmers in the watershed to promote "best management practices."

These visits have resulted in the installation of several conservation measures in the watershed including; animal waste systems, blind inlets, buffer strips, conservation tillage, wetland restorations and septic system upgrades.

The Farmer Magzine, Northwest Sportshow, and the MASWCD sponsored the outstanding conservationist award.

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