Cook County SWCD supports changes to funding stream from the state
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Cook County SWCD supports changes to funding stream from the state

The purpose of soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) across the state is to conserve soil, water and related natural resources on private land, according to the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources.

And while the mission of the Cook County SWCD is easy enough to comprehend, how to fund these local agencies across the state has never been as clear.

As of spring 2022, SWCDs in Minnesota are funded primarily through a combination of county funding and state funding that comes through the Board of Water and Soil Resources. A significant percentage of this money come from the Clean Water Fund.

Now, state officials, including the district manager of the Cook County SWCD, are looking to shift how these agencies are funded statewide.

Elected officials at the Capitol in St. Paul are considering legislation that creates a statutory appropriation of funding to SWCDs directly from the Department of Revenue. Legislation in both the House and Senate chambers is advancing through the 2022 session, which is set to conclude in late May.

Ilena Hansel is the district manager for the Cook County SWCD. She spoke recently with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs about the proposed legislation, and why it’s relevant to the lives of local property owners. Audio below.