RC&D Councils are 501(C)3 non-for-profit corporations that work on a variety of local initiatives in 5-11 Minnesota counties. Each RC&D Council is independent and their goals are unique to the areas in which they serve. RC&D councils also have volunteer board members that also serve as leaders and community stakeholders involved in multiple roles in local government, school boards, churches, and other civic activities. Their involvements provide professional expertise and community connections that help the RC&Ds target their efforts. That is the core premise of the RCD program and the key to its success. The three councils in Minnesota: Giziibii, Laurentian, and Hiawatha work throughout the state with projects addressing local food production and promotion, energy conservation and production, improved handling of municipal waste, and numerous watershed activities improve the natural resources of this great state.
Giziibii RC&D serves five counties and three Native American reservations in north central Minnesota:
The Agassiz Lowlands Environmental Learning Area (ALELA) stemmed from a vision of the Lake of the Woods School Forest Committee to revitalize its school forest program. In 2009, ALELA earned its official status in the MN School Forest Program. ALELA covers approximately 110 acres immediately adjacent to the Lake of the Woods K-12 School. Teachers and students are utilizing this outdoor classroom on a weekly basis, and ALELA is also open to the public. The Environmental Learning Area offers teachers, students and community members an opportunity to discover the wonder of experiencing learning in an outdoor classroom setting. The School Forest Committee, along with the support of many other agencies, private donors and organizations, has accomplished the following:
Hiawatha Valley RC&D serves eleven counties in southeast Minnesota:
The service area extends throughout all southern Minnesota for priority projects of common objectives.
Hiawatha Valley is working to control invasive species through the use of grazing animals. This project is funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesoa Resources (LCCMR).
This project recognizes that our desired control invasive plants will require our constant attention. We also believe that grazing will be only one tool used in addressing the problem. In some cases, grazing alone can be effective in control. In other cases grazing can improve the effectiveness of other treatments.
At the sites for this project we have worked with the landowners and contract grazer to develop a grazing management plan focussed on impacting the invasive species of buckthorn and white sweetclover. In addtion we are utilizing mechanical and chemical treatments to further set back the invasive plants.
We are grateful to the LCCMR for funding, as well as to River Bend Nature Center and Aqua Eden for providing the sites, and our grazer, Goat Dispatch.
Laurentian RC&D services six northeast counties and one Native American reservation:
The MN Lake Superior Watershed Stream Science Symposium was a significant success. There were 189 registrants representing local, state and federal government, nonprofits, university researchers, and private industry. Attendees traveled to the event from across the Great Lakes states and Canada.
Attendees heard thirty-nine speakers cover topics that ranged from Minnesota’s new watershed framework, MN Lake Superior watershed geology, and hydrology to the unique fishery and impacts of climate change. Breakout sessions and an interactive online comment gathering process gathered feedback and important ideas from the audience. A panel presentation centered upon funding sources wrapped up the two-day event.