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Who We Are: The Rice Soil and Water Conservation District is a subdivision of state government. It is overseen by a five-member board of supervisors elected countywide to represent the soil and water conservation needs of the county. The board of supervisors make policy decisions, approve cost-share contracts, and promote soil and water conservation.

Our History:  Soil and Water Conservation Districts were set up by Congress starting in the 1930’s all over the country after the Dust Bowl.  Rice SWCD was formed in 1942 to address soil erosion on the county’s farmland. Since its inception, we have been providing technical and financial support to Rice County residents for a wide variety of conservation practices.

Our Mission:  "To assist land users in the management and conservation of our soil and water resources by means of educational, financial, and technical assistance."

Tree Day At the Rice SWCD

Landowners from across Rice County come to the Conservation Building at the Rice County Fairgrounds every April to pick up trees which will be planted for conservation. Approximately 15,000 trees and shrubs are sold each year by the Rice SWCD. Landowners can choose from a variety of species and the trees and shrubs are available in bare roots or in pots.

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Staff from the Rice SWCD prepares for the annual Tree Day. Technician, Bridget Evers, unloads trees when the nursery trucks arrive with the shipment. Staff then dips the roots and bags the trees. The bags of trees are ready for pickup.

When the trees arrive, staff from the Rice SWCD immediately begin to prepare the trees for pick up. After the trees are dipped in a gel solution to help keep their roots from drying out, they are placed in large bags that are tied shut. The Conservation Building, with its cool and dark interior, makes the perfect location to store the trees until they can be picked up on Tree Day.

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Pam Krenz loads up potted white cedar trees. Her parents, Kim and Troy, are planting a new windbreak on their property. Some of the trees will also be planted around a wetland restoration, which they installed last year with assistance from the conservation office.

Landowners in Rice County plant the trees for various conservation practices. Some trees and shrubs are planted for windbreaks. In a windbreak, five to seven rows of trees and shrubs are planted. The outer rows of the windbreak consist of shrubs, which help to catch drifting snow. The inside rows consist of evergreen and deciduous trees. Together with the outside row of shrubs, the trees redirect wind over buildings. Many other landowners plant trees and shrubs for birds and wildlife. Evergreen species provide winter cover for birds like pheasants, chickadees, and cardinals. Deciduous trees like oak and walnut provide nuts for many wildlife species. Shrub species like cranberrybush and Juneberry provide berries for many different types of birds.

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Rice County landowner Ron Carlsen plants trees on his properties every year. Over the last twenty years, he estimates that he has planted around 15,000 trees for conservation! Great job Ron!

The tree ordering program begins in January. To receive an order form, contact the conservation office and we can place you on our mailing list. Follow us on Facebook to receive tree program updates. We can also assist you with developing a windbreak or tree planting plan for your property. Contact the Rice SWCD at 507-332-5408 today!

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