This legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature passed Minnesota Statute 477A.23, subd. 4(b), providing funding to soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) throughout the state. While this isn't new money, the funding comes from a different source that will make it more reliable and provide local flexibility.
For the last eight years, SWCDs have received funding through the Clean Water Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment which required legislative action every two years. On average, Anoka Conservation District (ACD) received $125K/year with 2023 being $137K. Unlike most grants, this funding could be used for any project or program aimed at improving water quality. ACD could quickly tap into these funds to complete many small but critical efforts such as:
Where the previous funding fell short was that it couldn't be used for projects outside the scope of water quality, making projects such as habitat improvement, water conservation, and general public outreach and engagement ineligible. The new funds will replace Clean Water Funds and are distributed directly from the state through the Department of Revenue to SWCDs, cutting out mid-level agency involvement and reducing red tape. Now that these funds aren't restricted solely to water quality, SWCD's can use the funds where they are needed to properly address local priorities.
We are excited that for two years ACD will receive a bit more than past years at $179K. This will go down to normal thereafter.
For more information contact Chris Lord,