In September 2017, the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (MN CREP) sign-up began taking applications for floodplain and wetland restorations, filter strips, and wellhead protection areas. Since then, more than twelve thousand acres have been enrolled in the 54 county area. In Yellow Medicine County, nearly 400 acres have been enrolled including nine easements of which are four filter strips totaling 59.09 acres, four non-floodplain wetlands totaling 319.57 acres, and one floodplain wetland of 17.9 acres.

Marginally unproductive cropland is the focus of this program to provide permanent protection for one of Minnesota’s most important resources, our water. MN CREP is a partnership between the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the state’s Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM). This is a voluntary program that allows landowners to enroll land into a permanent easement to protect Minnesota’s water resources as well as retain ownership and still control access to the land by the public. Wetlands and floodplains are important areas that allow infiltration of water that recharge ground water aquifers and provide important habitat for Minnesota wildlife.

Floodplains and wetlands also store water on the surface, and reduce peak discharge in flowing water systems like those of drainage ditches and streams. Reducing peak flows in these systems reduces bank erosion and sedimentation of stream beds, and is an incredibly high priority to improve water quality. Reduction of sedimentation can reduce the frequency of ditch cleaning that needs to be done to maintain drainage.

If your cropland floods regularly or even occasionally, this is an excellent opportunity to receive fair compensation for setting your land aside. These are benefits that MN CREP provide to you and our water. The RIM payment rates have been increased since last spring. They are currently ranging from $4,400- $8,000 per acre depending on township. This payment rate is comprised of an upfront payment and a temporary annual payment associated with CREP that you can learn more about by talking with staff at the SWCD. Enrollment also provides a reduction in taxable property value over the course of years of the easement.

The key, the land remains your property. Enrollment in the easement simply changes the land use to exclude cropland and promote water quality friendly wildlife habitat. Contact the Yellow Medicine Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office in Clarkfield to find out more information about this program, or call Brayden Anderson at (320) 669-4442 ext. 114. Our website also has a lot of information on all of our programs and services. Visit www.yellowmedicineswcd.org to learn more and stay up to date on all Yellow Medicine SWCD has to offer and what we are working on. You can also like us on Facebook.