History of the District
The settlement of Nicollet County began in 1851 soon after the signing of a treaty between the Federal Government and the Sioux Indians. The County was organized in 1853 being named after Joseph Nicollet, an early explorer of the area.
The Nicollet Soil Conservation District was organized by local landowners under the Minnesota Soil Conservation District law as amended. It is a legal subdivision of the State government, operating under a charter issued by the Secretary of State on May 25th, 1961. In May of 1964, the District changed its name to "Nicollet Soil and Water Conservation District". the District is self-governed by an elected, five-member board of supervisors who reside in the district they serve. The first board included: Archie Webster, Nicollet; Harry Timm, North Mankato; Sidney Poncin, St. Peter; Lyle Weldy, Fairfax; and Raymond Compart, Nicollet.
What is an SWCD
Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are political subdivisions of the State established under Minnesota Statute 103C. Each SWCD is governed by a board of elected supervisors.
There are 91 SWCDs in Minnesota, providing 100% coverage of the state. There is at least one SWCD in each of the 87 counties, and a few of the larger counties have more than one.
The first SWCD in Minnesota was created in 1938 to encourage landowners to conserve soil and water resources. Statewide, 75% of Minnesota lands are in private property ownership. in agricultural regions, the number is quite often 95%.
SWCDs fill the crucial niche of providing land and water conservation services to owners of private lands. Managing private lands in a way that promotes a sound economy and sustains and enhances natural resources is key to Minnesota's environmental health. Private landowners trust SWCDs to provide needed technology, funding and educational services because they are established in each community, governed by local leaders and focused on conservation of local soil and water resources.
SWCDs work to reduce the non-point source of pollution to make Minnesota's lakes and rivers fishable and swimmable. Non-point source (NPS) pollution is a term for polluted runoff. Water washing over the land, whether from rain, car washing, or the watering of crops or lawns, picks up an array of contaminants. Theses contaminants can include oil and sand from roadways, agricultural chemicals from farmland, and nutrients and toxic materials from urban and suburban areas. This runoff finds its way into our waterways, either directly or through storm drain collection systems. The term non-point is used to distinguish this type of diffuse pollution from point source pollution, which comes from specific and identifiable sources. Point source pollution can come from sewage treatment plans and industrial facilities, as well as other specific locations.
Landowners across Minnesota count on SWCD technical assistance with conservation practices that protect the quality of Minnesota's greatest treasure - our natural resources.