Around $300,000 in grants funding remains on the table for Scott County landowners looking to plant native prairies or complete other large-scale conservation projects.

The grants, being awarded by the Scott Soil & Water Conservation District, must be disbursed by Dec. 31, 2022, according to Shelby Roberts, an education and outreach specialist with the Scott SWCD.

Over $200,000 in grants have already been sent out since the Scott SWCD was awarded the funds last year through the Clean Water Fund of the Minnesota Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment.

An 8-acre prairie restoration in New Prague marks the first project completed with the grant funding, according to Roberts.

Grants have also been awarded to other projects in southern Scott County, where more than 26 acres of additional prairie restoration and an 8-acre wetland project is planned.

According to Roberts, the funding is available to support water-quality improvement projects within the boundaries of the Sand Creek or Prior Lake-Spring Lake watersheds.

A range of projects qualify for grant funding, including the installation of grassed waterways and cover crops, shoreline stabilization and erosion control measures, such as water and sediment basins.

A native prairie restoration must span at least a half-acre to qualify, according to Roberts.

In addition to funding, the Scott SWCD guides local residents through the planning process.

The district’s conservation specialists are available to answer questions over the phone or meet with property owners for site visits.

“They can call in with any kind of question,” Roberts said.

While the currently-available grant funding is geared towards larger conservation projects, the Scott SWCD can also offer technical and financial support to local landowners with smaller projects, such as rain gardens or pollinator plantings.

The Scott SWCD can be reached at 952-492-5425 or online at scottswcd.org.

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