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Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are local units of government that manage and direct natural resource management programs at the local level. SWCDs work in both urban and rural settings, with landowners and with other units of government, to carry out programs for the conservation, use, and development of soil, water, and related resources.

Technical assistance to private landowners in Lake County is an important part of our work, and it includes financial or technical assistance. Cost-share dollars, distributed as a grant to the District from the State of Minnesota’s Board of Water and Soil Resources, help landowners in Lake County implement sound conservation practices to improve water quality and reduce erosion.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can the SWCD help me as a landowner or occupier?
As a landowner or occupier in Lake County, we would be happy to walk your property with you and suggest conservation practices for implementation! Technical assistance services from Lake County SWCD include:

  • Drainage suggestions
  • Minimizing wetland impacts while building a driveway or property
  • Mitigating erosion caused by bluff slump along your stream
  • Managing invasive species
  • Planning and planting for a more diverse and resilient forest

Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District provides technical support for conservation issues on private and public lands, but our primary role is working on voluntary conservation projects with landowners like you! If we are not able to provide assistance directly, we try to connect landowners with other agencies and professionals who may be able to help.

What is cost-share?
The cost-share program enables landowners, in partnership with their local Soil & Water Conservation District, to implement “on-the-ground” conservation projects that protect and improve water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams. Cost-share projects share the cost of systems or practices for erosion control, sedimentation control, or water quality improvements.

Through the cost-share program, landowners can request financial and technical assistance from Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District for implementation of conservation practices.

How can I apply?
If you are interested in learning more about cost-share or would like to request financial assistance for your project, contact our office. We would be happy to set up a visit to your property.

What about land use regulations on my property?
The Lake County Property Owner’s Resource Guide is a good place to start for general regulations and best management practices.

Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District works with private landowners wanting to implement voluntary conservation practices. We occasionally work with mandated restoration orders through participation in the Technical Evaluation Panel for the Wetland Conservation Act, but overall we are not in any way a regulatory agency.

For questions about septic systems, variances and set-backs, zoning, wetland fill, driveway creation, or any other land-use planning services, contact Lake County Planning and Zoning.

Can the SWCD help me map my property boundaries?
Foresters, including those in our office, can give you a rough estimate (non-enforceable) property boundary based on existing plats for use in forest stewardship plans. If conducting a timber sale or you have more detailed questions about property boundaries, you should contact a land surveyor.

Lake County does provide an overview of property boundaries via that Lake County Parcel Viewer, but GIS data, as noted in the disclaimer, is not a reliable source of determination for legal property descriptions. A 2020 Lake County Plat Book is also available at the Lake County Service Center.

Contact the Lake County Assessor’s Office for more information about property ownership records or legal property descriptions.