(218) 732-0121 603 North Central Ave, Suite 100. Park Rapids, MN 56470


What are Wetlands?


Marshes are wetlands dominated by soft-stemmed vegetation.


Swamps have mostly woody plants.


Bogs are freshwater wetlands, often formed in old glacial lakes, characterized by spongy peat deposits, evergreen trees and shrubs, and a floor covered by a thick layer of sphagnum moss.


Fens are freshwater peat-forming wetlands covered mostly by grasses, sedges, reeds, and wildflowers and have unique water chemistry.

The Importance of Wetlands

There are four general categories of wetlands – marshes, swamps, bogs and fens as noted above.  Wetlands provide habitat for diverse plant and animal species. Wetlands absorb and slow floodwaters, absorb excess nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants before they reach rivers, lakes and other bodies of water.

Congress enacted the Wetland Conservation Act to protect these vital natural resources. Preserving, restoring, and protecting the county wetlands are one of the SWCD’s priorities.

Before starting a project that might have an impact on a wetland, review the information under the Wetland tab on BWSR’s website and contact our office so you can avoid violating the Wetland Conservation Act. We will assist you in determining if there is a wetland and help you meet the requirements of the Wetland Conservation Act. 

Remember, even if you can not see standing water, it could still be a wetland!

Cost-Share Program

The cost-share program was created to provide funds to share the cost of systems or practices for erosion control, sedimentation control, or water quality improvements that are designed to protect and improve soil and water resources. Through the State Cost-Share Program, landowners can request financial and technical assistance for the implementation of conservation practices.  

Some of these projects include but are not limited to: Critical Area Stabilization, Diversions, Field Windbreaks, Grassed Waterway, Wastewater and Feedlot Runoff Control, Filter Strips, Sediment Basins, Streambank, Shoreland, and Roadside Protection, Stripcropping, Terraces, Unused Well Sealing, and Forestry Conservation Practices.

We have funds available!  If you think you have a project that meets one of these practices, call our office to apply for cost-share funds.

Cost-Share Policy Cost-Share Contract Form

Other helpful materials: Hubbard County Shoreland Guide to Lake Stewardship 2011 , Shoreline Living 2020 , DNR Shoreline Alterations-Riprap .

Forest Stewardship Plans

Forest Stewardship plans are personalized plans written for your property by a DNR certified forester that provides management options to help you achieve your goals for your property. Healthy forest management also protects water quality. Plans can include: timber productivity, timber harvest, creating or improving wildlife habitats (examples: deer, ruffed grouse, or warblers) or a combination of practices.

To be eligible landowners must have at least 20 acres up to 1,000 acres of timbered or woody vegetative land. Most wetlands and any acres that are currently being pastured, farmed or hayed and that practice is going to continue would not be eligible.

This program is also the first step in accessing tax and incentive programs (such as Sustainable Forestry Incentive Act (SFIA) or 2C Managed Forest Land), cost-share programs, and other funding opportunities with other agencies. To be eligible for SFIA or 2C, an approved Stewardship plan must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry.

If you are interested in acquiring a forest stewardship plan please call our office at 218-723-0121 ext 4 or complete our 2020 Forest Stewardship Plan application and send with payment to our office at Hubbard SWCD, 601 Central Ave N, Ste 100, Park Rapids, MN 56470.

Community Partners Program

Pine Haven Camp Storm-Water/Erosion Control Project located on the southwest corner of Long Lake in Hubbard County, has just finished a two-phase storm-water/erosion reduction project. The project encompassed securing three grants, two from the Minnesota Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Fund (CWF), along with an Ecofootprint Grant administered through Minnesota Association of Resource Conservation & Development (MARC&D) for Enbridge Energy.

The problems of erosion caused by storm-water run-off has exacerbated over the years as the camp has grown and more areas have been paved over. As our climate warms, storms have become more and more intense thus increasing storm-water run-off issues like those at Pine Haven. In early 2016 the camp brought their concerns to the Hubbard Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) who then contacted the North Central Minnesota SWCD’s Joint Powers Board (JPB) engineer to design plans for Pine Haven. After about six months of multiple design and redesigns, the SWCD and the property managers decided to implement a second phase to the project. This was accomplished as more funds became available as another project was cancelled. The second part of the project was for a road that runs into the camp from the south and runs down to the backside of the camp that had poor drainage along with erosion as the road itself became a flowing river when it rained. Again, after multiple redesigns for the second phase and with more redesigns for phase one along with materials that were unavailable for the original start date of the third week of May 2017, construction commenced the third week of August 2017 and wrapped up at the end of September 2017. From the beginning of consultation to the end of construction was over a year and a half.

The completed project includes a Pavedrain system, which becomes a storm-water sink and doubles as a sidewalk area, along with a grass swale and a rock check dam for any overflow in the Phase I portion. (The Picture above is of one of the installed rain gardens and the picture on the left is after the Pavedrain system was finished.) In Phase II, that project had the road raised with fill from the Pavedrain system, two large rain-gardens with rock check dams installed, along with two overflow systems, and another grass swale. These best management practices (BMPs) that were installed will greatly reduce erosion and storm-water from entering Long Lake and its tributaries downstream. This is the premier conservation project to date through Hubbard SWCD for Long Lake with a total cost of over $95,600.

Spider Lake Association was awarded $25,000 to install practices on 8 separate properties to stop soil erosion and undercutting of the shoreline. These practices will prevent shoreline from eroding into the lake and will reduce runoff to protect water quality and shoreline vegetation integrity.  With the help of this grant, Spider Lake will see a reduction of 7.68 tons/yr of sediment and 6.53 lbs/yr of phosphorous from entering the lake.

Hubbard County Master Gardeners was awarded $5,000 to provide rain barrels at a reduced price for homeowners to prevent storm-water from running into lakes or storm sewers. 65 rain barrels were purchased and will provide rainwater for gardening use and reduce storm water runoff within the county.

Fish Hook Lake and River Association was awarded a $22,000 grant to install a storm scepter in Riverside Ave to collect the storm water and filter sediment and solids before discharging water into the Fish Hook River.  

Community Partner’s Projects that were selected reduced storm-water runoff and retained water on the land.

Please note: The Community Partners Grant is  complete and is now closed.

Wild Rice Easements

Hubbard County SWCD is partnering with Ducks Unlimited, Board of Water and Soil Resources, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on an Outdoor Heritage Fund project to protect shorelines on important wild rice lakes in North-Central Minnesota. The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council recommended this project for 2012 funding and Minnesota State Legislation approved recommendation in 2011. Overall project intent is to protect 117 shallow wild rice lakes in Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, St. Louis, and Wadena counties; through the acquisition of voluntary land preservation agreements known as conservation easements. A conservation easement protects land from future development while keeping land in private ownership and on the local tax rolls.

Local, county, state, federal, tribal, and private partners participating in the MNDNR’s “Wild Rice Working Group” recently identified these 117 shallow wild rice lakes as some of the most important wild rice lakes in Minnesota. Additionally, they support approximately 50,000 acres of wild rice habitat. Hubbard County is fortunate to have 5 shallow rice lakes that are eligible for this program.

The parcels submitted will be reviewed to determine which provide the best natural resource investment for the conservation dollar. The landowners and parcels that are selected for funding will be paid 60% of the estimated market value of the tract. The project is ongoing.

The following Hubbard County lakes are eligible: First Crow Wing, Fourth Crow Wing, Spring Lake, Upper Mud, and Crow Wing Lake.

To apply contact the SWCD at 218-732-0121 or e-mail Crystal Mathisrud.

In 2016, Hubbard County had 5 approved easements that protected approximately 209 acres of Wild Rice habitat and the watersheds. Primary funding was provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund portion of the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.

Irrigation Scheduler Program

This program is designed to give the farmer a second opinion on in-field soil moisture status that can assist the farmer’s decision on if and when to irrigate. (The decision to irrigate is still up to the farmer.) It’s purpose is to prevent crop loss due to insufficient moisture and prevent ground water contamination due to over application of water and leaching of nutrients. The farmer will receive weekly visits to check soil moisture, weekly computer soil moisture graphs and a year-end summary showing irrigation totals, rainfall amount, and potential leaching events. For more information, please contact Crystal at (218) 732-0121.


Rainfall Monitoring Network

Hubbard County SWCD has a rural rainfall monitoring network throughout Hubbard County that was begun in 1978. Each month volunteers record rainfall and snowfall daily and then submit their reports to the SWCD office who sends the compiled data to the Office of State Climatology. Monitors are supplied with stamped, self-addressed envelopes and monitoring forms, so there is no cost to the volunteer. A rain gauge is also supplied. From time to time a volunteer may retire from the network, so new monitors are needed. If you are interested in being a rainfall monitor, please call the office for more information.

We are still looking for rainfall monitors for the following townships:  Arago, Badoura, northern Clay, Clover, Fern, Helga, Lake Alice, southern Steamboat River, and Thorpe although we welcome anyone who would like to be a monitor. If you think monitoring our rainfall or our rain and snowfall interests you, please call the office at 218-732-0121 ext. 105. 

Freshwater Festival

The Freshwater Festival is an annual event for sixth graders in Hubbard County. It is sponsored by funds from the Hubbard County Local Water Plan and local donations with administrative support from the Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District. It follows basically the same format each year.

At this event, each class rotates through five stations where individual presenters share their expertise. Presenters are volunteers from organizations such as Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Health, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and others. In addition, there are paid professional educators including Tom Gibson – Environmental Education and the Headwater’s Science Center of Bemidji. Their programs are 45 minutes long and every student will attend those sessions.

Each class stays together throughout the day. Break times are scheduled for snacks and lunch. Presenters and volunteers are provided with a meal prepared by the Mantrap Valley Conservation Club Auxiliary, and students and teaches bring sack lunches. Volunteers from the Coalition of Lake Associations assist with various aspects of the festival from chaperoning classes to handing out snacks. Usually there are around 45 volunteers.

The 2023 Freshwater Festival event at will be held at Camp Wilderness Boy Scout Camp on May 17, 2023.

The festival starts at 9:15 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. Students will receive a tree seedling and learn how to plant their seedling by a DNR forester.  Any adult interested in volunteering for this event should contact our office by May 1st each year.

Teachers, volunteers and presenters receive schedules and information prior to the festival. They may visit the camp prior to the festival day to familiarize themselves with the various stations they will be attending. Volunteers also help wrap trees and bag materials the day before the festival.

The goal of the Freshwater Festival is to educate sixth grade students about protection, preservation, and conservation of water resources in an atmosphere of fun and learning. Hubbard County has substantial ground and surface water resources. We want to educate children about different aspects of these waters and their relationship to other resources: wetlands, forestry and wildlife. We also want to instill an environmental awareness and a stewardship ethic in students and adults.


Evapotranspiration (ET) Information

Irrigators and other water users will get daily statistics for corn, beans and turf. This is now a live feed and can be accessed by smart phones or computers from the Department of Agriculture, Hubbard County weather station. By checking the evapotranspiration data, soil water balances can be monitored. Several weather statistics for the day will be given, including potential ET, maximum and minimum air temperatures, precipitation and growing degree days.

To view ET information, go to East Ottertail SWCD.


Shoreland Guides

The “Shoreland Guide to Lake Stewardship” was developed by the Local Water Plan and SWCD to educate shoreland owners and recreational users of our lakes. The guide explains the benefits of natural shorelines and wetlands, importance of curbing pollution, erosion, and run-off. It contains important permit and contact information. Guides are available at the SWCD office, Environmental Services office, realty companies, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Shoreland Guide


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