- Jodi Eberhardt
Preserve the Forest
Our area has an abundance of high quality forests, yet many people don’t recognize the connection between healthy forests and healthy waters. Reality is—forests provide protection to lakes in a multitude of ways. Their roots hold soil in place reducing erosion; they serve as natural sponges collecting and filtering nutrients and pollutants from rainwater; and they slow down and cool the flow of water before reaching a lake, river, or stream.
Natural resource managers and scientists have demonstrated that if a watershed can maintain 75% of its land in natural forest cover, the surface waters within the watershed can also maintain high water quality. As a watershed’s forest cover disappears a reduction in water quality can be expected. This is an alarming fact considering that all major watersheds in Cass and Crow Wing Counties are in the top ten watersheds in Minnesota to protect the drinking water for residents of the Twin Cities metro area.
For the private forest landowner, good forest management can also be a gain for water
quality as well as fish and wildlife habitat and can contribute to the landowner’s
financial well-being. Contact Cass SWCD or Crow Wing SWCD to learn more about options for creating a Forest Stewardship Plan for managing forestlands and the
benefits associated with those options. A Forest Stewardship Plan allows the landowners
to be eligible for financial incentives or tax benefits, and in return the SWCD is able to provide clean water protection vital for drinking water, recreational enjoyment
of the area's water resources, and maintaining ecological integrity for fish and wildlife habitat.