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Making a Difference with Wetland Restoration

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Making a Difference with Wetland Restoration

Who would have ever guessed that Harlen Hendrickson would be passionate about wetlands, wetland restoration and wildlife? Several years ago, Hendrickson was injured in a work-related accident. He reached a point where he had to figure out what he was going to do for the rest of his life. Then, a postcard arrived at his mailbox in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. The rest is what can be referred to as a dynamic change of passion for Hendrickson’s direction in life.

Restored WRP wetlands

He became involved in initiating the West Central Water Fowler’s chapter in 2000. Today this chapter touts a strong membership of 180 people. Through this chapter, Hendrickson began to see several things that needed to be done in Becker county, involving coming up with a way to involve the youth.

Becker developed Minnesota’s first Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM)-Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) contract in 2008. RIM-WRP is a local –state-federal partnership that combines the state’s RIM with the USDA WRP. Combining these two programs allows state funds to leverage federal funds that are available through the Federal Farm Bill. Funding for this partnership is through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR).

This effort resulted in creating 3 wetland restorations on a 123.2 acre. He said “it’s a joy to see the results of the land and experience in results of what a prairie used to look like. It’s simply phenomenal.”

His rolling landscape has numerous wetlands within its boundaries. The farmed wetlands contained reed canary grass. After the wetland restoration, prairie grasses are now growing and flourishing.

He recognizes RIM-WRP may not work for everyone but it certainly turned him into a true believer. WRP worked on his land because of the Minnesota Waterfowl Association. The Fire and Safety classes that were held in Becker county has brought the youth onto the landscape to lean more about hunting. Parents these days are incredibly busy and teaching the youth is a way to help out the families. Restored WRP wetlands

Hendrickson learned a great deal by putting together a RIM-WRP contract. He found that the USDA Agencies and the Soil and Water Conservation District in Becker county have a strong working relationship. “The employees are high-spirited and know their job well. This makes the experience worthwhile,” said Hendrickson.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” The future will be bright in Becker County as Hendrickson continues to pursue his passion for wetland restoration.

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