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West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District Honored for Snow Fences

By Julie MacSwain, Public Affairs Specialist

Snow FenceEach year at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD Annual meeting, a soil and water conservation district in Minnesota who has contributed significantly to protecting Minnesota state highways is recognized.

This MASWCD Living Snow Fence Achievement Award is co-sponsored by the MASWCD and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). In December, 2011, the West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was recognized for their contributions to protecting Minnesota state highways through the promotion and installation of living snow fences. Living snow fences are trees, shrubs and native grasses located along roads or around communities and farmsteads.

West Otter Tail SWCD was recognized for its efforts in enrolling and planting nine living snow fences in critical areas, designated by MnDOT, along 3 miles of MN State Highways in Otter Tail County. The West Otter Tail SWCD assisted landowners with enrolling into the Conservation Reserve Program by developing the design and layout, as well as assisting with the tree and grass planting.

“MnDOT appreciates the effort of private landowners who allow living snow fences to be planted on their land in order to achieve adequate snow storage between the snow fence and the roadway,” said Dan Gullickson, MnDOT Living Snow Fence Program Coordinator. “Snow drifts on the road can narrow travel lane width increasing the chances of hitting oncoming traffic. Living snow fences help save lives, save money and save time for those responsible for plowing the roads and the highway travelers who depend on the road to get to and from their destination.”

Aaron Larsen, Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist, Fergus Falls, MN accepted the MASWCD award. For the last 4 years since graduating from the University of Minnesota with a double major in Wildlife Management and Natural Resources Management, Larson has been working as a Biologist. Larsen enjoys being involved with planning a habitat for rural landowners coupled with making our roadways safer. According to Larsen, “planting Living Snow Fences is a win-win for everyone.”

For more information on the Living Snow Fence Program, please contact Aaron Larsen at the West Otter Tail SWCD Office by calling (218)-739-1308.