Latest Updates

Stevens SWCD welcomes two new staff members in July 2024

Stevens SWCD is excited to welcome two new staff members to our team.

Austin Norby will serve as our Soil Health Specialist, working with local farmers and landowners to improve soil quality. This involves a variety of things such as planting cover crops, implementing crop rotations, reducing compaction, and improving overall soil health. Austin graduated from NDSU in 2017 with a degree in Agribusiness/Crop and Weed Science. He was previously a seed salesman for Gold Country Seed in the Swift County area, and before that he worked at Hefty Seed Company in Hancock. He was born and raised in Benson where he now lives with his wife Hannah and son Noah. Outside of work, he enjoys being with his family, farming, hunting, and fishing.

Stay tuned for more information about soil health initiatives in Stevens County!

Sophia Maruska has joined the SWCD staff as Pomme de Terre River Watershed Coordinator. Her work encompasses diverse coordination and marketing responsibilities to support the objectives of the Pomme de Terre River Association Joint Powers Board and Technical Advisory Committee. Sophia received both a Bachelor of Science and Masters in Natural Resource Management from North Dakota State University. While completing her Masters, Sophia worked in student services for the School of Natural Resources at NDSU. She is from Northeast Minneapolis and spent the last five years in Fargo before moving to Morris. When not at work, Sophia enjoys cheering on the Minnesota Timberwolves, shooting clay pigeons, traveling, and of course, anything outdoors. She has one son—a fat, grumpy orange cat named Donnigan.

More information about the work of the Pomme de Terre River Association, which involves portions of the counties of Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Stevens and Swift, can be found on their website at

Please stop in and see Austin, Sophia, and the rest of the staff at Stevens SWCD for help with your conservation projects!


Public Comment Period Open — Pomme de Terre River Watershed

The Draft Pomme de Terre WRAPS Report Update and Draft Pomme de Terre River Watershed TMDL Report 2024 are open for public comment through June 27, 2024.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has opened a public comment period for the Pomme de Terre River Watershed, which includes the counties of Otter Tail, Douglas, Grant, Stevens, Swift, and Big Stone.

The research caps 10 years of water-quality monitoring. A public comment period on this report is open May 28-June 27. Here is the information you’ll find on the MPCA website for the public notice period:

“The MPCA has identified 13 new impairments to bodies of water in the Pomme de Terre River Watershed in west central Minnesota: three aquatic recreation impairments on lakes, two aquatic life impairments on lakes, and eight impairments on stream reaches. One stream segment that the MPCA previously listed as impaired, Pelican Creek in Grant County, was found to no longer have impaired macroinvertebrates communities. In addition, some water resources that already meet standards need additional protection. In these reports, the MPCA describes a variety of engagement strategies and best management practices unique to the diverse landscape and communities of the Pomme de Terre River Watershed to address water quality issues in this watershed.

“The MPCA prepares two significant watershed reports that help direct future restoration or protection work. A total maximum daily load (TMDL) report addresses impaired waters by establishing the amount of each pollutant that a water body can accept and still meet water quality standards, or the reductions needed to meet the standards. The second report, a watershed restoration and protection strategy (WRAPS) report, uses TMDL reports, monitoring results, and other information to develop strategies for restoring polluted waters and protecting healthy ones.

“See the Public Notice document for public participation options. For more information about Minnesota’s watersheds, please visit our website.

“We invite you to comment on the draft Pomme de Terre River Watershed reports.”

For more information, visit the MPCA Public Notices webpage, click on the “Comment online” link and then scroll down to find the Pomme de Terre River links.

NOW HIRING: Soil Health Specialist

Stevens SWCD is hiring a Soil Health Specialist. This full-time role encompasses diverse coordination and marketing responsibilities to support the objectives of the Stevens SWCD Soil Health Program. This individual will oversee the promotion of sustainable land management practices, focusing on enhancing soil health, preserving natural resources, and boosting agricultural productivity. Their responsibilities will include working closely with farmers, landowners, and community stakeholders to introduce conservation strategies and conduct educational activities centered around soil health principles. Within the Stevens SWCD, they will offer specialized knowledge and assistance in planning and executing conservation practices with a focus on soil health. A significant aspect of the role will involve engaging with landowners to understand their objectives regarding soil and water conservation, including conducting on-site visits to explore conservation possibilities for their properties.

Click here to view the full position announcement. Click here for an application.

2024 is an election year for 3 of 5 Stevens SWCD Supervisor districts

SWCD Board members are elected officials and 2024 is an election year for 3 of the 5 districts within Stevens County. Board members are elected to 4-year terms and Districts 1, 4, and 5 will be included in the 2024 election (please click here to see a map of Stevens County districts). Here are some details about elections:

  • Supervisors are elected at large but must reside in one of the districts shown on the map.
  • The filing period this year opens on May 21 and closes at 5:00 p.m. on June 4.
  • Those interested in running for SWCD supervisor need to file an affidavit of candidacy and a $20 filing fee with their county elections official (usually, the county auditor).
  • SWCD candidates do not participate in primary elections and are elected at the general election which will take place November 5.
  • Write-in candidates must file a written request with the county auditor in order for the write-in votes to be counted. Contact your county elections official for more information.
  • SWCD candidate-elects need to file a Statement of Economic Interest with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board after beginning their term.
  • The current SWCD Supervisor Compensation/per diem maximum of $125 is referenced in the guide. MASWCD was successful in working with the legislature in 2021 to increase the rate from $75 to $125.

Please contact us if you are interested in running for an open position or supporting another candidate.

Click here for more information about the work of our current supervisors.

We’re Hiring a Watershed Coordinator!

Stevens SWCD is hiring a Watershed Coordinator. This full-time role encompasses diverse coordination and marketing responsibilities to support the objectives of the Pomme de Terre River Association (PDTRA) Joint Powers Board. The coordinator will work with state, federal, and local entities, as well as boards and organizations, to advance various programs and achieve the goals outlined in established water plans. Duties include promoting and executing activities aligned with work and implementation plans, aiding in report preparation, promoting watershed initiatives, and educational and outreach endeavors.

Click here to view the full position announcement. Click here for an application.

Our Mission

The mission of the Stevens Soil & Water Conservation District is to work with county landowners in putting conservation practices on the land and to help all citizens be good stewards of our natural resources.