There is an old African proverb that states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That statement can be translated to the partnership efforts among the people living along the Sauk River watershed’s stream banks and lake shorelines.
Those partners include the Sauk River Watershed District, Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District, and members of the Douglas County Lakes, Osakis Lake, and Big Birch Lake Associations. Recent accomplishments in the watershed include:
- Installing vegetative buffer strips at two riparian sites
- Replacing rock rip rap with natural vegetation at public parks and private homes
- Funding feedlot improvement projects along Fish Creek using MPCA Clean Water Partnership Grants
- Establishing 33-foot buffers along ditches and streams flowing into Big Birch Lake
- Increasing the number of volunteer lake and stream monitors
- Hosting seminars to promote shoreline best management practices and zero phosphorus fertilizers
- Completing diagnostic studies that prompted septic system upgrades
- Restoring an eroding shoreline at Battle Point Park on Lake Osakis
Partnerships among organizations are essential to make projects that look good on paper become reality. But the dedication of individuals is essential to make those organizations possible.
Individuals like Kent and Loretta Trulson who won the 2009 Friends of Big Birch Lake award. The Trulson’s completed a two-year project aimed at eliminating soil erosion and minimizing runoff. They did this by replacing rock rip rap along their shoreline with native vegetation, developing two buffer zones adjacent to the shore, and creating a series of rain gardens to retain rainwater from the roofs and impervious surfaces on their property. The Trulson’s also invited their neighbor to direct his rain gutter downspouts to flow into the new rain gardens. The couple plans to conduct tours of their project next spring in hopes of educating and inspiring other lake residents to begin similar projects on their properties.
From the “you’re never too young to get involved” department, the Battle Point Park shoreline restoration project on Lake Osakis proved that kids are leaders too. Osakis area girl and boy scouts joined the team of volunteers that installed over 11,000 native plants and restored over 22,000 square feet of lakeshore at the park.
Indeed it takes a village to raise a child. And in this case, the child is the combined lakes, streams, and rivers of the Sauk River watershed.