After replacing the tiling in his farm field, Dakota County farmer Dave Legvold wanted to try something different with his buffer zone. Normally the tile water goes into the nearest tributary or ditch. Legvold is testing a technique called a “saturated” buffer. The idea is to push some of the water taken from the field and push it into the zone to grow grass, trees, shrubs or whatever. Through a system of gates water level is regulated to hold it or let it loose. Legvold calls it crop insurance for drought. It also allows for too much water to be released. He’s also researching the best plants to put in the saturated buffer zone. Working with St. Olaf student, Claire Hinther, they’re looking to see what happens with the nitrogen and phosphorus content when water is forced
through 3 regimes, including a forest (they planted hardwood trees), nuts (they planted hazelnuts) and berries (they planted elderberries and highbush cranberries). So far they’ve sampled tiled water from the field and then after 10 feet of buffer regime. They’ve found a significant reduction in nitrogen. He added that one of the measures of success is, “can we keep the nitrate content in our field tile water below the drinking water standard”. That standard is 10 parts per million. Many local wells, he said, have well over 30 parts per million. The results are encouraging but there’s much more study to be done. Legvold says it’s not about different or better fertilizer or GPS technology on tractors but a change of heart for those in agriculture. He’s an advocate of no till, which builds the soil back up. Governor Dayton named Legvold one of three Water Heroes in MN.
Osterman in as Executive Director
Cathy Osterman can remove the Interim part of her title as Executive Director of the Northfield Historical Society. Last night the Board of Directors unanimously chose to offer her the position and she accepted. One initiative is to further engage youth through educational options. She said, “we expect them to walk in the building and maybe it’s time for us to leave the building and come to them”. She’s been with NHS for 5 and a half years, most of those as curator. In February, when Hayes Scriven took a position up north, Osterman stepped in, juggling multiple duties.
LWV to host Nfld At-Large candidate forum
The Northfield/Cannon Falls League of Women Voters will be holding a candidate forum for the At-Large City Council seat. There’s one year left to complete Rhonda Pownell’s seat after she was elected Mayor. Greg Colby was appointed to fill the vacancy for 2017 but an election must be held by law to complete the term. Colby, Don McGee and Jon Denison are all vying for the seat. The forum will be held Monday evening, October 23rd at 7 o’clock in Northfield City Council Chambers. There will be opportunities for the public to submit questions to the candidates following their formal presentations. LWV. KYMN will have all three candidates on the morning show next week.
Street projects, NDDC and more on council agenda
The Northfield City Council meets tonight at 6 o’clock. One topic on their agenda is ordering plans and specs for the 2018 street projects. Total cost is estimated at $4.2 million. All meetings are open to the public, they’re also streamed live from the City’s website.