The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District is a resource for those interested in partnering for soil and water conservation.

One of its programs, Landscaping for Clean Water, includes free educational workshops, hands-on design classes, assistance at site visits and grants for homeowners. The goal of the Landscaping for Clean Water program is to teach residents how to beautify their yards while also protecting local water quality and providing habitat for pollinators.

These goals seem to resonate with Dakota County residents as participation in this program has increased over the past two years. In 2018, the number of rain and native pollinator gardens installed through the grant program was 33 percent higher than in 2017 and 74 percent higher than in 2016.

Registration is now open for the 2019 introductory workshops (residents must attend one of these to gain access to the hands-on design courses and reimbursement grants). Many courses are expected to sell out this year. Workshops are open to anyone, no matter where they live. The public can learn more and register online at the Dakota SWCD website: