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Local resident named Crow Wing and Area 8 Conservationist of the Year

Jim Brandt has volunteered countless hours, recruited over 200 volunteers, utilized his boat to haul supplies, planted over 10,000 trees, shrubs and plants, installed erosion control fabric and logs and watered the plants. Submitted photo1 / 3
Jim Brandt2 / 3
Pictured are Darren Mayer from the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (left), awardee's wife, Jackie Brandt, Beth Hippert of Crow Wing SWCD, awardee Jim Brandt, and Melissa Barrick, Crow Wing SWCD. Submitted photo3 / 3

Jim Brandt of Pine River was recently honored as Crow Wing Soil and Water District's Outstanding Conservationist at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Dec. 3-5, in Bloomington.

Since 2009, Brandt has made it his personal mission to stabilize the shoreline and replant bluffs of the Rollie Johnson Natural and Recreational Area. These islands are located in the middle of Upper Whitefish Lake.

Brandt has volunteered countless hours, recruited over 200 volunteers, used his boat to haul supplies, planted over 10,000 trees, shrubs and plants, installed erosion control fabric and logs and watered the plants. He has worked, year by year, and grant by grant, to restore approximately 1 mile of shoreline on Big Island, Steamboat Island and Little Island. These islands are great examples to lakeshore owners of natural shoreline restoration, a news release stated. Brandt's work is ensuring future Minnesotans can camp, fish, swim and walk on the nature trails of the islands.

Each year, the state's SWCDs recognize people and organizations for outstanding accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota's natural resources. Brandt was selected by the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District for the county award and was also awarded the Area 8 (nine-county area) Conservationist of the Year by the Minnesota association award committee.

"The Crow Wing SWCD is proud to support Brandt's efforts in improving the soil, water and habitat quality in Crow Wing County," the district said in the release.

The award program is conducted with support from The Farmer magazine.

Also recognized at the event was Sen. Carrie Ruud. Ruud was awarded the 2017 Legislature of the Year for her promotion of natural resource conservation through the legislative process and by recognizing the key role soil and water conservation districts can play in the delivery of conservation practices on private lands.

For more information on the program, contact Sheila Boldt at the the Crow Wing SWCD at 218-828-6197 or sheila.boldt@crowwingswcd.org.

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