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Pine River man named Crow Wing, Area 8 Conservationist of Year

Jim Brandt replants bluffs at the Rollie Johnson Natural and Recreational Area.1 / 3
Jim Brandt uses his boat to haul supplies.2 / 3
Darren Mayer of Crow Wing SWCD, Jackie Brandt, Beth Hippert of CW SWCD, Jim Brandt and Melissa Barrick of CW SWCD at a ceremony recognizing Jim Brandt as Crow Wing SWCD's Outstanding Conservationist.3 / 3

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

Since 2009, Brandt has made it his personal mission to stabilize the shoreline and re-plant bluffs of the Rollie Johnson Natural and Recreational Area. These Islands are located in the middle of Upper Whitefish Lake in Pequot Lakes. 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.

He has worked, year by year, and grant by grant, to restore approximately one mile of shoreline on Big Island, Steam Boat Island and Little Island. These islands are great examples to lake shore owners of natural shoreline restoration. 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 individuals 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 (SWCD) for the county award and was also awarded the Area 8 (nine-county area) Conservationist of the Year by The MASWCD award committee. The Crow Wing SWCD supports Brandt's efforts in improving the soil, water and habitat quality in Crow Wing County. 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 Legislator of the Year for her promotion of natural resource conservation through the legislative process and by recognizing the key role that 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