Outstanding Conservationist

John and Sandy Froning will be honored as outstanding conservationists in Meeker County at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, December 12-14, 2022, in Bloomington, Minn. They were selected by the Meeker Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for the award.

Each year, the state's SWCDs recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding accomplishments in implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota's natural resources. The award program is conducted with support from The Farmer magazine.

John and Sandy Froning began working with Meeker SWCD in 2014 to find a solution to their eroding bank, and in the spring of 2021, their project was not only complete, but was one of the largest scale shoreline stabilization projects that Meeker SWCD has been a part of.

The Froning’s were losing 2-6 feet of shoreline annually, with it eroding into Belle Lake and having the potential to affect major spawning identified just off their property. Typically stabilizing bluffs and shorelines of this size are cost prohibitive, and with grant funding only covering 20% of the cost, the Froning’s paid for the balance out of pocket, knowing that it “was a good investment with great results.”

According to Garry Bennet from the DNR, “Shoreland restoration and stabilization projects on this scale are rare, there’s really no other project like it in the area.  Project design and DNR permitting were definite obstacles, but Mr. Froning was willing to work with us and made the necessary concessions to develop a final project we could all agree upon.  DNR was concerned with the walleye spawning area along the eroding bluff, but as a cooperative partner, DNR agreed to pay for a mitigation project that attempted to mimic the natural spawning substrate by adding additional gravel and cobble at the base of the restored shoreline.  The folks I have talked to have been very supportive of the project.”

Stabilization of the Froning’s shoreline was completed using a combination of rip rap, native vegetation, and  grading/filling the bluff and shoreline. This project alone will save an estimated 31 tons of sediment, 31 tons of soil, and provide an estimated reduction of 31 pounds of phosphorus per year. 

Congratulations, John and Sandy!

Meeker 1

Meeker SWCD's 2022 Outstanding Conservationists, John and Sandy Froning. Pictured below is the before and after of the shoreline.Meeker 2