Finding ways to balance farming and clean water

A story of redemption

26 years ago, Brian Axdahl and his father bought an old sod farm near the St. Croix River and plowed the turf under with moldboard plows. The soil was compacted from years of poor management. Lakes formed in the fields whenever it rained, and runoff flowed to the river, carrying sediments and nutrients with it.

Over the years, the Axdahls slowly nursed their farmland back to good health. Brian worked with the Washington Conservation District to build an earthen dam nearly a mile long with a controlled outlet structure to hold back runoff. He put eight acres of land into a conservation easement with the….


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