Heron Lake Watershed District Wins MAWD Project of the Year Award for Grassroots Effort to Bring Back Fulda Lakes - 2013

The Heron Lake Watershed District was awarded the Minnesota Association of Watershed District’s (MAWD) Project of the Year Award for the Grassroots Effort to Bring Back Fulda Lakes. The award was given during the annual meeting held at the Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria.

The MAWD annually honors innovative programs and projects that have achieved project partnerships, public benefit, use of creative solutions, innovative project financing and management, project success at meeting goals, and address a clearly defined project.

This grassroots endeavor started on behalf of Fulda townspeople noticing the degradation of First and Second Fulda Lakes, located within city limits. Through strong partnerships, the grassroots ideas turned to reality. The HLWD was able to apply for funds based on the needs described by local landowners. Partnerships were essential in utilizing the best resources available and maximizing the cost effectiveness of any project or education event. Partners included the Department of Natural Resources, Murray County, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Fulda Game and Fish Club, State of Minnesota, Landowners, Murray Soil and Water Conservation District, and the HLWD. Fulda Lakes are seeing improvement as a result of collaboration that made the drawdown, reclamation, and restoration projects possible.

Photo 4

MAWD Award Application

MAWD Award Press Release

Worthington Daily Globe article

Heron Lake Watershed District Wins Environmental Initiative Award for Natural Resources Protection and Restoration - 2012

  Ei Compressed

The Environmental Initiative Awards annually honor innovative projects that have achieved extraordinary environmental results by harnessing the power of partnership. From large statewide efforts to small-scale locally based projects, many of Minnesota’s most innovative environmental efforts have succeeded as a result of collaboration. Environmental Initiative established the Environmental Initiative Awards in 1994 to honor these partnerships, inspire other organizations to create similar projects, and encourage collaborative approaches to environmental problem solving.

Awards nominations were accepted for three weeks beginning in early February. The Heron Lake Watershed District (HLWD) submitted an application entitled A Grassroots Effort to Bring Back the Fulda Lakes. Finalists were chosen by a team of judges, all experts in their environmental fields, hailing from a diversity of backgrounds and sectors. The HLWD was notified that they wree a finalist in the Natural Resources Protection and Restoration category in early April.

The annual Environmental Initiative Awards Dinner was held at the Nicollet Island Pavilion on Thursday, May 24, 2012. Fifteen finalist projects, three in each of the five award categories, were honored. The Environmental Initiative presented five outstanding environmental projects with awards at the Environmental Initiative Awards Dinner. There were over 340 people in attendance at the event.

Following is a link to the application that was submitted to the Environmental Initiative.

A Grassroots Effort to Bring Back the Fulda Lakes

This is a link to the press release regarding the Environmental Initiative Award.

Environmental Initiative Award Press Release


 Heron Lake Watershed District's District Administrator, Jan Voit is North Heron Lake Game Producers Association’s Person of the Year - 2011

Jan Award

One of the successes touted by the HLWD is the long-term relationships and partnerships formed over the years. These partnerships have created opportunities for bringing conservation dollars into the watershed, provided a quality internship program for over 26 students and educated watershed residents about various environmental topics. Without Jan's dedication and steadfastness to the HLWD and the Heron Lake area, these opportunities would have been limited.

Changes to farming practices, land use, funding sources and regulations have created a feast and famine mindset, and yet Jan has remained. There have been some rough waters that she and the HLWD managers have weathered through the years, and yet she had remained. These changed show her steadfastness and commitment to Heron lake and its watershed residents. Jan's dedication and steadfastness are worthy of noting, and she is very deserving of the 2011 NHLGPA's Person of the Year award.

NHLGPA's Person of the Year: Jan Voit Aticle by Kelli Nerem

Heron Lake Watershed District Receives 2007 Watershed District of the Year Award from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - 2007

DNR Award 2

Each year the Department of Natural Resources Division of Waters awards one of the watershed districts in the state for their accomplishments toward water quality improvement.  Watershed districts are nominated for the award by area and regional DNR hydrologists. Kent Lokkesmoe, Director of the DNR Division of Waters, presented this year’s award to the Heron Lake Watershed District (HLWD) at the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts Annual Meeting in Alexandria, Minnesota on November 30.

The HLWD was nominated for this award for their public outreach and education efforts. These endeavors include monthly newsletters, semi-annual education meetings, tours, and PowerPoint presentations. Also included are one-on-one meetings with landowners and operators to provide information about best management programs. All of these projects and programs have lead to improved water quality.

The HLWD is very honored to have received the 2007 DNR Watershed District of the Year Award and pledges to continue their efforts toward improving, conserving, and sustaining our natural resources.


Governor’s MnGREAT Award (Minnesota Government Reaching Environmental Achievements Together) - 2007

Outstanding environmental projects and programs throughout the state are honored each year by recognition at the highest level through the Governor’s Awards program.

The Governor’s MnGREAT Awards (Minnesota Government Reaching Environmental Achievements Together) recognize environmental achievements by government employees or groups of employees in the areas of pollution prevention, toxicity reduction, conservation of energy and water, recycling, and composting.

The awards program selects an independent panel of judges with varied backgrounds and environmental expertise to evaluate the nominees. This year’s judges included representatives from MN Department of Education, Retired Engineers Technical Assistance Program, MN Pollution Control Agency, City of Fridley, MN Technical Assistance Program, St. Louis County, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, Resource Recovery Technologies, Olmsted County Public Works, and Anoka County. The panel’s award recommendations are then submitted to the Governor for final approval.

Environmental benefits, innovative approaches, level of commitment and leadership, serving as a model for others, and economic efficiency are some of the factors considered during the judging process. It is a distinct honor for the recipients to be judged and awarded by their peers.

This year’s winners have demonstrated that pollution prevent programs can be both environmentally and economically beneficial and that improving our environment and increasing resource efficiency is a win-win strategy for all Minnesotans.

The HLWD is proud to announce that they are a winner of the Governor’s MnGREAT Award in the pollution prevention category for their WATER (Watershed Assistance Through Education and Resources) program. The HLWD received this prestigious award at the MnGREAT Awards ceremony held on February 28, 2007 at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota.

WATER is a compilation of all the education and implementation efforts administered by the district. WATER focuses on five goals:

  • Increase public awareness of water quality issues
  • Reduce non-point and point-source pollution
  • Improve water quantity management within the watershed
  • Monitor water quality
  • Improve habitat for wildlife species

These five goals have been an integral part of HLWD’s mission for ten years. A comparison of 1992 water quality results to 2005 water quality results shows that phosphorus concentrations have decreased 61 percent and suspended solids have decreased by 17 percent from the two inlets to Heron Lake. Through water quality sampling, volunteer monitor, and a hydrology study, water quality continues to be evaluated.

The HLWD is very honored to have received this award. The district pledges to continue to strive for excellence in our work with WATER.

MnGREAT Award 2

L to R: Chris Bauer, Jan Voit, Don Shelby, WCCO, MPCA Commissioner Brad Moore, Kelli Daberkow, and Melanie Luinenburg. Not pictured: Ross Behrends. 


The Minnesota Environmental Initiative (MEI) held their 2006 awards banquet on Wednesday, May 3 at the McNamara Alumni Center in Minneapolis. There were approximately 350 people in attendance.

The sponsors of the awards were MEI, Bloomberg & Podpeskar, LLP, Great River Energy, Andersen Windows & Doors, 3M, Medtronic, SenEarthCo, Emerson Process Management, and NAWE.

The applications were judged by representatives from Great River Energy, Hamline University, Twin Cities Public Television, Friends of the Mississippi River, Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, CenterPoint Energy, Association of metropolitan Municipalities, Eco Education, Oslund & Associates/ Minneapolis Planning Commission, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Minnesota League of Conservation Voters, E. Christine Schultze Architect, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, and Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Over sixty nominations were received in five categories: Land Use, Environmental Education, Public Sector Innovation, Private Sector Innovation, and Energy. Three finalists were chosen for each category. The HLWD was a finalist in the Environmental Education category for our WATER program (Watershed Assistance Through Education and Resources), a compilation of all the good things we do every day for the residents of our watershed district! A PowerPoint presentation was given for each of the fifteen finalists. One winner was chosen in each category. A partnership of the year award was also given.

We are very pleased to announce that the Heron Lake Watershed District is the 2006 Environmental Education Award winner!

MEI Award 2

“This is equivalent to the Academy Awards for environmental programs for the State of Minnesota” - Steve Hobbs, Rice Creek Watershed District. 

MAWD Program of the Year Award - 2002

MAWD Award

The Minnesota Associations of Watershed Districts honored Water with the First Annual "Program of the Year" Award in 2002.