Lyon SWCD was established in 1945 to address the resource needs of land users in the area . Today, the SWCD assists not only rural but urban landowners with various programs and information the needed to protect the soil, water and air quality. The importance of these goals ~ and the accomplishments ~ will be easily measured in the future through a sound and healthy resource base. SWCD's are political subdivisions of the State, established under Minnesota Statue 103C. Each SWCD is governed by a Board of supervisors elected by the residents of the county. In June of 2012 an agreement was reached with Lyon County allowing the SWCD to become a department within the County but operating under its own Board. The SWCD Board and Staff are unique in that they live & work in the county and watershed area. The accomplishments and decisions that are made affect themselves, their families, their neighbors and friends. With these ties, the programs and services are for the good of the local area as well as the region ~ its resources, economy and our future generations. The SWCD's partner with other agencies and groups to ensure that the programs and funds we receive are utilized in a responsible manner and actions are coordinated to best suit the needs of the area resources and population ~ countywide as well as its watersheds.

The mission of the Lyon Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to provide high quality, professional assistance to the citizens and land users of our county providing them tools and programs to utilize in the protection and enhancement of our resources. 

The SWCD office is located at 1424 East College Drive ~ Ste 600, Marshall, MN  56258 - Phone (507) 532-8207 Extension 3



Preliminary Buffer Map

Landowners, counties and watershed districts are now reviewing the preliminary map of Minnesota public waters requiring protective buffers. Landowners who have buffers identified on their property can work with their local soil and water conservation district or drainage authority to ensure the preliminary map is accurate. Minnesota’s buffer law establishes new perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along rivers, streams and public ditches to help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment. The Department of Natural Resources’ role is to produce a map of the public waters and public ditches that require permanent vegetation buffers. “Specific questions about the map’s depiction of waters on private land should go to local soil and water conservation districts or drainage authorities,” DNR Buffer Mapping Project Manager Dave Leuthe said. “Soil and water conservation districts are ready to work with landowners on these issues.” The preliminary map created by the DNR displays public ditches only in counties and watershed districts that have submitted their data and had them incorporated into the map by the DNR. A status map is also available, showing the progress of each Minnesota county and watershed district in getting their data on the preliminary buffer map. Eighty-two of the 95 drainage authorities have submitted the required data. The DNR is working with those entities that have not yet submitted data, and designed a tool to help counties with paper data to digitize and submit their information. Counties and watershed districts reviewing the preliminary map can suggest updates or corrections where ditch data on the map may not accurately show the current length or course of public ditches. The DNR has designed a tool that local governments can use to easily submit their suggested corrections online. Corrections made during this review process will help the DNR deliver a more accurate buffer map this summer. The preliminary buffer map and status map are available at Also available at this website is a link to submit comments through May 31 about how the map is being created and more information about the buffer mapping project.


For more information please contact Todd Hammer at 532-8208.

Rain Gauge Monitors Needed

The Lyon County Soil and Water Conservation District needs volunteer rain gauge monitors in the following townships: Coon Creek, Eidsvold, Island Lake, Monroe, Nordland, Vallers, and Westerheim.  For more information please contact Anita Cauwels at 507-532-8207 Ext 3 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Download this file (rain-gauge-volunteer-ad.pdf)Rain Gauge Volunteer Ad101 kB

SWCD Involvement and Happenings

This page gives the reader an idea of types of programs and involvements the Lyon SWCD is connected with. 



Ecology Bus visits have been an ongoing educational program for a number of years.  This Bus, which is fully equiped as a classroom brings interactive experiments to upper elementary and middle school students in Lyon County.  During 2017 the Prairie Ecology Bus visited Garvin Park with the Marshall Middle School students to do water testing.  Over the last year Russell Middle School and Tracy Middle School  were other schools doing environmental and conservation projects.  

Environmental Fair is a two day event held each September either at the Lyon County Fairgrounds or Murray County Fairgrounds.  Sessions by expert presenters in fields of soil health, trees, prairie environment, fisheries, glacier impact history, water health, and wetlands are held plus visits from the MN Science Museum and the MN Zoo. In the fall of 2017 over 1900 students from Southwestern MN attended the two-day event at the Lyon County Fairgrounds in Marshall, MN.

Arbor Day is promoted with staff available to do school presentations.



Conservation Planning and Construction - The SWCD along with its partner agency, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), provides technical assistance for landowners to;

  • Conduct a site investigation with the owner/operator
  • Work with the owner/operator to determine the best management practice for the given situation
  • Survey and design the project
  • Produce a rough cost-estimate
  • Provide them with a designee for submission of bids
  • Perform a pre-construction conference with the contractor and owner/operator, and
  • Supervise construction and certify completion of the project

State Cost Share Program provides landowners/occupiers with financial assistance to offset the cost of installing conservation practices that protect and improve water quality by controlling soil erosion and reducing sedimentation . The SWCD provides up to 75% cost share on conservation practices such as Water & Sediment Control Basins. All practices must be approved for cost-share prior to construction and landowners are reimbursed upon completion of the project.

Other Cost-Share/Incentive Programs are available as the SWCD works with other agencies to provide cost-share and incentive programs to owners/operators.  Besides working with other area SWCD's we work with the Yellow Medicine River Watershed District and the Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area.  Depending on the grants available, funding varies from year to year.  A variety of federal cost-share programs are available to help landowners/operators pay for installing best management conservation practices.  SWCD and NRCS technicians will work to access appropriate funding.

Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) Program is administered locally by the Lyon SWCD in cooperation with Lyon County.  Contact Luke Olson at 507 532-8207, ext. 3 for more information.

Walk-In-Access Program is an opportunity for landowners to open their land for public hunting.

Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Programs and rates are available by contacting or emailing John Rainey, Pheasants Forever, Farm bill Biologist at the Lyon SWCD office 507 532-8207, ext. 3 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Ag Best Management Practices (BMP) Loan Program is handled by Lyon SWCD providing the application and as the contact agency. For more information and an application contact the SWCD office at 507 532-8207, ext. 3.

Observation Well monitoring is contracted with the Minnesota Department of natural Resources to measure the water level in a well located in the county within the city of Marshall.

Rainfall Monitoring is done in cooperation with the Minnesota Climatology office to record rainfall and snowfall in Lyon County.  Volunteers record the amount of moisture that we receive on a monthly basis and mail the reports into the SWCD office and then forwarded to the state office.  This information is important to them as this helps determine if there is potential for flooding and the likelihood for drought conditions.

County Local Water Plan is assisted by the Lyon SWCD with implemention.  This plan is a 10 year plan with a 5 year implementation period adopted by the SWCD.  For more imformation about the Plan visit our website under "Local Water Management Plan".



2016 SWCD Financial Reporting

In order for the SWCD to provide the best possible service to the tax payers, and to give direction to the staff, the Board and staff prepare "Work Plans".  These plans provide the staff with goals and guidance for the day to day operations of the SWCD.  They are also a requirement by the State agencies enabling the SWCD to receive grant funds that help administrative costs and to provide funding to our land users to install conservation practices.

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Hours and Locations

Lyon County Government Center

8:00-4:30 M-F   Map

Public Works Building

8:00-4:30 M-F   Map

Law Enforcement Center

8:00-4:00 M-F   Map

Lyon County Zoning/SWCD

8:00-4:30 M-F   Map

Lyon County Landfill

6:00-4:00 M-F   Map


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