Cody Fox, project manager for Cedar River Watershed District, speaks Aug. 25, 2021, at an upland, stormwater storage site in Mower County as part of a tour by board members of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), a state agency. On Dec. 2, 2021, BWSR executive director John Jaschke honored Fox with the 2021 Outstanding Watershed District Employee award during the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts’ annual conference.

Dec. 3, 2021 — Built into parts of Mower County’s countryside, more than a dozen grass-covered structures help improve water quality and reduce flooding.

Cody Fox has led the nearly $7 million construction of those 14 structures the past six years as the Cedar River Watershed District’s project manager, which…

Mower County farmer Wayne DeWall (left) looks at an informational sheet being held by Mower SWCD watershed technician James Fett on Sept. 15, 2021, at a public event on prairie strips. The group gathered in a prairie strip established on the DeWall farm as part of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Field to Stream Partnership in the Root River’s headwaters in eastern Mower County.

Nov. 12, 2021 — After a big rain, Wayne DeWall would see soil from his Mower County cropland washing away in the headwaters of the Root River’s south branch.

In recent years, though, that has changed where DeWall has established sections of native vegetation called “prairie strips” in strategic spots…

Terry Hamilton speaks on May 26, 2017, at his rural Adams farm in Mower County during a Soil Health Field Day organized by the Austin-based Mower Soil & Water Conservation District in coordination with the Riverland Community College’s agricultural program.

AUSTIN, Minn. — Oct. 21, 2021 — Soil-health partners will come together next week for a free event on a Mower County farm to share experiences and research on cover crops, reduced tillage and other practices.

Terry and Cindy Hamilton will host the Mower County Soil Health Field Day from…

\People gather June 30, 1951, at the site of the Mower County 6 bridge — built in 1888 — after it collapsed into the Cedar River when a gravel truck crashed into its side while trying to avoid another truck. This photo ran in the July 6, 1951, edition of the Austin Daily Herald. (Mower County Historical Society.)

In 1950, the Cedar River did not have a modern bridge crossing it along the more than 20 miles between Austin and St. Ansgar, Iowa.

Prairie strip vegetation is shown Aug. 17, 2021, south of Grand Meadow in the middle of corn fields operated by Mower County farmer Wayne DeWall. This will be the site of a free field day on prairie strips Sept. 15, 2021, as organized by Mower SWCD, Minnesota Department of Agriculture and others.

Prairie strips established in small areas of southeast Minnesota crop fields are showing the ability to improve water quality on site by filtering rainwater.

This innovative practice will be featured at a free field day Wednesday, Sept. …

Northern Country Cooperative’s Jeff Irvin (center) and Nathan Augustine (right) receive recognition as Mower SWCD’s 2021 Outstanding Conservationist of the Year during the Mower County Fair’s opening ceremonies in Austin. Mower SWCD district manager Justin Hanson (left) honored the co-op at the event.

Plants need nitrogen to grow but too much of the essential nutrient on cropland can lead to excessive amounts of it polluting groundwater, streams and lakes.

Northern Country Cooperative in recent years has led an innovative research project on 8 acres of its cropland in Mower County to study how…

1905 image of the second German Hall built along the Cedar River on Bridge Street (2nd Ave NE) at the time of its dedication. It replaced the original German Hall built in 1892 that was destroyed by fire in 1904. (Photo courtesy of Aren Crews)

LOOKBACK: German Hall once event center along Cedar River

Fire, floods and growing greenhouse business doomed Austin social venue that ended in 1912

Heavy rain in spring 1903 caused the Cedar River to rise rapidly in Austin.

Major flooding ensued, especially around the downtown dam where Kinsman’s greenhouses had relocated just two years earlier, north of the German Hall. …

“Fish Clean” stickers are shown in June 2021 on fishing bait containers at one of three Austin retailers working with CRWD on its new initiative to remind local anglers to not litter. This is in response to fishing-related litter frequently being found along local shorelines and waterways.

July 27, 2021 — Anglers who enjoy fishing in the Cedar River Watershed are getting a visual reminder this summer to not leave trash behind, including along shorelines.

Part of the newly named Herzog View on June 9, 2021, overlooking the East Side Lake dam on Dobbins Creek in northeast Austin. The City of Austin redeveloped this public space in recent years in coordination with Mower County replacing the adjacent Oakland Place bridge.

July 15, 2021 — Jacob Herzog became inspired in 1910 after reading a newspaper article that put a $1 million value on a city having a lake.

That night, Herzog discussed the idea of Austin getting a lake — worth $28 million in today’s dollars — with a local barber…

Circa 1935 photograph looking east or downstream on the Cedar River at the former Fox Drive bridge, an iron-truss crossing that spanned the river from 1931 to 1961 when locals removed it to build a new entrance into downtown Austin. This effort led to a new river channel being cut into Austin Mill Pond and the old, horseshoe-shaped bend being filled and developed over.

Just before the iron-truss bridge, a pickup truck stopped in December 1952 to allow a bus to go through the narrow crossing over the Cedar River in Austin’s state park.

Another driver was not able to do the same and collided with the back of the pickup, damaging the vehicle.

Cedar River Watershed District

Formed in 2007, CRWD works to reduce flooding and improve water quality on the Cedar River State Water Trail and its tributaries in southern Minnesota.

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