Area briefs: Golden eagle numbers a little low in annual winter survey of raptors

SMIF seeking applicants for paint to spruce up towns; MnDOT open house will share information on I-90/Highway 52 project

Golden Eagle Survey Flying.JPG
A golden eagle swoops low over a field in rural Wabasha County Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, during the 2021 Golden Eagle Survey conducted by the National Eagle Center. The results of the 2022 survey were recently released.
Post Bulletin file photo
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WABASHA — The number of golden eagles spotted in this year's annual Golden Eagle Survey by the National Eagle Center was a little lower than previous years.

According to the Eagle Center, the annual citizen-scientist survey resulted in 99 golden eagles spotted by observers who traveled 7,209 miles across 51 counties in four states. That's down from 126 in 2021, 119 in 2020, and 146 in 2019.

The number of bald eagles spotted during the one-day survey on Jan. 15 by the 195 volunteers was 1,643, the second-highest total in the 18-year history of the Golden Eagle Survey.

Also up were the number of red-tailed hawks (866) and rough-legged hawks (199), which represented the highest totals spotted for those raptors.

While the National Eagle Center is closed because of an expansion project being done this winter, the organization continues to offer tours and learning opportunities for the public. For more information, visit .


MnDOT to host open house on I-90/US 52 project

ROCHESTER — A planned reconstruction project for the interchange at Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 52 will be discussed during a virtual open house from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will host the meeting to inform the public about the project scheduled to be done in 2024-2025.

The project will include the replacement of the I-90 bridges over Highway 52, construct new ramp for southbound Highway 52 to eastbound I-90, reconstruct all ramps and loops, and replacement of large culverts under the interchange ramps.

The project is estimated to cost $25 million.

To log into the virtual open house, visit the project website at .

Program helps upgrade more septic systems in Mower County

AUSTIN — A program to upgrade septic systems in Mower county has helped bring 112 systems into compliance in 2021.

Mower Septic Replacement Map.jpeg
Yellow dots on the map show the approximate location of roughly 240 septic systems upgraded in Mower County in 2020 and 2021.
Contributed photo / Mower County

The countywide initiative began two years ago to better protect local waterways and underground drinking water sources, said Angela Lipelt, Mower County’s environmental services supervisor.

The Mower County’s Board of Commissioners launched the subsurface sewage treatment systems initiative in January 2020 to complete the final phase of the county’s long-running efforts to achieve septic compliance countywide.


"Human health and the environment are threatened by poorly functioning septic systems," Lipelt said. “All our efforts at the county are aimed at more easily finding and fixing septic systems that likely are not removing pathogens, nutrients and other chemicals from wastewater before it enters our groundwater, lakes and streams."

For more information on the program, visit .

SMIF seeks applicants to 'Paint the Town' program

OWATONNA — The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation has partnered with regional hardware stores to help cities spruce up with a little paint.

The Paint the Town grant program offers free paint and coating products for community mural, community welcome signs or historic structure projects to communities with less than 10,000 people throughout the 20-county southern Minnesota region.

The program serves to inspire local volunteer involvement in the painting process. Up to 15 projects will be awarded paint products based on visual impact, public benefit, volunteer participation and community support.

SMIF has helped distribute more than 10,500 gallons of paint to 293 projects in the region since 1997.

“It is always wonderful to see our local communities utilizing the rich colors of our paints in projects that contribute to the vibrancy of the region,” said Brad Neiman, owner of seven participating Arrow Hardware & Paint stores.

SMIF President and CEO Tim Penny said the program helps contribute to community pride in small towns across the region.


Applications are due to SMIF by March 31, 2022. For more information or to apply, visit or contact Jennifer Heien at (507) 214-7040 or

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