The purpose of this contract is to establish an international watershed coordinator for the Rainy River- Lake of the Woods (RR-LOW) watershed. The coordinator will assist the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in facilitating and enhancing civic engagement and public participation activities through collaboration and integration of the efforts of groups working on watershed activities at local, state/provincial, tribal, and bi-national levels.
The University of Minnesota will develop effective interview questions for community watershed assessments in the Rainy River basin and provide assistance in understanding the data collected through community interviews.
There are seven major watersheds Koochiching County, this project will work in five of them: Big Fork, Little Fork, Rapid River, Lower Rainy River, and Rainy River Headwaters watersheds. The local Koochiching County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is positioned to assist in several elements of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) process. This includes gap monitoring for water chemistry, sediment work, TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) development, modeling scenarios, and WRAPS development.
Approximately 70 percent of all Minnesotans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Wells used for drinking water must be properly sealed when removed from service to protect both public health and Minnesota’s invaluable groundwater resources. The Minnesota Department of Health protects both public health and groundwater by assuring the proper sealing of unused wells.
Clean Water funds are being provided to well owners as a 50% cost-share assistance for sealing unused public water-supply wells.