This project will support a civic engagement cohort that will be offered in southwest Minnesota to foster partnering and build capacity of local government, organizations, and residents for effective civic engagement in water protection and restoration. This project will also build networks and the skill set of local resource professionals to do effective civic engagement work for water restoration and protection. The cohort will be administered through the Minnesota River Board (MRB), established in 1995 with a goal of focusing water management efforts on the local level.
The goal of this project is to establish a framework that the local government can use to guide their involvement as the UMR Watershed Project progresses over the next four years. This will result in strategies to protect or restore the waters in this watershed. These strategies will be used as the basis for making informed local water quality and land use planning decisions, as well as development of grant applications to implement the restoration and protection of waters in the UMR watershed.
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.
The Upper Minnesota River Water Quality Assessment Project will complete water chemistry assessments of the upper reaches of the Minnesota River Headwaters, which includes the main stem of the river, five main tributaries (Meadowbrook Creek, Salmonsen Creek, Fish Creek, Hoss Creek, Little Minnesota River and Stoney Run Creek), and one flowage lake (Long Tom).
The West Central Technical Service Area (WCTSA) serves 12 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in west central Minnesota and has been experiencing increased workload due to greater requests from member SWCDs. This funding will sustain a limited-term technician and purchase related support equipment to assist landowners in implementing targeted, high priority practices that result in the greatest water quality outcomes.