The goal of this project is to use the We Are Water MN exhibit and their technical knowledge in relationship-building and storytelling to increase community capacity for sustainable watershed management in the Cannon River, Cedar River, Mississippi-Headwaters, Mississippi-Grand Rapids, Mississippi-Twin Cities, Red Lake River, Rum River and St. Louis River watersheds.
"This project will meet the following goals: develop, implement, and evaluate the impacts civic engagement outcomes for the Big Fork River Watershed; create a citizen understanding of the Watershed Restoration & Protection Strategy (WRAPS) and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) process and the role citizens and stakeholders can play in attaining water quality restoration and protection; provide opportunities for citizens and stakeholders to assist local partners and state agencies in developing priorities for restoration as well projects to accomplish protection of high quality waters; and
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.
This project will provide an important framework for civic and citizen engagement and communication in the International Rainy River-Lake of the Woods Watershed, which will contribute to long-term public participation in surface water protection and restoration activities.
The goal of phase 1 of this project is primarily to support organizational planning and coordination among project partners, forming and training a civic engagement team, creating a civic engagement strategic plan, holding two watershed kick off meetings and gathering and summarizing available water quality data. The completion of phase 1 will help provide significant momentum towards the completion of the future phases of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) process.
The main outcome of the project will be the development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study that address total suspended solids/turbidity impairments of the Mississippi River (Swan River to Crow Wing River). Community outreach to communicate the results and strategies for restoration will also take place during this project.