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 Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program identifies environmental contaminants for which current health-based standards currently do not exist or need to be updated, investigate the potential for human exposure to these chemicals, and develop guidance values for drinking water. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff include contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.
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.
Several important milestones will be completed during this Phase (Phase II) of the Mississippi River (Headwaters) Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) project. These milestones will include the completion of the Stressor ID & Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Reports, the completion of the Zonation Modeling watershed priority planning process (through the continuation of the Civic Engagement project component), and the development of the overall WRAPS report.