Friday, February 03, 2017

Mark your calendars for April 27!

Our next full congress meeting open to the public will be on Thursday April 27th.  Yes, it's almost 3 months away but now is the time to set the date on your calendars for that afternoon and evening.  We have a lot of special things in store for everyone.  Much more info to follow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Minnesota River Congress 2016 Resolution Summary

Minnesota River Congress 2016 Resolution Summary
1)Paddler Access Adopted Therefore be it resolved, The Minnesota River Congress should create or support a program to work with all units of government; cities, counties, and water Management Organizations adjacent to the Minnesota River or a Minnesota River tributary, to create public access points on the rivers for recreational uses, paddlers and boaters; that are properly designed, properly constructed, and properly, maintained; and, Be it further resolved, the Minnesota River Congress support efforts by those units of government to obtain funding from any and all sources to design and construct river access points for recreational users.
2) Minnesota Falls Property Acquisition Adopted Therefore be it resolved: That the members of the Minnesota River Congress hereby urge the Minnesota DNR to work with the Xcel Energy, the Minnesota Parks and Trails Council and/or any other nonprofit or third party organization in a process to get the property transferred in a timely manner to public ownership.
3) Fort Ridgely Golf Course Adopted
Therefore be it resolved, the Minnesota River Congress work to promote legislative approval for a reasonable concession agreement for the city of Fairfax with the DNR Parks & Trails Division.
4) Minnesota Valley and Minnesota River State Trails Adopted
Therefore be it resolved, the Minnesota River Congress work to promote legislative funding to complete the Minnesota River State Trail and the Minnesota Valley State Trail; and,
Therefore be it further resolved, the Minnesota River Congress encourage the creation of local State Trail Advocacy groups within the Minnesota Valley to promote segments of the Minnesota River State Trail and Minnesota Valley State Trail
5) Granite Falls Fish Passage and Whitewater Water Park Adopted
That the members of the Minnesota River Congress hereby urge the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to provide and/or promote technical, administrative and economic support for the installation of a fish passage and whitewater park at the site of Granite Falls.
6) Ecosystem Services Adopted
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnesota River Congress support the development of an initiative, in collaboration with CMM, to measure, account for and aggregate ecosystem services within the MN River Basin.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the CMM and MN River Congress identify and develop programs with potential ecosystem service buyers within the MN River Basin.
7) Funding Minnesota River Basin Data Center Adopted
Now, therefore, be it resolved that, the Minnesota River Congress supports restoration of full funding for the Minnesota River Basin Data Center (MRBDC) including a first-year appropriation to bring the MRBDC website up to date.
8) Watershed District Establishment Deferred for Debate
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, 1) legislative enactment of a clear timeframe for the establishment of watershed districts for each of the 13 major watersheds in the Minnesota River Basin to provide effective and efficient, proactive watershed planning; administration; project development; implementation; construction and maintenance of water resource projects and programs of benefit to the Minnesota River Basin with a focus on water quantity and water quality management; and
2) legislative direction for the completion of  One Watershed One Plan efforts by 2018 for each of the 13 major watersheds within the Minnesota River Basin; watershed districts to be established by 2020 and comprehensive plans for each of the established watershed districts completed by 2022 and provision of sufficient funding to BWSR to realize this timeframe and provision of cost-share funding to the established watershed districts for timely completion of the watershed districts' overall plans; and
3) the legislature provide that if watershed districts are not established and overall plans are not completed within the established timeframes, no state grant monies shall be available for water resource projects within the respective watershed(s).
9) Watershed Management Bodies Established  Deferred for debate
Now Therefore Be It Resolved The Minnesota River Congress supports the authorization of local watershed management bodies within the Minnesota River Basin with local taxing authority to help fund the clean up of public waters.   These bodies would have taxing powers, democratically-elected boards of directors, would initiate effective cost-sharing projects, and conduct ongoing citizen river monitoring and education projects to inform the  public within the watershed about water quality issues and improvements that are taking place.
10) Minnesota River River Watch  Adopted
Therefore be it resolved, The Minnesota River Congress shall support the River Watch initiative of the Friends of the Minnesota Valley by stating its support for River Watch, by encouraging high school participation, and by registering Minnesota River Congress support for River Watch fundraising activities.
11) Increase Soil Organic Matter Adopted
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnesota River Congress support the development of an initiative to increase soil organic matter in the top six to eight inches of soil by 1% over the next ten years in 50 percent of the annual cropped fields across the basin.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT as a first step toward this initiative, that $150,000 be awarded annually from the Clean Water Fund, for the next ten years, to the MN Extension for the purpose of acquiring a staff person, and their supporting needs, who can develop and deliver education, research and training to agronomists, farmers and others on methods focused on increasing soil organic matter to reduce water quality impacts from row crop agriculture and increase crop productivity.
12) Streams Flow Control Adopted
Resolved, that the Minnesota River Congress: Recommends all Federal, State, Tribal, local and non-Government entities who work with any aspect of natural resources which affect the Minnesota River system to increase and support current efforts to implement practices which currently exist such as managed drainage and other conservation drainage techniques, which will decrease wildly fluctuating rate flows in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order streams that feed the Minnesota River System.  And furthermore to aggressively seek adequate human and financial resources required to do so by appointing one state agency as the lead agency responsible for coordinating a unified initiative to accomplish these actions collectively.



13) Waters Connectivity Adopted  
 Urges all Federal, State, Tribal, local and non-Government entities who are involved in natural resource management and oversight to research and identify existing plans which address connectivity issues and laws with regard to 1st, 2nd and 3rd order streams and adopt or incorporate and implement such an existing plan which does so and further recommend that the entities dedicate the adequate human and financial resources to accomplish those actions.  Furthermore, if it is found no such plan exists within the aforementioned entities which incorporates a plan to restore connectivity of all potential fish spawning habitats in the Minnesota River System, then direct the MNDNR to bring the aforementioned entities together to create one and implement it in addition to dedicating the adequate human and financial resources to accomplish that set of actions.
14) TDML Studies and Watershed Management Organization Establishment
Deferred for Debate
The Minnesota River Congress supports the MPCA and partners to do Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies on all 13 major watersheds in the Minnesota River Basin, identify PMZ’s and interview all counties in the 13 major watersheds to gain local community support from landowners and residents so our waters will be restored and protected.
Now therefore be it resolved….. The Minnesota River Congress supports the authorization of local watershed management organizations (WMO) within Minnesota River Basin. This support is for creation of WMO’s and existing WMO’s to implement programs that provide community and land owner input and practices that increase land quality of single use land functions and improvement to multifunctional land use for retaining water in the uplands to improve erosion factors and reduce sediment loads to the Minnesota River.
15) Forever Green Funding Adopted in Part Defeated in Part
Now Therefore Be It Resolved The Minnesota River Congress supports $10 million annually in public funding for the University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative to work in partnership with NGO, government agencies, and local communities to research, develop, demonstrate and facilitate adoption of cover crops and perennials that provide continuous living covers in a manner that is economically advantageous to farmers, and
Be It Further Resolved The Minnesota River Congress insists that the results of this public interest and publicly funded research be widely available to farmers, agencies, and communities at no or minimal cost to speed the adoption of these beneficial practices, and
Be It Further Resolved The Minnesota River Congress calls on the University of Minnesota and the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Recourses Sciences to make the Forever Green Initiative a top priority for funding and support from the institution, and
the following section was defeated and not addopted
Be It Further Resolved The Minnesota River Congress supports a goal, to within 10 years incorporate cover crops on at least half the land in the watershed that is currently growing annual row crops and to have 20% of the total land in the watershed covered with perennial crops.  This conversion will reduce wind- and water-induced soil erosion and sedimentation, build soil organic matter, increase water use efficiency, and reduce nitrogen leaching to improve water quality in the basin.
16) Amend MS 103 E Defeated
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the MN River Congress would like the state legislature to amend MN Statutes Chapter 103E to include options for farmers to be paid easements for water storage out of the ditch system account, recognizing that the current drainage law is ancient and does not reflect current scientific understanding of water management and has resulted in extreme loss of surface water quality and ground water quantity in the area.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MN River Congress would like the state of Minnesota to set aside 50 million dollars to go towards creating and maintaining the retention and filtration projects on the easement areas purchased by the drainage authority.  
17) Water Retention Defeated
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the Minnesota River Congress:
Request that state, local, federal, tribal and private entities allocate funds to support permanent and strategically targeted conversion of 5% of crop land to sites for water detention and retention in an effort to increase storm water residence times in the landscape and reduce high flows in the Minnesota River and its major tributaries; and
Request that state, local, federal, tribal and private entities allocate funds to promote and strategically target other conservation and management practices to offset human-caused increases in flow, sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other pollutants resulting in impaired waters; and
Request the Board of Water and Soil Resources develop a straightforward protocol for agricultural producers to demonstrate the effectiveness of alternate practices that would satisfy their obligations under Governor Dayton’s Buffer Initiative; and
Request that the Governor establish a task force consisting of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Board of Water and Soil Resources, the University of Minnesota, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and agricultural organizations that will work cooperatively to develop a comprehensive approach for managing constructed agricultural drainage that parallels urban stormwater management approaches to reduce pollution and the volume of discharges; and  
Request that this same task force also evaluate the cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits of existing conservation and cost-share programs in the state and make recommendations to increase efficiency and participation in the most beneficial programs.
18) MRC Leadership and funding Failed to receive ⅔ vote
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Minnesota River Congress provides coordination for experimentation and demonstration with water storage practices, including but not limited to, increased soil organic matter, drainage water in-ditch storage, more perennial cover.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Minnesota River Congress pursues funding to support local technical staff to incorporate more water storage best management practices on the landscape.
19) Ban Surface Tile Inlets  Defeated
Now Therefore Be It Resolved The Minnesota River Congress supports a ban on surface tile inlets throughout the Minnesota River Basin.
20) Buffer Surface Tile Inlets Failed to receive ⅔
Now Therefore Be It Resolved The Minnesota River Congress supports a requirement that all surface tile inlets be buffered with permanent native vegetation with a minimum radius of 100 feet around the inlet.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Registration for the 7th Minnesota River Congress is now open!

Minnesota River System Enthusiasts,  Registration for the 7th Minnesota River Congress is now open.  

DATE AND TIME