Monday, November 26, 2012

Meeting Minutes - November 14, 2012

Minnesota River Watershed Alliance meeting notes

Nov. 14, 2012, Flandreau State Park, New Ulm

Facilitator: Cathi Fouchi

Recorder: Forrest Peterson


Scott Kudelka, DNR; Michael Salmon, Green Corridor; John Loepke, MN Corn Growers; Tim Waibel, MN Corn Growers; Gene Jeseritz, DNR; Loran Kaardal, Green Corridor; Mark Bosacker, Mankato Paddling Club; Marvin Breitkreutz, Green Corridor; Warren Wagner, Mankato Paddling Club; Lee Sundmark, DNR; Peggy Kreber, Mankato Paddling Club; Gary Lenz, CURE; Franz Albert Richter, CURE; Ron Bolduan, River Rangers, Scenic Byway; William Rois, Big Stone Lake Association; A.C Vogel, River Rangers; Forrest Peterson, MPCA; Patrick Moore, CURE; John Hickman, Friends of the Minnesota Valley; Greg Mikkelson, farmer; Cheryl Landgren, CURE; Mike Lein, Carver Co. Env. Services; Kim Olson, CCMR; Mark Schnobrich, McLeod SWCD; James and KathleenWolf, FMV; Dave and Dee Czech, MN Earth Sabbath; Chantill Kahler-Royer, MWRA, Bolton and Menk; Jesse Anderson, Lower Sioux; Brad Cobb, Green Corridor; Anne Queenan; Rob Collett, DNR; Char Drager; Gregg Soupir, DNR; Ruth Mecklenburg, CCMR; Dave Mecklenburg, CCMR; Cynthia Wheeler, DNR; Courtland Nelson, DNR; Dennis Frederickson, DNR; Rebecca Wodder, U.S. Dept. of the Interior.

Action summary:

  • Projects for 2013 – MWRA members suggested 14 ideas as possible projects. The decision on projects for 2013 will be on the agenda for the Jan. 15 meeting at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson.
  • Meetings will continue to be scheduled the third Tuesday in January, April, July, and October/November. January and April meetings would be in Hutchinson; July would rotate among various locations according to sponsorship; October (or November) would be in New Ulm. Meeting sponsors are needed. Minnesota Corn Growers Association may sponsor the January meeting; Green Corridors may sponsor the July meeting. Cost to sponsor a meeting is about $200.
  • CURE will continue to send out electronic meeting announcements
  • Following the regular meeting, Rebecca Wodder, senior adviser to the Secretary of Interior, talked about the National Blueways Program.

Project ideas to consider for 2013:

  1. Blueways Nomination initiative – Brad Cobb.
  2. South Dakota/MN-Big Stone Lake drainage issues – Bill Rois.
  3. The larger watershed drainage issues (urban and agricultural) and promote controlled drainage – Mark Schnobrich.
  4. Managed drainage – Kim Olson.
  5. Upstream Mining Issue (CCMR, Olson)
  6. Invasive species – Ron Bolduan.
  7. Promote 50th anniversary celebration of the Minnesota River water trail; continue to promote paddling patches – Patrick Moore.
  8. Support full funding of the Minnesota River Basin Data Center at MSU – John Hickman.
  9. Work with the Minnesota River Board on a new structure, such as a river commission with citizen participation – Patrick Moore. Greg Michelson said change is needed at the River Board (Greg, John Hickman, and others participated on the 1993 citizens’ advisory committee).
  10. Wetland restoration and drainage management in the LeSueur River watershed.
  11. Drainage BMPs, wetland restoration.
  12. Urban stormwater issues – John Hickman.
  13. Raise awareness of climate change and impacts.
  14. Support Native American history month.
  15. Mayors’ Fishing Opener. Belle Plaine, New Ulm, Mankato, Granite Falls, Montevideo, and others support idea. A platform for community development, stormwater management. – Patrick Moore.

Rebecca Wodder – National Blueways program

After an introduction by Dennis Frederickson and Courtland Nelson, Rebecca Wodder described the National Blueways program and nomination process. The goal is to protect and restore rivers, including recreation, education, conservation, and economic development. This is a “large, landscape approach” including the entire basin or watershed, not just the channel area. The focus is on big rivers, with active stakeholder partnerships. Rivers are nominated by a local group and the application is reviewed at the federal level. Designation is voluntary and based on a locally crafted vision. A memorandum of understanding between project appropriate federal agencies provides coordinated and greater focus on this watershed. Benefits are available for five years: federal agencies collaborate to provide assistance; a priority for technical and financial assistance; publicity; economic benefits. Nomination is a two-step process, beginning with a pre-proposal. Key elements are the vision, significance of the river, and diversity of local support. Historically, rivers have always brought people together – early transportation, city sites. Rivers are resilient; they can recover. Blueways designation can add value to what already exists. Information collected from pilot Blueways projects will help to develop this federal program.

On Thursday, Nov. 15, Wodder went on a tour of Minnesota River locations. She told the West Central Tribune: The designation is a way of saying: “We’ve got something really good here you might want to come and see,” said Rebecca Wodder, senior adviser to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar. Wodder spent November 14th and 15th touring the Minnesota River and meeting with a variety of citizen, business and local government groups, as well as state and federal agencies. All are working to promote the Minnesota River’s designation as a Blueway River.