Thursday, January 31, 2013

Draft National Blueways System Pre-Proposal page 5

Some portions had to be shortened to meet page limitations. They will get added back in for the full proposal.

Vision and Goals


Watershed Vision Statement: 

The Minnesota River watershed is a model of habitat connectivity and resiliency in an agricultural to urban landscape; improved water quality and stable hydrograph; increased public access for outdoor recreation, and economic vitality based on a legacy of natural, cultural, historical, and agricultural resource conservation. We can accomplish this vision because there is a highly engaged and informed watershed citizenry and Blueway Partner Group. The accepted cultural climate is a shared, working landscape where land and water use choices result in a diverse and resilient watershed economy, improved biological diversity, and a healthy and desirable place for people to live, work and play.



·         Conservation and Integration of Land and Water Management

Ø Develop and implement key strategies in partnership with agricultural landowners for a resilient working landscape approach through citizen-led processes, Blueway Partner meetings and incentives through the Federal Farm Bill.

Ø Identify key regions of watershed for fee title or conservation easement acquisitions, education or incentives that will provide best water quality and hydrograph stabilization benefits while supporting the prairie conservation plan and urban or other water quality/quantity plans. (Prairie Plan Corridor map, groundwater recharge areas)

·        Natural Resource Restoration and Adaptive Management

Ø In strategic locations, large areas of prairie, grassland and associated habitats will be protected and restored to create functioning prairie systems that reduce habitat fragmentation.  (MN Prairie Conservation Plan 2010) 

Ø Restore targeted prairie pothole wetlands as identified through planning efforts by USFWS, DNR, and associated nonprofit partners.

·       Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Education

Ø Confirm recreation infrastructure gaps and identify short and long term focus areas to acquire land and create opportunities. (DRAFT Greater MN Regional Parks and Trails Strategic Plan)

Ø Develop 50 additional miles of the multiuse Minnesota Valley State  and MN River State Trails

Ø Support the University of Minnesota National Science Foundation grant to develop a high school science curriculum that seeks to integrate the Minnesota River into classrooms in the watershed.

·         Sustainable and Compatible Economic Activity  

Ø Continue supporting the Minnesota River Arts Meander and work with the partners to create new festivals and events to celebrate the river.  These events bring attention to the emerging “quality-of-life-based clean river economy” that is helping to revitalize the small river towns in the watershed.

·         Enhanced and Expanded Stakeholder Engagement

Ø  The Minnesota River Watershed AGO partner group meeting in spring 2012 identified an expanded partner list which will be used to invite additional partners into the National Blueway System (NBS) nomination and project planning processes. Existing partners will be reaching out to these groups over the next few months.

Ø  A Blueway outreach and marketing plan will be created spring/summer of 2013.