Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Counties recognize groups working to improve Minnesota River

An alliance of citizens and groups working to enhance the Minnesota River, received recognition from counties in the river basin. At its quarterly meeting July 15 in Gaylord, the Minnesota River Board presented its annual “Confluence Award” to the Minnesota River Watershed Alliance, recognizing its work on a national project to promote the river.

The Minnesota River Watershed Alliance (MRWA) is a basin-wide network of individuals from private organizations and public agencies, and citizens who meet quarterly and work on projects that support and benefit the Minnesota River basin.

Earlier this year the Alliance submitted a nomination of the Minnesota River to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior’s (DOI) national Blueway program. In 2012 the DOI established the National Blueway System to promote a network of nationally significant rivers and their watersheds that are highly valued as economic, recreational, social, and ecological assets.

Under local leadership and control, Blueway designation gives national prominence to a river basin in terms of financial and technical support from federal agencies, and positive public recognition. More than 50 public and private organizations support the MRWA’s nomination of the Minnesota River for designation as a National Blueway.

“The River Board’s award is especially significant, because it demonstrates the depth of local support for this nomination,” says Patrick Moore, who has served among the informal leaders of the Watershed Alliance since it began in 2005.

Also on Monday the River Board presented Moore with “Tributary Award” to recognize his “leadership and actions to help improve the larger basin’s water quality.”

“Local groups such as the Watershed Alliance and individuals such as Patrick Moore are key contributors to our efforts to improve and protect our natural resources in the Minnesota River basin,” says John Schueller, River Board chair and Redwood County commissioner. “As a farmer, I know first-hand how important it is to be good stewards of our land and water resources.”

The Minnesota River Board is a joint powers agreement among counties in the Minnesota River Basin, organized to “provide leadership, build partnerships and support efforts to improve and protect water quality in the Minnesota River Basin.”

For more information about the Minnesota River Watershed Alliance or Blueway nomination, contact: Ted Suss, 507-828-3377; Patrick Moore, 320-841-1487; Scott Sparlin, 507-276-2280; Brad Cobb, 507-637-2828; or Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972. More information on the Blueway project is located on the web at: