Monday, August 18, 2014

August 12, 2014 Watershed Alliance Meeting Minutes

Minnesota River Watershed Alliance meeting notes

Aug. 12, 2014, Ridgewater College, Hutchinson

Although attendance was down on a nice summer evening, there was good discussion of the upcoming regional meetings to review the June 19 Minnesota River Congress, leading up to a follow-up Congress on Oct. 30. The development of the Congress raised the question of the Minnesota River Watershed Alliance mission and its future activity. The Alliance is supportive and hopes that the Congress is successful, as it may include many of the initiatives outlined in the Alliance’s Blueway nomination for the Minnesota River.

A series of regional meetings are scheduled to hear about and discuss the June 19 Minnesota River Congress, leading up to the Oct. 30 congress in New Ulm. Regional meetings are planned for 7 p.m. at the following dates and hosts. Everyone is welcome to attend.

·         Sept. 10, Clean Up the River Environment, Community Center, 550 1st St. SW, Montevideo.

·         Sept. 11, Rural Advantage, Knights of Columbus Hall, 920 E. 10th St., Fairmont.

·         Sept. 15, J.R. Brown Center, Henderson.

·         Sept. 16, Friends of the Minnesota Valley, National Wildlife Refuge, Bloomington.

·         Sept. 17, Lower Sioux Community, Jackpot Junction.

There was some discussion of the Alliance mission and past successes. It is neutral ground that creates a forum for organizations, agencies, and individuals to discuss issues and make collective decisions. The Congress could be a means of keeping the Alliance mission alive. There was also discussion of the need for new membership on the Alliance steering committee membership and need for a facilitator. The steering committee meets briefly in person or by phone to guide Alliance activity and plan upcoming meetings. All are welcome to participate. The Oct. 30 Minnesota River Congress will serve as the regular fall meeting of the MRWA, and will provide an opportunity to learn more about the Alliance steering committee.

Following a brief discussion of the Blueway project status, Ted Suss agreed to contact Charlie Blair of the USFWS about the proposed memorandum of understanding among the regional offices of federal agencies, to pursue Blueway goals without formal federal designation. In the words of Mike Lien, “we’re from the citizens and we’re here to help you.”

Other events and updates:

·         Patrick Moore reported that a Conservation Corps crew cleared snags and strainers from the Pomme de Terre near Appleton, greatly reducing hazards for paddlers.

·         Lee Sundmark reported a 46-pound flathead catfish won the Franklin Catfish Derby. He said water clarity has improved in High Island Lake, with a secci disk reading of about seven feet.

·         Aug. 21: Shakopee Creek headwaters picnic and meeting about pilot project for the state-federal interagency study in the Minnesota River basin, 4-7 p.m., Kandiyohi County Park 7 on Games Lake.

·         Aug. 25: LeSueur River Watershed Network community potluck and meeting, 5:30 p.m., St. Olaf Lake Park, New Richland.

·         Aug. 29-30: Riverblast, Riverside Park, New Ulm.

·         Sept. 13: CURE – Minnesota River Clean-up, Kinney’s Landing, 9 a.m.

·         Sept. 20: CURE – Mussels field day on the Pomme de Terre with Bernie Sietman, 9 a.m.


Ted Suss, Friends of the Minnesota Valley

Scott Sparlin, CCMR

Forrest Peterson, MPCA

Mike Lein, Carver County

Dee Czech, Minnesota Earth Sabbath Team

Chantill Kahler-Royer

Lee Sundmark, DNR

John Hickman, H2O videos

Franz Kitzberger

Brad Cobb

Patrick Moore

Duane Ninneman, CURE

Ariel Herrod, CURE

Glen Jacobson, CURE

Cheryl Landgren, CURE