Monday, October 20, 2014

Minnesota River Congress - 10/2/14 Minnesota State University-Mankato Listening Session Individual Responses

Minnesota River Congress Regional Listening Session
Minnesota State University, Mankato
10-2-14 Centennial Student Union

There were 10 participants, all students.

Question 1. 

If a new basin wide citizen led entity were to be formed, how could it best add value to current localized efforts to protect and enhance natural resources, improve water quality, or expand and diversify recreational use or appreciation of the Minnesota River Watershed and its Tributaries?

Raw Individual Responses, each bullet is an individual response.

·        We could educate people into what is needed for these issues
·        To organize and structure a system between citizens and officials to acknowledge what the problems/issues/benefits of these localized water basins actually are.  And what they can do together to better their situation or sustain what they wan to keep doing.
·        At the very least the organization could educate the surrounding basin area on why the organization is needed and why community active members are vital.  A watershed wide group could lobby local and state government with petitions etc. for statewide protections as well as use polling of the area for use to lobby elected officials and notify the media of public sentiment.
·        Providing funding for research, monitoring and rehab projects.  Help find funding for those projects.  Set an example of things that can be done to promote, educate the importance of this system.  Educated the general public on uses of the river other than just a catchment.
·        If it were to be formed, it could add value by promoting monitoring of the river in order to see long term effects.  This way people could see the improvement of water.  Education.
·        A more combined effort would ultimately help to protect the river as a whole.  The system is all connected, if there was one entity that helped control and move all parts involved in a unidirectional way, more things could be accomplished.  Several areas could be a part of the same project each responsible for their local areas.
·        By giving citizens an education on proper practices or educating them on how a watershed works.  By adding money to projects (maybe grants).  By putting individuals together who are interested.
·        Public awareness, bank stabilization efforts-reduce excessive sediment and nutrient loading.  Host events along the river to get public aware of natural areas in their backyard/back to nature.  Determine appeal to target audience.  Farmers-what’s their stake in the river? Erosion, loss of land?
·        Anytime you have a group of people working for the same goal things get done especially when the share the same drive.  I will also inform the public on issues facing our waterway.  The Minnesota River is a valuable resource; a basin wide organization could enhance recreational opportunities.

Question 2. 

If a new Basin-wide (Watershed Wide) citizen led entity was to be formed, what sorts of activities should it undertake to add value to our current situation?

Raw individual responses, each bullet represents an individual response.

·        Fishing tournaments, kayaking, morel hunting, bird watching walks, (Organize recreational activities).  Youth outreach, educational workshops.  Find a way to get political leaders to get to discuss current issues or the science behind watersheds, coerced seminars.
·        Nature tours, paddling, take note of what’s special that happens on the river.
·        Recreation, basin wide bike ride for donations.  Rides on the river, canoe or boat trips with someone who knows some history and issues.  Cities involved, make city organics that help pay or contribute to clean ups and projects.  Companies that use the water from the river make it mandatory to pay for them towards projects.  More publicity on things being done within the watershed.
·        Earth Day type stuff.  “Minnesota River Day”.  Visit elected officials, host famous individuals speaking on behalf of the river (Garrison Keillor)
·        Create a community led program to create trails.  Adventure races in the basin is and example of recreational activity.  Summer camps, camp sites, outdoor amphitheaters, acting to create recreational opportunities, sub committee for these activities.
·        County, Township and corporate outreach.  Legislative agenda.  Public education of the river.  Basin conference or Congress.  Promote the river.
·        Basin wide clean up days.  Educational days about Minnesota River including services, history, recreational activity, fishing, boating, hiking, camping.
·        Group clean ups, seminars on fisheries and rivers, fishing, history of the land and lakes, educational fair.
·        Fishing, naturalist expeditions.  Partnering with fisheries/water ecology, internships, and high school summer programs.  Summer camps (aim for key young) based around water conservation science filled with water recreational activities.
·        Delegate project areas.  Manage current projects.  Synthesize current information on the basin.  Establish clear and define future directions and goals of all projects.

Question 3.  If a new Watershed wide citizen-led entity were to be formed, how could it best assist existing organizations, (NGO’s, governing bodies) in achieving their goals?

 Raw individual responses, each bullet represents and individual response.

·        Provide volunteers to help the project along.  Citizen patrols to help enforce laws and regulations on a local, regional scale.  Provide citizen suggestion and ideas and bring them to the table when decisions are being made.
·        Show how both sides can have common goals that they want to achieve.
·        Cooperation, communication, support.  Set a seminar.  Each organization states their goals, everyone votes on the hierarchy to where efforts should be shifted.
·        Making sure that citizens attend public meetings.  Promote officials who support the values of the entity.  Donate time and effort to the organization.
·        Annual river stake holder river conference, agenda driven or brainstorming session.  Open to all citizens, business, government, educational institutions, trade groups and watershed clubs.
·        By recruiting more new members into the organizations.  Help with funds that best fit the needs and goals of the members.
·        We could start out with a clean river and make an effort to keep it clean, showing the community that it is possible and can be achieved in our current bodies of water.  We could use this clean body as an example of what we want other bodies of water to be.  Government to give money to this.
·        Voice of the citizens on the front line.  By giving localized effort and local information so to speak on their behalf.
·        Prioritize and find common ground in missions.  Localize organizations and hold monthly board gatherings to identify common goals.  MEET ON COMMON GROUND.
·        Funding and try to establish common goals.  Need to work towards one goal.

Question 4.  How should existing units of government, State, and Federal agencies, NGO’s, other communities of interest such as agri-business, businesses, farm organizations, be represented or involved in a new citizen-led entity?

Raw individual responses, each bullet represents and individual response.

·        Businesses and organizations can sponsor the project and collect money for it.  Government could bring it as an actual serious topic so more people would take it seriously.
·        Flyers, posters in key locations, businesses cards and do something in local communities.
·        With a representative. A voice for ideas as well as for their education.
·        There should be representatives.  If we have congress, we have an actual Congress.  They tell us their grievances and we vote on them.  We the people, for the people, and with the people.
·        One person for each major group has a representative.  Elect completely impartial people as a direct board to run it, need to have no other affiliations.
·        Create a governing board that has ¾ citizens and ¼ other organizations.
·        Elect someone from each group (government, business, etc.) and then hold a meeting.  Conference for each business.  Community of elected people coming from 13 watershed and 4-6 from NGO’s
·        Have board members that represent certain agencies so they feel their ideas and concerns are being met.  DNR should be involved by informing the board about current project what their goals are etc.
·        Have a representative of each organization and voice their (the orgs) opinions/goals/mission.
·        Play roles in the management /applications.  Have voices to what should happen to improve.
·        Free identity cards based on eye-iris data seriously.  Local groups could nominate reps to bi annual/annual conference to exchange ideas, resolve issues, and report back.

Question 5.  Should a new inclusive basin wide (watershed wide) citizen-led entity be formed it could accomplish the suggestions brought forth tonight?

Raw individual responses, each bullet represents and individual response.

·        Yes, if it could be done right.  It would have to involve a lot of different agencies and people working together to make this work.  So the leadership would have a lot of responsibility to get all these people and all the actions and activities on the same page.
·        Yes, on a 5 year basis to show accomplishments.
·        Yes
·        Yes, however it must be aggressive in ensuring that agricultural regulations are being enforced.  Pressure the government and point out violations.
·        Yes, the general public needs to be more involved.
·        Yes, if the term coordinating be part of the title.  Industry, trade and government must have some kind of advisory with real input power.
·        Yes, but would need to tread lightly and pick its battles and directors carefully.  Need to define what improvement actually is.
·        Yes, it could get the community more involved in the process and spike people’s interests in improving the river.
·        No, should be divided into subsections.
·        Yes, we would have a new group that would take care of the issues to improve the current and future conditions of the river.
·        Yes, if you can localize sub divisions to break down and be able to focus on particular areas that turn into a whole.

There were 9 yes answers to question 5 with some conditions and one no.

Question 1. Table responses, each bullet represents one table response.

·        Educate the general public on the direction the river is taking is it improving or in decline.  Provide or find funding possibilities.  Set up more of a structure and get citizens to be invested in it.  Get public aware of river.
·        Education and awareness, networking and connecting people and recreational opportunities.

Question 2 Table responses, each bullet represents one table response.

·        Promote recreational activities.  Rally for the River (Minnesota River Day).  Bike ride for the basin.  Find a famous person to be a celebrity for the river.
·        Host educational events.  Educational fair, river history, recreational activities, research, field trip days, camping, hiking, peak the interest in the river.  Fisherman safety.  Delegate projects.  Advertise current projects, make info available.  Show direction.  A disc (CD) tour of the river showing its importance, history etc.

Question 3 Table responses, each bullet represents one table response.

·        Monthly board meetings to determine common problems and challenges.  Localized efforts focused on this body of water as a whole voice of the citizens.  Find common ground between people.  A goal that everyone is going to rally around.  Distribute the power and compromise.
·        Making sure people attend meetings (public discussions).  Give the organization value by donating our time and help with their work.  Facilitating communication and cooperation.

Question 4 Table responses, each bullet represents a table response.

·        Representative from each organization to voice their opinions.  More citizens.
·        Representatives; 1 person who can encompass their groups ideas as a whole from that group.  Report to voting group that is absolutely neutral and impartial.
·        Representative from each organization to voice their opinions.  More citizens.

Question 5 Table responses, each bullet represents a table response.

·        Yes
·        Yes, needs community involvement and a 5 year trial basis in order to show improvement.