Monday, October 20, 2014

Minnesota River Congress - 9/11/14 Fairmont Listening Session Raw Individual and Collective Table Responses

Minnesota River Congress
 Fairmont Listening Session
17 attendees
Raw individual and collective table responses

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.

·        Unified voice, potential support and general understanding of the complexity of water quality issues.  Citizen driven.
·        Awareness, it would serve as an icon, something to represent the entities in place and pull them together.  The entity would spark up interest and awareness in the basins inhabitants, be an image for change.
·        I think this organization will become a hub of local expertise to tap into when dealing with any area of the Minnesota River Basin.  These people will be able to relay their voice to the neighbors with more trust ha if it comes from an agency.
·        Promotion of a unified message of the local people.  Right now there are lots of small groups with no common theme or interest.  Use the media/news/internet to promote the resource.  MARKETING CAMPAIGN.
·        Coordinate and share improvement ideas.
·        Crossing boundary lines from smaller watersheds.  Team effort by many partners.  All State/Federal/local agencies possibly working as one.  Greater ability to secure dollars.
·        By elevating the research to figure out what can be done and identity the problems and challenges.
·        Increased clout (where there is commonality), political, financial and policy.  Creates harmony (everyone rowing in same direction to common goals), increased pride.
·        Makes it easier to apply for grants, show a unified front to lobby legislators.
·        Blank
·        Help to keep unwanted plants in our lakes, encourage more native plantings on lakes.
·        Listen to all the diverse voices that use the watershed for what ever purpose.
·        In order to organize around any issue, you must educate and agitate to draw a unified effort in resolving that issue.
·        If formed it could serve as a “sharing ideas factory” for smaller tributary entities.  We learn from other peoples experiences.

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.

·        Start with local meeting to formulate ideas to present to what ever groups can help- State government, DNR
·        Educational activities, getting youth involved, work with science museum/others to provide opportunities, get schools to understand.  Get the upper part of the basin to understand what goes on in the lower part of the basin and deal with rural vs. urban issues.
·        Marketing, branding.  Generate on image that has an identity.  Something people will see and want to be a part of, that represents their ideology.  Highlight; shed light on progress made in the watershed.
·        Seminars to promote good things (opportunities) about the river to the citizens.  Target the schools and build for future generation’s knowledge.
·        Get people out for field activities to educate the public about the numerous resources within this basin.  Eventually, this group could grow political power as they develop a unified voice.
·        Research info shared across all boundaries.  Unified legislative support, one voice.  Pro-active demonstrations or unified research sharing.
·        Publicize the positive results
·        Blank
·        Education and engage the public.
·        Pass information to local entities.
·        Education, demonstration.  Economic development support.  Policies (develop and get passed). Facilitate citizen interaction through gatherings/social events.  Trust building.
·        If education-what type?  For who? What level? Elementary, High School, Public, Public Officials?
·        Periodic meetings with an updated agenda (member driven).  Format short term measurable goals.  Format long term measureable goals.  Develop action plan to accomplish those goals.
·        Education, fund raising for educational programs.  Grant writing expertise.
·        Sponsor educational forums, work as a catalyst leader to help strengthen weaker areas of involvement.

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.

·        Organize measurable goals across the basin.  What I mean by that is to “survey” the local entities (NGO’s, WSD’s, SWCD’s, and Counties) to find out the array of goals and how they might be alike.  Find out what strategies have worked to address goals, provide resources to entities that still have goals that have not been met.
·        This organization would serve as an advocate/voice for the ideas lost in the minority of individuals.
·        Financially, strategic planning, goal setting, implementation, leadership involvement.
·        Education, provide funding, encourage.
·        Coordinate activities.  Communicate; let the whole basin know what is going on elsewhere.
·        Provide positive assistance to show how they might solve some of their problems.
·        Share research data.  Lobby the Legislative officials.  Host informational meetings.  Media exposure.
·        Assist existing organizations.  Don’t do implementation.  Coordinate citizen engagement/social activities to build trust, learn and share.  Create pride in the basin.  Teach.  Provide real clout and leverage.
·        Improve communication between events
·        Be a voice, leverage change in policy.  Be a pipeline for education, training, funding.
·        Organization could act as a conduit between smaller entities, keeping them informed.  Potential sources of funding from a larger variety of funders.
·        Show interest in the local resource.  Bring project ideas to those who can get funding.  Draw interest to local clubs and organizations that recreate in the rivers.
·        Run website to provide information clearing house of information from all aspects of interest and parties.
·        Show priorities of what to go after to improve.

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.

·        Need to have all groups represented, but represented appropriately.  No conflict of interest due to professional affiliation.  Need Ag agencies/organizations involved, after all Ag is the dominating factor in our economy here.
·        I think agencies should be available to present research, educate and provide routes for project funding at the request of the entity.
·        Agencies- consulting to the citizens providing information.  Everyone should provide some level of funding support and help provide for funding at request.
·        NGO’s, local elected members, community interests and business.  Agency staff should be ex-officio.
·        Everyone can be involved as a private citizen.
·        Agencies should be Ex-Officio and receptive to initiatives coming from the new entity (supportive).  Must build relationships.
·        Everyone should be involved as a private citizen even if they are employed by an agency with their own thoughts and ideas.
·        Agency representatives should serve in an advisory role.  Not sure what role county or city should play.  NGO’s, both agricultural, environmental and industrial should have 1 vote.
·        Agencies should be there only to assist in the solutions of problems.
·        Government agencies should disband-get out of the way.  If they were doing their job we wouldn’t have to be here.
·        Each sector should be represented on the “board”.  That person should communicate with their sector so they represent their sector appropriately.  Assumes responsible number of sectors.
·        A person should represent their entity so it is not overly lopsided.
·        Existing units of Government need to be involved to keep the group steered in the right direction in regards to rules and regulations.

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, but I really don’t want it to be duplicative.  And I don’t support disbanding agencies.  Local agency folks are helpful and friendly.
·        Yes, give the best we have towards it and make it sustainable.  Don’t form it just to form it.  It needs to be done the right way.
·        Yes, if it provides data and information sharing, make recommendations not governance.
·        Yes, I am a proponent of a citizen led entity that creates value in the Minnesota River Watershed, and targets areas for improvement.
·        Yes, absolutely we have to do something to try to solve the problems.
·        Maybe
·        Yes
·        Maybe, if it has funding sources, leaders elected or appointed.  Overlapping other agencies.  If it considers overall interests maybe.
·        Maybe
·        Yes, if it can bring all groups together without government involvement.  Need to decide who can or cannot be in the entity.
·        Yes if goals are defined early on, this will help define structure of group.
·        Yes if the entity is malleable, so if the first entity is formed and doesn’t work quite right, it can easily be “tweaked” to a new model that might be more successful.  (I.e. on congress for entire 37 county basin or 3 regional sub-basin entities.
·        Maybe if the dialogue can continue and it isn’t a duplicate of what is already in place and can start new relationships within the basin.
·        Yes, organized as a 501 c 3 entity, it would make it more attractive in generating funding to support common measurable goals.

There were 10 yes with some conditions and 4 maybe individual responses.

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

·        Education, sharing of best ideas.  Use entity to share and agitate.
·        Trust, citizen driven (MN. River has tried top down, didn’t work).  Unified message.  Respect for others with different backgrounds.
·        Creates united front.  Ability to bring dollars and other resources to the basin.  Coordinate research and identify problems and use similar solutions.  Sharing ideas across sectors.

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

·        Educational forums.  Provide regular meetings.  Leadership sharing.  Format long and short term goals.  Financial: funding resources and grant writing.
·        Target and support youth!  Field days or in field demonstrations.
·        Educate and engage the public.  Prevent apathy.  Demonstrations of good practices or new innovative ideas.

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

·        Once people understand and show interest, it makes the job of the local government units a bit easier and more rewarding.  One stop shop for the watershed.  Directory and sharing of information.  Leverage and voice at the capitol and with legislators.  Source for a variety of funding.
·        Media exposure/visibility.  Lobby.  Share research.  Let the whole basin know what is going on.  Improve communication between entities.  Leverage “big groups” in the cause (pheasants forever, DU, Audubon, and TNC.
·        Advocate, voice of minority of individuals.  Leadership involvement in all member organizations.  Survey of measurable goals across basin.  Existing organizations should compare goals between entities and what is successful.

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

·        Board members represent different sectors/groups so they have a voice.  Communicate back.
·        Mixed results:  ex-officio for government.  Citizens on board, they have the passion.  Value of vote for various groups.  Build relationships, grass-roots. 
·        Source of knowledge.  Provide info and data.  Leave agency agendas at the door.  Funding should be contributed by all groups.

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

·        Yes, has to be sustainable, citizen led, (local level).  Not duplicative.  Not governance. No finger pointing.
·        Maybe, if some of the things brought up by us can be accomplished.
·        Yes.  Build new relationships within the basin.  Amend to sub –regions if necessary.  501 c 3.  Need to act as a catalyst to get more individuals and groups involved, unify.