Monday, October 20, 2014

Minnesota River Congress - 9/17/14 Lower Sioux Community Listening Session Raw Individual and Collective Table Responses

Minnesota River Congress
Lower Sioux Community Regional Listening Session
14 people in attendance

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.

·        DNR divest all lands in the watershed.  Turn over to regional groups along the watershed under a no till, no tile covenant.  Funds collected for wildlife preservation should be turned over to groups.  Groups outside of government tend to do a greater job in protecting the environment than government (a much better job) a better promotion of multiple uses.
·        Flood control a high priority.  Keep nutrients out of well fields for water.  Public utilities, roads, bridges and stream bank erosion.
·        Provide education opportunities for public forums/discussion.  Serve as an umbrella organization or connector between smaller groups/more localized groups to work together and learn from each other.
·        What would a new group bring to the table that is not already being made available by others?
·        Best use might be a link to others.  Is there an information gap between groups?
·        Water issues are local, why another layer of bureaucracy
·        A basin wide entity could enhance communication between local groups and state, federal, and tribal governments.  The ability to share ideas, information and identify and capitalize on partnerships and grants and network within the basin.  Identify recreation trends and opportunities to improve/develop water recreation sites.
·        Permanent set aside lands, wildlife and water improvement.  Citizen led with agency help.  Regional entities.
·        Faster more collaboration among local government units/conservation entities.  More partnerships get everyone working in the same direction.  Provide greater outreach opportunities, more public involvement in planning efforts and water quality projects.  Potential for funding sources for projects.
·        Very challenging to find balance across the watershed.  It should be a 4 or 5 headed beast; recreation advocates, water advocates, environmental advocates, cultural and historical advocates and all 37 counties.
·        Promote expanded facilities/modernize.  Access, camping, toilets, water, trails.
·        The entity would need to promote the “connection” to the watershed.  It may be best served by working with younger generations for long term efforts.

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.

·        Regulatory like a county ditch system.
·        Education in various formats.  Monitor or make sure someone else is monitoring well enough to document existing conditions and change.
·        I don’t know if you could add value without taking value from others.  Field days.  Do you have a group that doesn’t get reached by others?
·        Citizen group overtaking land management of river watershed’s.  Always keeping water quality, multiple use activities up front.
·        Political voice on issues affecting the basin.  Connecting basin communities to share information on past, current and upcoming issues.  Hosting regional meetings.  Neutral platform.  Local entities can mange info and programs
·        Promote use.  Coordinate local to state communications.  Identify local projects.
·        Information and educational resource.  Quarterly meetings.  Incubator for innovation. “Outside the box” thinking.  Liaison to county boards, state representatives and state senators.  Build advocacy.  Funding.
·        One possible activity could be a periodic forum for the various Minnesota River groups to meet together to learn from one another.
·        Regional entity with accountability.
·        Education and outreach.  Data sharing.  Fund raising or grant writing for smaller entities to do water quality 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.

·        Grant writers?  Conscience of the Minnesota River.
·        Serve as a contact to organizations to provide information on issues affecting that organizations focus.  Long term planning to drive focus of recreation opportunities.  Serve many, not just a few vocal people.
·        It depends on what the existing organizations goals/needs are.  If this entity is going to focus on helping existing organizations, it needs to be flexible and willing to do what is asked/needed.
·        Money.  Funding feasible projects.
·        Nothing unless a radical paradigm shift takes place.  Every group would protect their position.  The shift can only be pushed by mandate.
·        One role would be to provide real world solutions as well as implications and ramifications from new policies that government bodies propose.  So not a surprise when a practice doesn’t work on the ground.
·        Coordinate, publicize and facilitate the comprehensive watershed vision within the watershed groups.  Assist passionate leaders with their local projects within the broader vision.  Share the story, the vision, not only with citizens but with the elected leaders.
·        Lobbying.  Advocacy to legislature.  Fundraising and grant writing.  Provide greater citizen input in local planning efforts by these organizations.
·        Provide education as to the river conditions.  People must be aware to make a difference.
·        Lobby the State.  One voice.  Promote programs down to local level.

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.

·        If this entity is board directed, citizens of the basin could vote for board members.  If it is more open everyone in the basin gets to vote.
·        Groups should be reporting to a central clearing house and then reporting to citizens groups.
·        All entities should be involved.
·        All are welcome, like MRWA to be involved in general meetings.  Transparency.  Share the info.  Voting 13 watersheds.  Encourage collaboration.  Extend communication. Encourage leadership.  Challenging.
·        Community meetings
·        We need all entities, Citizens and Government.  People that want ownership.  Must not become too large.
·        We need voting to make big decisions.  Government units and agencies involved in advisory/informational capacity.  NGO’s and all other groups should be involved.  Citizen board with some organization membership.
·        Represented by those who show up.  They need to make their won priorities.  Citizen led priorities.
·        Not feasible.  Each group is a lobby group and needs to represent the citizen group.  Too many groups directly involved.  If some group gets more representation it will dominate.

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 needs to be citizen led, not agency led.
·        Yes, as a high level promotional tool and coordinating hub.
·        Yes, need entity that takes in the entire watershed, all 37 counties.
·        Yes, if many of the details get worked out.  Lot’s of work to do on October 30th.  Need a clear direction, identity, role etc.  Needs to have watershed /basin wide support.
·        Yes, because a regional group that can promote and facilitate collaboration with the various Minnesota River groups and organizations would be beneficial to the entire watershed.
·        Yes, if there can be measured outcomes to improve the watershed.  Will local organizations fill gaps if this entity doesn’t evolve?  Free market.
·        Yes, only if it has the power as designated by the legislature.  Otherwise no power to address the issues.
·        What is the charter and mission statement? If there is one then yes.
·        No, if we are missing something we need to push other groups to new levels.  Water issues are local.
·        Yes, if it has a clear, focused mission.  Not just “clean water” and if it devises a way to and accomplishes truly being inclusive.

There were 9 yes with some conditions and 1 no.

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

·        Regional organization.  Balance water quality and recreation.
·        Facilitate sharing of information.  Link groups together.

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

·        Is having another entity going to add value?
·        Identify local projects to promote including funding and grant opportunities.  Support innovative projects by local groups.  Provide info, publicize and share resources and collaborate.  Rally together.

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

·        Identifying points of consensus.  Help drive long term conversations.
·        Education and outreach among entities and to citizens promoting programs and efforts.  Lobbyist to state (one voice) liaison to legislature.  Agencies could bring policies to entity.  Citizen input and planning.  Publicizing overall vision.  Create passionate leaders.

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

·        Everyone involved and all are welcome.  Executive board.
·        Same as other table.
Question 5.  Table responses, each bullet represents one table response.

·        Yes.  Basin Wide Collaboration.  Citizen led. Facilitate collaboration.  Clear direction.
·        Yes.  If there are clear goals and power with the legislature.  One “no” at the table.

Ted’s notes at the session

·        Create a basin wide dialogue about river issues (congress purpose)
·        Create a Minnesota River Legislative Agenda (basis for Minnesota River Day at the Capitol)