Public invited to help develop Pine River watershed plan
Public invited to help develop Pine River
watershed management plan
PINE RIVER — How do we go about preserving and protecting the Pine River Watershed? That will be one of questions asked at an April 26 public meeting according to the Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA).
Officials with the alliance said those who live in the Pine River Watershed know it is a unique combination of lakes, rivers, forests, and agricultural land. With only two bodies of water in the watershed that have been identified as impaired, it is important to establish a plan going forward to protect it. The challenge, watershed officials said, is to prioritize goals and plans in order to procure the most money to ensure the long-term health of the Pine River.
On April 26, there will be an open public meeting at the Warehouse in Pine River from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. including lunch. The Pine River Watershed Alliance needs about 50 people from the watershed who will commit to spending four hours learning the process and then taking a survey. This information will then be part of an effort by the PRWA and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in a watershed evaluation and management process. The process evaluates all 81 watersheds in the state and develops plans for restoration or protection. Each watershed process takes 10 years. The first two years are an assessment of the health of the watershed. When the data is collected, Watershed Restoration and Protection (WRAP) plans are developed.
The Clean Water Legacy Funds, which were voted on by the citizens of Minnesota, will provide $40 million to address the WRAP Plans that are developed for watersheds in the state. It is a competitive process for these funds so developing solid project plans is required. In order to help prioritize the plans, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has created a value model process that solicits input in order to identify what people involved in the watershed consider to be important. There will be two groups. One group will be made up of the technical people who work in the watershed. The second group, which is being formed, will be made up from the general public in the watershed. These two groups will be instructed on the process and then asked through a survey what they value. This input will then drive the priorities of the WRAP Plan for the Pine River Watershed.
PRWA is asking for help in this process. There will be a follow-up meeting in June to present the results of the survey and the WRAP planning process. The date, time, and place will be announced on the PRWA website and in area newspapers. If you are interested in participating or have questions, contact Ron Meyer, PRWA Chairman, at email@example.com.