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BAELN event scheduled on groundwater contamination

The Brainerd Area Environmental Learning Network (BAELN) has planned a presentation on nitrate contamination of Minnesota groundwater, its economic and other implications, at 3 p.m. March 18 at the Crow Wing County Land Services Building, Meeting...

The Brainerd Area Environmental Learning Network (BAELN) has planned a presentation on nitrate contamination of Minnesota groundwater, its economic and other implications, at 3 p.m. March 18 at the Crow Wing County Land Services Building, Meeting Room 2 (lower level), 322 Laurel St., Brainerd.

Following the presentation and discussion, there will be time for networking with the speaker and audience participants. This event is free of charge and open to the public. The Land Services building is located just south of the historic courthouse. Those attending the session are asked to park in the Crow Wing County visitor parking lot on the corner of Laurel and Fourth streets.

For more information about this event, contact Kristen Blann, kblann@tnc.org .

To secure a long-term sustainable water future, investments are needed in watershed protection and restoration, BAELN reported in a news release. However, these investments may be costly and lead to tradeoffs with development and other activities. In order to evaluate these tradeoffs, we need information on how water quality and quantity is changing, along with how those changes affect our social and economic well-being.

To address this need, Bonnie Keeler, a research scientist at the Institute on the Environment, where she oversees the Natural Capital Project, is studying the value of clean water in Minnesota. Along with colleagues, she recently published research on the costs of nitrate contamination and the value of clean water to lake recreation. Using tools from ecology and economics, Keeler is understanding the connections between water quality and well-being - information that can better inform the design of policy or incentive programs and more efficiently target investments in restoration and protection.

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Keeler will discuss her work on water quality valuation, along with related projects led by the Natural Capital Project that are elevating the value of nature in decision-making.

In its 12th year, BAELN is a collaborative effort of Central Lakes College, Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, citizen representation, Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District, Initiative Foundation, the DNR, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, The Nature Conservancy, and University of Minnesota Extension.

To be on the BAELN email list or for general information on BAELN, contact Stephen Mikkelson at 218-316-3887, toll free at 800-657-3864 or stephen.mikkelson@state.mn.us .

Future BAELN sessions include:

• April 16: Creating a stronger connection between Brainerd and the Mississippi River.

• May 21: Thought-provoking TED talk and discussion.

• June 18: Faith communities in action through environmental stewardship.

Unless otherwise indicated, BAELN events take place on the third Thursday of each month at 3 p.m. at Crow Wing County Land Services Building, Meeting Room 2.

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