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Leech Lake Watershed Foundation adds coordinator

WALKER--The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation recently added a new staff member who will focus on membership and communications about the nonprofit organization's programs, opportunities and accomplishments in Minnesota's north central lakes r...

WALKER-The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation recently added a new staff member who will focus on membership and communications about the nonprofit organization's programs, opportunities and accomplishments in Minnesota's north central lakes region.

Kathy DonCarlos joined the foundation in mid-March and will help provide landowners and others interested in clean water and healthy lands with current information on these valuable resources in this region.

DonCarlos previously worked for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources from 1996- 2015.

"Harvesting wild rice in this region was my first introduction to the many beautiful and healthy lakes and rivers that are found in the Leech Lake watershed," DonCarlos stated in a press release. "The commitment and passion of those involved with LLAWF's work is inspirational and it is an honor to support that work in this position."

Lindsey Ketchel, LLAWF executive director, reports that LLAWF has a nearly 20 year history of protecting and advocating for protection of healthy lakes, streams and rivers; forests, fish spawning areas; and wildlife habitat of the Leech Lake watershed and surrounding regions in four counties, including Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard counties. The foundation works to conserve environmentally sensitive lands, promotes individual and community stewardship, and advocates for responsible land-use decisions so that this special region of incalculable beauty and irreplaceable natural resources and clean water can continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

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For the past several years, LLAWF has focused on protecting sensitive lands around cold-water lakes which host tullibee. Also known as cisco, the tullibee is an important fish that serves as food for lake trout, pike, muskie, and walleye. Tullibee require cold, oxygenated water to survive. Healthy watersheds buffer these cold water systems from becoming too warm and oxygen depleted during the warm summer months. The foundation has partnered with the Board of Soil and Water Resources, Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Land Trust, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts to focus on and protect sensitive lands in tullibee lake watersheds.

Heather Baird, DNR aquatic habitat specialist, has been part of this partnership effort to protect these critical waters.

Baird stated, "The kind of watershed protection needed to keep good water quality in northern lakes can only be done through partnerships. Working with LLAWF on cisco lakes protection has allowed us to get more work done and protect more land from future development and it has been a good partnership, protecting key parcels in these watersheds."

The Foundation also hosts the Northern Water Alliance of Minnesota, a newly forming network of individuals and organizations engaged in in protecting northern water resources and promoting best practices for sustaining our good waters and restoring waters already compromised. This new alliance is focused on educating, informing, and mobilizing those concerned with the state of water in northern Minnesota.

Call 218-675-5773 or go to leechlakewatershed.org to learn more about LLAWF and on how to protect water quality.

Related Topics: WATER QUALITY
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