Public invited to help develop Pine River Watershed Management Plan
The Pine River Watershed 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 is to prioritize goals and plans to be able to procure the most money to ensure the long-term health of the Pine River.
On Saturday, April 26, there will be a public meeting at The Warehouse in Pine River from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., including lunch. This is an open invitation; 50 people from the watershed are sought to commit to spending four hours learning the process and then taking a survey.
This information will then be part of an effort by the Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency 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.
To help prioritize the plans, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has created a value model process that solicits input 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 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 prioritization of the WRAP plan for the Pine River Watershed.
PRWA is asking for help in this process. There is never enough money to do everything but this is your chance to help PRWA effectively compete for the Clean Water Legacy Fund money and to make the best use of the money received.
There will be a followup meeting in June to present survey results.
Anyone interested in participating or for more information, contact Ron Meyer, PRWA chairman, at email@example.com.