In 2020, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation approving development of the foundation for One Watershed One Plans to be implemented throughout Minnesota’s watersheds.

The purpose of the 1W1P plans is to foster collaboration between upstream and downstream neighbors within the boundaries of the watershed, and not be limited by county or other jurisdictional boundaries. The plans are comprehensive, and address water quality, water quantity, groundwater, drinking water, habitat, recreation and other issues.

An incredible amount of work, expertise and dedication has been put forth to create the Pine River Watershed 1W1P. The plan is in place; monies have been made available. The Pine River 1W1P provides $10.7 million over the next 10 years to enhance and protect water quality in this watershed.

It is a broad and comprehensive plan identifying all elements of land management that are believed to impact water quality. The Minnesota Bureau of Soil and Water Resources has approved the plan. BWSR works with the Clean Water Council to use Clean Water sales tax monies, voted for by the citizens of Minnesota, to protect water quality.

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The Pine River 1W1P, with large and long-term funding, has the potential of success in mitigating the present decline in the quality of water in the Pine River Watershed. Specific action plans and goals have been developed to address water quality issues using these funds.

These include actions to “Keep It” (i.e. maintain good water quality), “Manage It” (i.e. through ordinances and regulations) and “Fix It” (i.e. septic upgrades, improved stormwater control, shoreland restoration and stabilization, rain gardens).

These goals fit the mission of WAPOA as a steward of the natural world in the Pine River Watershed. Individual “Lake Plans'' are being developed to address issues on specific lakes within the watershed.

With a shared vision of water quality, WAPOA was asked to be involved in developing the 1W1P for the Pine River Watershed. The Pine River Watershed is 800 square miles and exists in central Cass and northern Crow Wing counties. The Whitefish Chain of Lakes is part of the Pine River Watershed. Three hundred thousand acres of water flow downstream through the 14,000 acres of the Whitefish Chain.

Thus, WAPOA plays a significant role in communicating to its members the importance of participating in this comprehensive plan of water management.

Many actions will be taken over the next 10 years to protect the Pine River Watershed. The Pine River Watershed plan will be implemented through a memorandum of understanding between Cass County, Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District, Crow Wing County and Crow Wing SWCD.

In addition to these actions, everyone must do their part to protect the lakes and lands within the watershed.

“All this being said, the best solution to slow decline is everyone understanding how they impact their water quality and taking personal actions to reduce their personal impact,” Ron Meyer, a member of the Pine River 1W1P Advisory Committee and president of the Pine River Watershed Alliance, said in a news release.

WAPOA is one of the largest lake associations in Minnesota and has worked in water quality for 50 years. Plans for the future of WAPOA include increasing membership. Consider a membership by visiting www.wapoa.org and help WAPOA continue its mission to conserve and improve the quality of water in the Pine River Watershed.

Watch for more WAPOA stories about 1W1Pand its implementation on the Whitefish Chain and the Pine River Watershed. Also, for comprehensive details, go to https://www.crowwing.us/1476/Pine-River-1W1P.