Minnesota has been blessed with natural resources that are necessary to our way of life, and they are important to maintain.

Specifically, the Mississippi River comes to mind, and the Whiskey Creek Enhancement Project (storm water project) located at the heart of the city of Baxter, adjacent to the Paul Bunyan State Trail, and upstream of the Northland Arboretum needs final funding.

This project was ranked second highest for removal of phosphorus out of 59 projects by the Mississippi Headwaters Board. Out of the upper 400 miles of the Mississippi River, this watershed has the highest percent of developed land use.

Completing this project will help save our great river.

Funding this project has been a long time coming. After a report identified hot spots for pollution, the city developed a study to refine the treatment and cost for the sub-watershed site at Whiskey Creek. It’s critical that this project be completed as soon as possible.

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There are many benefits to this project. The river currently doesn’t meet water quality standards and more than 2 million people drink water out of the Mississippi River every day; this project will increase the water’s quality. It’s ranked by the U.S. Forest Service in the top five of all Minnesota watersheds for the ability to produce clean water for downstream drinking water.

This project will capture and treat storm water runoff from 400-acres of highly impervious, developed land. Once established, the project will control watershed flows and improve water quality within Whiskey Creek and the Mississippi River. This project will significantly reduce sediment and phosphorus loading to the Mississippi River, keeping our waters healthy and clean.

I’m proud to be a co-author of the 2020 Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources bill (SF-166), which includes funding for this project. We need to conserve the resources we often take for granted, and we need to protect the Mississippi River.

The Whiskey Creek Enhancement Project will benefit Minnesotans, and I’m committed to getting it done.

State Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, represents District 10.