Regional meetings to hear and discuss ideas from Minnesota River Congress

NEW ULM – A series of public meetings are scheduled in September to hear about and discuss the June 19 Minnesota River Congress, leading up to a second congress scheduled for Oct. 30 in New Ulm.

Congress organizers believe there is a need for greater unity and communication among the many groups working to sustain the water and land in the Minnesota River Valley for agriculture and the overall economy.

At the June 19 congress about 100 people shared a meal, and gathered in small groups to discuss ideas for the future of collaborative efforts to protect and improve land and water resources in the Minnesota River basin. Information and display tables set up by more than 20 organizations contributed greatly to the networking action.

Regional meetings are planned for 7 p.m. at the following dates and hosts. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Sept. 10, Clean Up the River Environment, Community Center, 550 1st St. SW, Montevideo.

Sept. 11, Rural Advantage, Knights of Columbus Hall, 920 E. 10th St., Fairmont.

Sept. 15, J.R. Brown Heritage Society, Henderson Community Center, Henderson.

Sept. 16, Friends of the Minnesota Valley, National Wildlife Refuge, Bloomington.

Sept. 17, Lower Sioux Community, Jackpot Junction, Morton.

“Working together to protect and improve natural resources promises a better future for food production, recreation, and economic development,” says Scott Sparlin, of the Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River. “We need ideas and support from all across the basin to realize the potential for funding and influence that we need to make a real difference in the Minnesota River Valley.”

The June 19 congress generated a wide range of ideas. Many expressed support for citizen participation and leadership, either at the basin scale or starting out first at the watershed scale the basin consists of 13 separate watersheds. Since the disbanding of the Minnesota River Board earlier this year, the need for collaboration and communication among groups working the basin ranked high.

“There was a lot of discussion and support for a citizen-led, all-inclusive organization, but less agreement about the possible structure,” Sparlin said. “The regional meetings will give more people the chance to help us focus the ideas leading up to the second congress on Oct. 30.”

For more information contact Sparlin at 507-276-2280, yasure@lycos.com. A summary of the June 19 congress is posted on the Minnesota River Watershed Alliance webpage, www.watershedalliance.blogspot.com.

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