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February 13 2012 10:05

Clean Water Fund Investments on Track According to State Report

Contact: Jennifer Maleitzke, 651-757-2549

St. Paul, Minn. – Minnesota agencies that receive Clean Water Fund dollars released their first collaborative report today, indicating the state is on track with its investments so far, though many challenges remain.

For example, the report found that:
• For every state dollar invested in implementation activities such as improvements to municipal sewage plants and buffers to control agricultural runoff, an additional $1.45 was leveraged through local and federal partnerships.
• Although the pace of activities to restore polluted lakes and streams is being accelerated by Clean Water Funds, requests for clean-up funds are about three times greater than what is available.
• Drinking water protection efforts are on track, but there is a growing concern about nitrate levels in new wells and in certain vulnerable aquifers.

“This report reflects the acceleration and enhancement of water resource management made possible by the Clean Water Fund,” said Rebecca Flood, assistant commissioner at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Money in the Clean Water Fund comes from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment that Minnesotans passed in 2008. The Legacy Amendment increased the state sales tax by three-eighths of 1 percent beginning on July 1, 2009 and continuing until 2034. Thirty-three percent of the revenue is distributed to the Clean Water Fund.

Approximately $152 million was invested in the first two years for water management activities like monitoring, planning and on-the-ground restoration and protection activities.

The report helps Minnesotans understand connections between Clean Water funds invested, actions taken and outcomes achieved in 2010-2011.

The 18 measures in the report provide a snapshot of how Clean Water Fund dollars are being spent and the progress that’s been made. The measures are organized into three sections: investment, surface water quality, and drinking water protection. These measures are part of a larger set that will be used to consistently track and report clean water outcomes over the life of the amendment.

Each measure has a status ranking and trend information. Of the 18 measures, status and trends vary; six measures showed improving trends, 11 showed no trend or were too early to assess, and one showed a slightly declining trend.

“We understand that people want to see immediate results from Clean Water Fund investments,” said Julie Blackburn, assistant director at the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. “However managing Minnesota’s water resources is a long-term endeavor that will take the efforts of many – from state agencies, to local governments to citizens.”

It is important to note that the report does not include information on other ongoing water-related work as it would be impossible to measure everything in one report or project. This report is the beginning of what is to come over the next 25 years in outcome-based water quality data and information.

To view the 2012 Clean Water Performance Report on the web, go to www.legacy.leg.mn. For general questions about the report, contact Jennifer Maleitzke at 651-757-2549.

For more information about the individual measures in the report, contact:
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: Jennifer Maleitzke, 651-757-2549
Minnesota Department of Health: Tannie Eshenaur, 651-201-4074
Minnesota Department of Agriculture: Margaret Wagner, 651-201-6488
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Andy Holdsworth, 651-259-5536
Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources: Julie Blackburn, 651-297-5617
Minnesota Public Facilities Authority: Jeff Freeman, 651-259-7465
Metropolitan Council: Bonnie Kollodge, 651-602-1357
University of Minnesota Water Resources Center: Deb Swackhamer, 612-625-0279

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