Developing partnerships between agriculture and municipalities in the Minnesota River Basin may be the next step in restoring the state’s namesake river. Despite the actions of hundreds of communities and landowners over many years, the river continues to suffer from nutrient, bacteria, and sediment pollution. With 80% of the basin in cropland, fostering partnerships with agricultural producers is key to long-term success.
On Monday, Nov. 18, people from across the basin and the state representing different interests and groups will come together in Mankato to learn and brainstorm at a forum organized by the City of Mankato, Water Resources Center at Minnesota State University-Mankato, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
The goals are to:
- Foster understanding about the challenges and opportunities that cities and ag producers face in improving water quality
- Learn about innovative solutions to those challenges
- Gain input and ideas on how people across all sectors – ag, urban, environmental, and recreation – can work together on a pilot project to reduce pollution going to the river
The forum will include a panel of leaders from large and small cities discussing ongoing infrastructure challenges, successful approaches, and new strategies for multi-benefit water quality projects. Cities in the basin have decreased phosphorus in their wastewater discharges by 60-70% since 2005.
A second panel discussion will provide perspectives from farmers and an overview of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification program. This voluntary program is an opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect Minnesota waters. Those who implement and maintain approved farm management practices are certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of 10 years. The program recently exceeded 500,000 acres in enrollment.
For more information, visit the Minnesota River Basin web page.