Recognizing the importance of water quality in the thousands of lakes and miles of streams that provide habitat and recreation across the prairie landscape, a public television station in western Minnesota has filmed a segment on MPCA’s citizen water monitoring programs for an upcoming program. Pioneer Public Television in Granite Falls will be including the segment in its popular “Prairie Sportsman” show next January.
Producer Cindy Dorn says she got the idea while browsing featured stories on the MPCA website. She found one about a “fishy surprise” for a citizen lake monitor. It told of a volunteer monitor who noticed a lot of empty beverage cans along the lakeshore. Upon further inspection, she discovered bullhead fry trapped inside the cans.
Cindy contacted MPCA Southwest Region Public Information Officer Forrest Peterson about other possible citizen monitoring story ideas for Prairie Sportsman. Forrest helped coordinate video sessions including Laurie Sovell and Shannon Martin, MPCA citizen stream and citizen lake coordinators, respectively. They contacted several citizen monitors in the Willmar-Granite Falls area, who were eager to participate and share their stories.
“What a great opportunity to collaborate with Pioneer Public Television to spread the word about Citizen Water Monitoring in Minnesota,” Laurie says. “We are excited to share the important work of our volunteer water monitors as part of their programming.”
On July 26, videographers went to a Hawk Creek monitoring site west of Granite Falls where they interviewed citizen stream monitor Brad Froland, Hawk Creek Watershed Project technician Jordan Austin, and Peterson. They used a drone to capture dramatic aerial video of Hawk Creek meandering among vast fields of corn and soybeans. Next stop was the south shore of Big Kandiyohi Lake southeast of Willmar where they filmed citizen lake monitor David Peterson. At both locations the volunteers were very articulate in describing their work and its important role for water quality.
The Prairie Sportsman show dates back to 1991 and became one of the most popular local productions of Pioneer Public Television. After a funding-shortage hiatus in 2016, it received a grant from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund to resume new programming. Founded in 1966, Pioneer Public Television serves southwest and west central Minnesota, northwestern Iowa, eastern South Dakota and southeastern North Dakota. A digital, over-the-air broadcast signal can also be viewed in western Wisconsin and Twin Cities Metro area through Dish and DirecTV.