The Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota (BALMM) began as a locally led alliance of land and water resource agencies that coordinates efforts to protect and improve water quality in the Lower Mississippi River Basin.
- BALMM makes water quality restoration and protection in southeast Minnesota a top priority for decision-makers at all levels
- The group coordinates efforts to protect and restore water quality in southeast Minnesota.
To fulfill those purposes, BALMM emphasizes land use practices to improve or protect water quality, particularly in the areas of watershed management, aquifer protection and floodplain management. The alliance has adopted the following strategies.
- Perennial vegetation: Increase acreage of well-managed hay and pastureland, vegetative buffer strips, woodlands, etc. This will increase infiltration and reduce surface runoff following rain and snow melt events.
- Wetland protection and restoration: Work with willing landowners to restore wetland functions in critical parts of the landscape.
- Soil conservation on row-crop land: Promote conservation tillage, contour farming and install needed structures to keep erosion at or below the replacement rate of soil erosion.
- Urban and rural-residential land management: Reduce impacts from urban stormwater and wastewater, while managing urban development.
- Nutrient and pesticide management: Promote optimal use of fertilizer and chemicals to minimize runoff and leaching from farm fields and urban land.
- Animal feedlot management: Support implementation of state feedlot rules to reduce feedlot runoff and improve manure management.
- Aggregate mining activities management: Coordinate permitting and environmental review to minimize potential impacts on groundwater and surface water while maintaining local supplies at reasonable cost.
An alliance of local, state and federal agencies is starting to see the results of their efforts to protect and restore the waters of southeast Minnesota, where bacteria levels have dropped in two rivers.
BALMM meets every other month to discuss current issues and plan projects. The MPCA publishes a newsletter, BALMM Currents, to announce the meeting agenda and keep members informed of current events related to water quality.
Dates for upcoming meetings at MPCA's regional office in Rochester (18 Wood Lake Drive SE, 55904):
- September 19
- December 19
- Area 7 Minnesota Soil and Water Conservation Districts Association
- Bluffland Environmental Watch
- Cannon River Watershed Partnership
- Dakota County/SWCD
- Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture
- Minnesota Department of Health
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Mississippi River Citizen Commission
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Prairie Island Indian Community
- Southeast Minnesota Water Resources Board
- St. Mary’s University Resource Studies Center
- University of Minnesota Extension
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- Whitewater River Watershed Project
- Zumbro River Watershed Partnership
An e-mail newsletter for the Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota.
Submissions welcome. BALMM would like to highlight your projects and events. For submission guidelines, please contact the MPCA contact.
- BALMM to meet Sept. 19 at MPCA office in Rochester
- On-farm research: Using saturated buffers to reduce nitrogen leaching, runoff
- New online data tools help track Minnesota’s watershed work
- 0% interest loans available to curb water pollution
- Upcoming events: Minnesota Water Resources Conference, BWSR Academy
- In the news and online: Feedlot moratorium, wetter weather
$20 million in zero-interest loans is available to cities and other government entities to address non-point source pollution through the Clean Water Partnership program.
Older issues can be found in the archive.
Justin Watkins, MPCA: 507-206-2621