The Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA) is a citizen-led volunteer organization that works with local units of government and other agencies to preserve and protect the local environment while meeting resident needs for economic development and a healthy community. The PRWA has grown out of initial efforts of the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA) and the Pine River Watershed Protection Foundation (PRWPF) to address watershed-wide issues.
Watershed level planning has become an accepted tool for managing resources at the basin/watershed level. PRWA has created a Pine River Watershed Management Plan that provides the direction for our organization to focus on effective environmentally sound watershed management. This Management Plan and the objectives of PRWA were largely established based on input received from residents through a survey done in 2006.
PRWA drives specific projects and activities in support of its vision and mission. The specific objectives for PRWA are established in the Operating section of the Management Plan and will be updated and measured yearly.
Mission and Vision
The Mission of the Pine River Watershed Alliance is to protect and preserve the Pine River Watershed’s land and water quality for the people of the watershed, now and for future generations, to enjoy a healthy, vibrant way of life.
Our Vision is to have the land and waters of the Pine River Watershed be healthy, beautiful and treated with respect by all people.
Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA) is an organization of people concerned about water quality. The Pine River Watershed encompasses 504,000 acres primarily in Crow Wing and Cass Counties with a small portion in Hubbard and Aitkin Counties. PRWA works to develop and implement enduring solutions to protect the quality of the watershed’s land and waters for the people who live, work and recreate here.
Water quality remains the primary gauge for measuring and assessing the quality of the environment. This measurement is used to evaluate the success of actions taken to improve land management practices. Our water quality efforts are focused on understanding sources of and attempting to mitigate negative impacts to our water.
What happens on land directly impacts the quality of our water resources. The pressure on our lakes and streams comes from an increasing population with corresponding land development along with agricultural and other land management practices in the watershed. Our efforts focus on promoting sustainable land management practices. PRWA expands water quality discussions to recognize that land, water and air are all related and need to be properly managed to maintain a healthy environment.
We are an entirely volunteer organization, not funded by taxes. The major challenge of a volunteer organization, like this watershed effort, are funding, maintaining momentum on projects Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA) manages or supports, and recruiting members. We are actively working to insure PRWA has the resources to achieve its Vision and Mission and make our efforts impactful and relevant to the people who volunteer their time and energy, including our partners and the stakeholders of our watershed..
The reduction of pre-settlement wetlands has been identified as an issue primarily in southern and western Minnesota where expansion of agriculture has significantly reduced wetlands, contributing significantly to a degradation of water quality in those areas. The residents of the Pine River Watershed noted in a previous survey that development in the Central Lakes Region of the state has also reduced wetlands and is an issue that needs to be addressed. Although not a focus area in our current five-year plan, wetlands are a topic of note in our efforts.
1. Sustainable land use management practices are learned and implemented.
A. Working with Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation (LLAWF), Bureau of Soil and Water Resources and the National Forest Service increase the number of conservation easements in the watershed for areas identified as needing protection in the Pine River WRAP.
B. Implement action plans for projects identified in WRAP or others which utilize sustainable land management practices.
C. Investigate and explore up to three technological practices to reduce phosphorus in waters identified by the WRAP as impactors to nutrient loading in the watershed.
D. Develop, deliver or partner on a minimum of five educational opportunities on desired land and water quality practices.
2. Collaboration with government entities, organization and individual for land and water quality is effective and beneficial.
A. Work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (CWSWCD) and local government units (LGU’S) on a minimum of two WRAP strategies or projects.
B. Continue and strengthen relationships with the Land and Waters Endowment toward a one million dollar goal; the Cass County Farm Bureau to provide an annual Harvest Dinner; Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (CWSWCD), Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR), and the US Department of Agriculture/Forestry Service to secure two source water protection grants; and the University of Minnesota Extension/Central Region Sustainable Development Partnership (CRSDP).
C. Develop and increase relationships with lake associations and other entities of common interest.
D. Participate and support the Sandpiper Alliance to achieve a favorable environmental outcome.
3. Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA) has the capacity and resources to be a thriving, effective, inclusive organization.
A. Increase participation of Pine River Watershed residents in PRWA efforts by 400 new members.
B. Increase unrestricted funds to an annual amount of $20,000.
C. Establish administrative support by shared resources with Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (CWSWCD).
Pelican Lake Assn
Board Meeting Minutes
Comments From The Chair
COMMENTS FROM THE CHAIR – SEPTEMBER 2019
It is hard to believe most of the summer is behind us. It has moved way too quickly. This will be a quick update on the activities of the summer. The website will have the project updates done when additional information will be available, later this fall.
We have embarked on an Upper Whitefish Project. Last year the Upper Basin was basically unusable for boating and swimming. The best explanation was a perfect storm of events that caused the problem. The issue is we need to better understand what the factors are to try to mitigate them and hopefully prevent this from happening in the future. I believe we need to develop a comprehensive plan for the Upper Basin and I believe we will need some technical help to understand the impacts of nutrient loading, both residual and newly introduced and identify what are the best things to focus on and what are the costs. At present we are trying to find the technical consultant that will help us with the plan. In the interim we continue to implement projects that have a positive impact to the reduction of nutrients into the lake.
The One Watershed One Plan (1W1P) continues to move through the approval process. Final approval is expected at the end of September. At that time we will know what funds we have available. There is a seminar that is scheduled for October 3rd where we will present the action plans for the 1W1P to lake associations and other organizations so they can start planning projects that will be integrated into the work plan during the winter and then implementation can begin 2020. This project will provide meaningful efforts that will improve and protect our waters.
One project we have already underway is a Grazing Management project I mentioned in the last letter. Two people have been hired and are in the process of interviewing land owners in the watershed on present practices. The survey will be completed this fall and provide project ideas for the work plan.
Thanks to the leadership of Melissa Barrick (CW SWCD) and Scott Lucas (MPCA) we have again applied for grant funds from the PCA from the Section 319 Small Watershed Focus Program. Although we didn’t get the grant last year we were approved this year and will know the amount of grant funding we will have for the watershed early in 2020. This money along with the 1W1P money should provide meaningful resources for projects we identify.
The next few months will provide more detail and specifics to what we have to work with in the terms of monies. The challenge will be identifying meaningful projects and get them into the work plan. By December we will update the website with this information.
ake care and get involved. We always need more help.