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 Northern Waters Land Trust (NWLT), 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 WRAPS.
B. Implement action plans for projects identified in WRAPS 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 WRAPS 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 WRAPS 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
Comments From The Chair
Comments from the Chair -March 2023
Obviously Covid did have an impact to my activities. As I was doing my review of our website, I noticed my last Comments were issued in October of 2021. In the past I had been generating quarterly comments. I apologize and am planning to return to the quarterly Comments.
The best news is we did continue to make progress on projects and programs we are involved in even though direct contact with people was slowed. One thing I noted in my website review is we need a method of simply sharing whats happening with current efforts. Although the project section of the website can be used it covers over 15 years. The plan the Board is working on is to have more frequent updates on current activities. We will start this effort right after our Annual meeting in June. The website will have a note on the home page for these updates.
The current efforts like continuation of the 1W1P efforts, Grassland 2.0, Stormwater projects in Crosslake, the 319 grant and associated work plan, a lot of acceleration in shoreland protection projects, Grazing management efforts, Land and Waters and the Loon Center are keeping us busy. The challenge is we need more resources to address all these opportunities. PRWA must expand its membership along with finding new Board members. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Also, we have made progress with our Grassland 2.0 project with the University of Wisconsin. We have established a training hub in the Pine River Watershed at the Happy Dancing Turtle facility. This partnership is allowing us to combine our efforts in education with other efforts like beef processing capability, local supply and funds for establishing improved grazing projects. This effort incorporates a lot of our activities and will be a real benefit to future progress of building our community as well as protecting our environment.
I hope this letter finds you well after the winter and you will be seeing more publicity about PRWA this year as we build membership and new Board members. Again. Your help is appreciated.