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
Comments From The Chair
COMMENTS FROM THE CHAIR OCTOBER, 2020
Its 2020, so starting winter in October seems consistent with what has happened during the year.
The year has provided challenges as we work our projects. The inability to meet in person has limited the speed and effectiveness of implementation. The good news is the ZOOM technology has allowed meetings to happen and provide with some contact. This has allowed some progress on projects.
The 1W1P efforts have been targeted at Lake Improvement efforts for Lower Hay, Ossie and Kimble lakes as well as storm water projects. As we work with these lake associations there has been one result that everyone should review. The lake associations ask for some education material for especially new residents. There was a manual called Lake Stewardship that was created back about 5 years ago. Rather than creating a new manual Jodi Eberhardt from the PRWA Board created a Blog with the same education information. Please take a look at this Blog at landandwater.org. On storm water there are a number of efforts along County 66 in Crosslake and two potential projects on Bertha Lake. We are working with these landowners to develop plans for reducing storm water runoff into Whitefish with implementation next year.
We expanded our water testing on the three main basins of Whitefish. This was a response to the issues of algae and weeds we saw in 2018 on Upper Whitefish. We hope the expanded testing will give us useful information on what may have been the cause and give us some potential actions to prevent the issue in the future. The problem is we have completed the testing but the organization who is doing the analysis is still shutdown because of the virus. Hopefully the analysis will be done by spring so plans can be developed.
PRWA has been active working with the agricultural community because we know sustainable land management practices are critical to protecting water quality. We had identified some local producers who wanted to work with us in putting together plans to move to more sustainable practices like rotational grazing and cover cropping. The inability to meet directly with these individuals has delayed project plans. One thing that was started and will be ongoing is the “Up the Creek Meats” project which connects local producers with lake associations and establishes direct sale. The virus has shown some issues with our meat production and distribution. A number of people wanted to have more control over their sources so we believe we will be able to make this happen with “Up the Creek Meats” and efforts to support developing local meat processing capability.
Although our momentum may have slowed progress continues at protecting water quality in the watershed.
Please stay connected and informed and if you have any questions please contact me.
Have a great winter,