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, MARCH, 2021
Spring is here and we have hope for a great season and continuing success at handling COVID.
COVID has slowed our efforts on the 1W1P project efforts. We have projects addressing storm water issues, lake improvement plans, grazing and cover crop projects. They will be rolled out as things open up. The one thing COVID has done is the creation of ZOOM Meetings so we had PRWA Board meetings all winter. This allowed us to stay up on projects and do more planning. I prefer implementation to planning but we will take what we can get.
One effort has been at increasing our social media presence to provide a more effective platform for communicating to our residents about projects and to provide educational materials. The site links for this information are: www.landandwaters.org and www.loveyourlake.info. Please visit these sites to see what is provided. These sites will be updated with new info at least every two months and as projects are moved forward.
With COVID more people have realized that our food supply system isn’t as robust or as secure as we might like. There has been a significant amount of effort by local residents to develop relationships with local producers for their food supply needs. PRWA has known that our water quality is dependent on how well land is managed. Based on this we are participating in the Up the Creek Meats program that helps local producers who practice soil health principles that protect our water with connection to local residents to sell their products. It is an effort to drive local sourcing of food while protecting our waters. You can get information on this at the website: https://www.fishandwaterconservationfund.org/up-the-creek-meats/. This site identifies the project and lists the producers who are marketing their goods. Review and call ones you are interested in possibly developing as a source for your food. We are also working with lake associations to connect them with producers. Buy local and know where your food comes from and protect our water.
One other piece of good news is the 319 grant we have received has been increased to $324,454 and although that means an increase in the matching funds required we believe we can do that. This funding along with 1W1P funding will provide the resources we need to address a lot of useful projects. Hopefully by mid-summer we will have a lot to report.
One last and really important request is I need your help in finding new members who want to be on the PRWA Board. We have a very strong and active Board but are always looking for new members who bring new perspectives. Please think about it and then call me.
Hope you are staying safe and if you ever have any questions please contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great summer,