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Anchor 16

Our History

  • The first organizational meeting for establishing a Pine River Watershed organization was held in January of 2005.

  • In 2006 a survey was done asking 3500 Pine River Watershed residents for their input on what issues a watershed organization should address.

  • The results of the survey were used to put together a Mission/Vision/ Goals and Objectives for the Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA).

  • PRWA completed Articles of Incorporation in 2007.

  • PRWA completed a non-profit 501(c)3 in 2009. (Note: This makes all donations to PRWA as tax deductible.)

  • PRWA completed the initial Pine River Watershed Management Plan in 2009.




  • Worked with two Crow Wing County Commissioners to establish a Crow Wing County Sanitary Sewer District to insure proper management of septic systems.

  • Sponsored educational programs on:

    • Shoreland Management

    • Septic maintenance

    • Planning and Zoning regulations

    • Minnesota Star Lake Program



  • Continued the Educational Programs started in 2006.

  • Began evaluation process for Bungo Creek with the intention of generating grants for a thorough evaluation.



  • Began working with the Crow Wing Forage Basin Advisory Council on their seminars promoting sustainable agriculture.

  • Sponsored the first Harvest Dinner with the Cass County Farm Bureau.

  • Sponsored the First Healthy Lakes Legislative Forum held in Walker with Minnesota Waters.

  • Completed grant writing for water testing effort on Bungo Creek.



  • Continued PRWA sponsorship of:

    • Harvest Dinner 2

    • Healthy Lakes Legislative Forum 2

    • Crow Wing  Forage Basin Seminars

  • Received $30,000 in grants to do continuous water testing on Bungo Creek with the University of Minnesota and completed the first year of testing.

  • Applied for a Clean Water Partnership Grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to do a Baseline Characteristics Study of the Whitefish Chain of Lakes.

  • Applied for a grant for soil testing in the Bungo Creek area.



  • Continued Sponsorship of:

    • Harvest Dinner 3

    • Healthy Lakes Legislative Forum 3

    • Crow Wing Forage Basin Seminars

  • Continued water testing on Bungo Creek with the University of Minnesota.

  • Received a $40,000 grant to do soil testing with the University of Minnesota in the Bungo Creek area.

  • Received a $115,000 grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency/Clean Water Partnership for doing the baseline characterization of the Whitefish Chain and completed the first year of testing.



  • Continued Sponsorship of:

    • Harvest Dinner 4

    • Healthy Lakes Legislative Forum 4

    • Crow Wing Forage Basin Seminars

  • Completed the second year of water testing for the Clean Water Partnership grant.

  • Completed water and soil testing on the Bungo Creek Project.

  • Established initial website for PRWA.



  • Continued sponsorship of:

    • Harvest Dinner 5

    • Healthy lakes Legislative Forum 5

    • Crow Wing Forage Basin Seminars

  • Completed data analysis and modeling of the Whitefish Chain of Lakes as part of the Clean Water Partnership Project.

  • Developed two possible options for reduction of nutrient loading from Bungo Creek.

    • Option One was a plan developed by the Minnesota Sustainable Farming Organization for changes to a land owners land management practices. The land owner decided not to implement the changes.

    • Option Two was the construction of a water filter system. The system is very new and conceptual and we are monitoring a Minnesota city that has just implemented the filter. If it works we will look to implement it on Bungo Creek. There are land owners on Bungo willing to review such a plan and will, if acceptable, provide the land.

  • Began the Land and Waters Preservation Trust with the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA) with the Initiative Foundation as our financial agent.



  • Continued sponsorship of:

    • Harvest Dinner 5

    • Crow Wing Forage Basin Seminars

  • The Healthy Lakes Legislative Forum was ended because Minnesota Waters was disbanded and we were unable to get a local legislator to take the lead in helping to develop the program.

  • The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Pine River Watershed Project began its ten year cycle. We are a project partner in this effort. The initial two to three years will be on assessment and the development of the Watershed Restoration and Protection (WRAPS) plan.

  • Expanded our Board to include more representation from the agricultural community.

  • Began the fundraising for the Land and Water Preservation Trust with the goal of receiving $50,000 which would then be matched by $50,000 gift from the Initiative Foundation.



  • Continued sponsorship of:

    • Harvest Dinner 6

  • Completed two meetings with residents of the Pine River Watershed to get input that will set the priorities for the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) Plan.

  • Actively working with other local groups to find alternative routes for the proposed Sandpiper Pipeline to reduce the environmental risk.

  • Received a $12,000 grant to produce a video about the Pine River Watershed with Crow Wing SWCD and Lindner Media. This video, which has been completed, will hopefully generate interest in residents about the value of our area.

  • Working with WAPOA we achieved our $50,000 target and the Land and Waters Preservation Trust is over $100,000. 


  • Actively working with other local groups to find alternative routes for the Sandpiper Pipeline that would reduce the risk to our local environment.

  • Supported and participated in the summer and winter seminars lead by the Crow Wing Forage basin Advisory Council.

  • Received grant for expanding PRWA resources and began process.

  • Working with WAPOA we have reached $215,000 for the Land and Waters Trust.

  • Generated a new Vision and Mission which will drive the updating of our strategies and actions for the next 5 years.

  • Updated our Website and started a Facebook page for PRWA.

  • Continued working with the MPCA and other agencies to complete the Watershed Restoration and Protection (WRAPS) Strategy by 2016.


  • Assisted in the completion of the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) Plan for the Pine River Watershed.

  • Utilizing the WRAPS, three projects have begun with lake associations to meet water quality targets established in the plan as well as; one creek project underway and two started.

  • Established a contract with Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (CW SWCD) to provide PRWA with administrative, technical and grant writing support.

  • With Cass County Farm Bureau, have secured a $10,000 grant from the Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership for a feasibility study for a Community market study for ranch-raised, locally processed beef.

  • Have obtained $20,000 in grant funds and have applied for another $30,000 for the next three years to help with the expenses for future WRAPS activity and building a larger membership base.

  • Working with WAPOA, The Land and Waters Trust is now at $232,000 before this year’s mailing.

  • Supported and participated in the summer and winter seminars by the Crow Wing Basin Advisory Council and participated in the Harvest Dinner with the Cass County Farm Bureau.

  • Actively working with other local groups to find alternatives routes for the proposed Line 3 pipeline by Enbridge.


  • Watershed Restoration and Protection (WRAPS) Plan projects: Completed $70,000 grant effort to rebuild Willow Creek to reduce sediment run-off into Whitefish; have re-vegetated Arvig Creek channel and now are working on efforts to reduce erosion and runoff from row crop land; continue to work with Upper and Lower Hay lake associations of WRAPS efforts to improve and protect their lakes.

  • Began working with CW SWCD and the Bureau of Soil and Water Resources on the One Watershed One Plan effort for the Pine River Watershed as a member of the advisory committee.

  • Continue to work with other local groups to get the present proposed route for Line 3 for Enbridge changed in order to protect what is one of the main water resources for the state.

  • Have added two new Board members: Lloyd Thyen and Clay Schulte.

  • Continuing effort: work with the Crow Wing Forage Basin on their seminars to promote sustainable farming efforts; build the Land and Waters Endowment, presently at $250,000; Support storm water run-off projects like Big Trout Lake and the additional efforts of the Water Quality group of the “Crosslakers” to reduce other run-off issues along County 66; Working on finding funding for a Mobile Slaughter Unit to support the Cows for Clean Water effort; Worked another successful Harvest Dinner.


  • Completed the Pine River Watershed One Watershed One Plan (1W1P) and help the planning kick-off meeting on October3r. The grant is for $482,000. The effort now is to put together a plan and then specific actions to spend that money.

  • We also received a PCA 319 Small Watershed grant. We first applied in 2018 but our second effort this year was successful. This grant covers the Whitefish watershed. The amount of the grant is around $200,000. The final amount will be dependent on the 9 Element work plan and how funds are distributed among the watersheds selected. Funds availability is 2021.

  • Worked with WAPOA and consultants to review what happened in 2018 on Upper Whitefish and put a plan together to try to better understand what is happening in the Upper Basin. A test plan was developed and implemented. One major portion of the new is to do deep water phosphorus testing to determine if there is a contribution from the residual phosphorus that has been deposited in the Basin for years. Also, specific algae sample will be taken and sent for analysis.

  • Continue working with CW Forage Basin Advisory Council on education for sustainable farming. The 1W1P efforts on grazing management and soil health will be useful as we go forward.

  • There were two grants from Land and Waters for a total of $10,000.One was for a Grazing Management project and the other was a runoff abatement project of CSAH 66.

  • Two new members were added to the PRWA Board; Clay Shulte and Lloyd Thyen.



  • This year was dominated by COVID-19 and slowed progress and ability to move on projects like we would have liked. The Zoom technology allowed communication and in general kept the momentum.

  • The 1W1P moved forward and a lot of the effort was directed to assessment of potential partners for Sustainable farming activities and reduction of storm water runoff into Whitefish.

  • Thanks to the efforts of Jodi Eberhardt we now have a blog which generates information on the projects going on around the watershed with the best benefit that it is current to what is happening now.

  • Land and Waters had only one small grant request. This means we will have $20,000 for grants in our 2021 process.

  • PRWA working with Lake Association, MN Lakes and Rivers and local producers who are practicing soil health principles and helping to market these producers products. Buying locally works and based on how COVID impacted meat distribution a lot of residents have turned to local producers. The program is called “Up the Creek Meats.”


  • 1W1P continues focused on three areas. Sustainable agriculture, storm water control (primarily in the City of Crosslake), and shoreland protect projects.

  • Started the project Up the Creek Meats which is an effort to help local producers practicing soil health principles to sell their products locally.

  • Land and Water continues but this year only one application. We will improve the process to get more applicants.

  • 319 Grant received. Work plan is process.

  • Water testing program for Upper Whitefish started to better understand what is happening.

  • Began working with the University of Wisconsin on the Grassland 2.0 program which supports sustainable faring education.


  • 1W1P and the associated work continues.

  • 319 Work plan completed. Efforts will begin in 2023.

  • Land and Waters had 7 applications received and 5 awarded $11,000.

  • Blog that was established provides useful information for residents on environmental issues.

  • 1W1P begins the second two year planning effort.

  • Grassland 2.0 efforts continue with the establishment of a Learning Hub set up at Happy Dancing Turtle in Pine River.



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