Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Meeting Highlights - January 23, 2019 (from MAWD’s perspective)

1.      New BWSR Board Member – The Board welcomed Sarah Strommen, new DNR Commissioner, who replaces former Commissioner Tom Landwehr.

2.      New BWSR Staff – There are 2 new employees and one new appointment:

·       Jamie Gudknecht is the new HR Director (and sole HR employee at BWSR.)

·       Sharon Doucette is the new Conservation Easement Section Manager. She comes from the City of Woodbury and has been serving on the Clean Water Council since 2013 representing cities. Her position on the Council is now posted.

·       Tom Gile is the new Resource Conservation Section Manager and will serve as the new Drainage Work Group Coordinator when Al Kean retires this spring.

3.      Drainage Work Group (DWG) Update – Al Kean gave an update on the DWG’s final recommendations for the upcoming legislative session. You can view them here: www.mnwatershed.org/policy-issues/. The DWG will next meet in June.

4.      Red Lake River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan Amendment – The Board approved a plan amendment that will allow the Red Lake Watershed District to establish two Water Management Districts that will help fund the Thief River Falls Westside Flood Damage Reduction and Black River Impoundment Projects.    

5.      Red River Basin Commission (RRBC) Grant – The Board approved the allocation of $100,000 to the RRBC for water quality and floodplain management, including administration of programs.

6.      FY2019 Buffer Implementation Grants – $1,150,000 of unused funds from the buffer implementation and cost share programs will be redistributed to 33 SWCDs to continue to assist landowners with buffer implementation. Funds may be used for administration, technical assistance, and/or cost share payments.

7.      2018 Performance Review and Assistance Program (PRAP) Report – The Board agreed to approve this year’s report and submit it to the legislature. 39/45 watershed districts and 16/18 WMOs were found to be in full compliance with Level 1 performance standards. For more information on PRAP: http://bwsr.state.mn.us/PRAP/index.html

8.      Watershed District Boundary Change – The Board approved a boundary change between Rice Creek and Brown’s Creek Watershed Districts after a review of the hydrologic and legal boundaries.  

9.      Putting Minnesota on a Clean Water Trajectory – Steve Woods presented the findings compiled by Freshwater Society after listening to the original “G16,” a group of 16 entities (state agencies, local governments, and non-profits, etc.) that first met 15 years ago. Back then, they defined actions thought would have the most impact on our water resources. This new report takes a look at whether those original participants partners think we are on the best trajectory or if we need to guide efforts in a different direction. MAWD participated in this effort and the report will be available on Freshwater’s website soon: www.freshwater.org                                                                                  

10.   MAWD Update – Javens gave an update of our upcoming legislative efforts and announced that after the decision to add WMOs as voting members of MAWD, three have already joined (Lower Rum, Bassett Creek, and Vadnais Lake)

11.    Miscellaneous Decisions – The Board approved a RIM Easement alteration needed for a highway safety improvement project in Blue Earth County. They also approved an amendment for Swift County’s Comprehensive Local Water Management Plan.

12.    Miscellaneous Announcements: During the meeting, it was announced that Paul Gardner, former legislator and Ramsey SWCD Supervisor, has been named Executive Director (a new position) of the Clean Water Council.

To review the full BWSR Board Packet, go to: http://bwsr.state.mn.us/boardpackets/2019/BWSR_Bd_Packet_Jan23_2019.pdf

Next BWSR Board Meeting: March 27, 2019 with location to be determined.
These notes were put together by Executive Director Emily Javens and are not meant to be a complete summary of the meeting, but rather highlights of activity thought to be of interest to MAWD members.

If you have questions about BWSR meetings, please contact our representatives on the Board:

·  Jill Crafton, 952-944-5583

·  Joe Collins, 651-488-5108

·  Harvey Kruger, 507-360-2011