1) Fargo-Moorhead relies on a small buried glacial aquifer that isn’t easily recharged and doesn’t have a lot of capacity. It may limit development of the region. Moorhead also has an annual flooding problem and we will ask whether recharge can siphon off some of the flood waters.
2) The Straight River Groundwater Management area near Park Rapids. This sandy area is intensively irrigated cropland and seasonal lows in the water table aquifer have the potential to have a thermal impact on a coldwater stream. The city of Park Rapids has also had problems with nitrate in shallow groundwater. We’ll study whether water is available at the right time of year to offset drawdown and if it can dilute nitrate contamination and keep the stream cool.
3) Southern Washington County has a similar problem of aquifer depletion impacting a coldwater stream but in this case is a bedrock aquifer. Located in a growing metropolitan area, the current use may not be sustainable. The migration of 3M legacy contaminants (PFOS, PFOA) into parts of the aquifer used for a municipal supply well is a long-term problem in search of a solution. Recharging aquifers with clean water may provide relief for both of these future scenarios.
4) Greater Rochester is planning for a doubling of population due to expansion of the medical campus. Our question: Will their bedrock aquifer be adequate and remain free of contamination or will groundwater quantity and quality limit their ability to expand?
The project is now ongoing, and will give a report to the 2021 Legislature. We will follow this work in the LWV UMRR blog and report peridically on prgress.
It is important to note that even if Managed Aquifer Recharge turns out to be a promising practice, there concerns and regulatory hurdles to be surmounted if it is to go into use in Minnesota. So the research here is just one step toward a major change in water management in Minnesota.
Some resources for more information:
University of Minnesota Water Resources Center:
Freshwater Society Facets of Freshwater:
Coon Rapids is a suburban city of about 61,000 people on the Mississippi north of Minneapolis. Development here exploded in the 50's and 60's with the post-war building/baby boom. In Coon Rapids, a group of citizens have banded together to build solar energy investment across the city.
The Coon Rapids Regenerative Energy Task Force formed in 2019. Members include a state senator, a former state legislator, a city ‘council member, a Coon Rapids Sustainability commission member, a student at the Anoka Ramsey Community College and advisors from the Three Rivers Parks District and Xcel Energy. The motivation was to accelerate the process of using more sustainable energy in our city and less carbon-based energy. Lonni McCauley, a founding member of the Task Force, said, "You only have to learn of the fires in Australia, the flood in Vienna and the tornadoes and floods in the South to get realize you can’t sit still and do nothing."
This group has gotten a lot done in their six months of existence. So far, their accomplishments include:
We look forward to seeing where the next six months take this group! This project is a product of the Upper Mississippi River Region ILO which is promoting clean water and a mitigation of climate change.
Owatonna Workshop on Jan. 25 to Help Farmers/Landowners with Tools for a Wetter World
Speakers include Southeast Minnesota cover crop farmers Tom Cotter and Myron Sylling, George Boody of the Land Stewardship Project (LSP), and Adam Arndt and Kelly Burke of Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), respectively.
“This whole thing is about improving soil and cutting back on erosion,” said Randy Schroht, an Ikes member and area farmer. Speakers will address why no-till fields need cover crops to battle erosion, how to strike a better deal for conservation in rental agreements, the role of livestock, 260-bushel corn, and how soil health pays the bills.
Land Stewardship Project is a sponsor along with University of Minnesota Extension, League of Women Voters/Upper Mississippi River Region Region-Interleague Organization, and the Cannon River Watershed Partnership.
For more information on the UMRI, please see http://umrinitiative.org/about/.
Photo MPR News June 17, 2014
The League of Women Voters of Dane County (Madison, Wisconsin) is leading efforts to build understanding and momentum on climate issues. Their forum series on climate has been excellent and is very well documented on their website with videos, presentations and supplemental materials. The Climate Corner blog provides weekly posts on climate and environment topics. These short posts are well-written quick reads on questions we face in our daily lives.
The first of the planned four forums, held in September, focused on the public health impacts of climate change. Here, the program opened with a presentation on the science behind climate change by Ralph Peterson, PhD from the University of Wisconsin, followed by a discussion of LWV positions relating to climate change advocacy by Andrea Kaminsky so that LWV members would be well versed prior to digging in on the topic of the day, why Climate Change is an urgent public health issue. Dr. Claire Gervais from the UW Health Clinic gave this presentation. This excellent webpage (click here) provides videos, PowerPoints and more information, and is an excellent resource for Leagues that may be planning a a Climate Change discussion.
The second forum, on December 8, looked at the impact that local governments can have adapting to and working to combat climate change. ".... Facing our federal leadership vacuum, local governments are stepping up, and the real work is happening far away from the hype and hyperbole. Their strength lies in recognizing the economic value inherent in establishing and working within the confines of well-balanced and preserved ecosystems for flood control, energy savings, pest management and the like. " This webpage has videos and related materials for this forum.
February 4 will be the next forum in the series, Climate Change and Agriculture. Like the others, this forum will be livestreamed on Facebook Live, as well as videoed for later presentation. Here's a link to the LWV Dane County calendar page, where more information will be posted as time for the forum nears.
LWV UMRR thanks LWV Dane County for their work and leadership on this critical issue!
GLBW Founding Partners:
The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board is a coordinating Board for environmental issues that are being addressed by state government. EQB's members include Commissioners from 9 state agencies with environmental responsibilities and 8 citizen members. (Learn more about the EQB at this link.)
Every five years, EQB holds an Environmental Congress, where citizens are invited to meet with EQB members and staff to share their vision and concerns. This Congress was held on December 3 at Minnesota State University in Mankato. The goals of this Environmental Congress were to:* Explore leading science on climate change and what it means for Minnesotans
* Advance mutual learning among community members, state and local leaders, and a broad range of professionals on pressing climate policy issues
* Highlight innovative work taking place across Minnesota
* Create opportunities for dialogue and shared understanding
* Inspire meaningful climate action at the individual, community, and local and state government levels
About 200 people attended the Congress, either in person or virtually. There were many opportunities for discussion among the participants and with the members of the Environmental Quality Board. One highlight was a barn-burner of a speech from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. In this speech, Governor Walz talked about the need to build infrastructure - roads, bridges, water treatment plants - to meet the threat posed by increased heavy rain events. He cited the sense of cohesion that was around the need for work on climate change in 2008, and said that now, if the federal government is going to move backwards, it's time for the states to step up. You can watch Governor Walz's speech at this link, running from .50 to 1.10 minutes (Walz's introduction begins at .45 minutes)
In the afternoon, attendees convened for the Open Spaces dialogue portion of the Congress. Attendees were invited to host conversations on topics that interested them. The topics were:
· Need for a nation-wide carbon tax
· City level solutions and climate action
· Building resiliency in the conventional agriculture matrix
· Climate and health
· Implications of Line 3 on climate
· Having meaningful discussions with people you disagree with
· How do we elect bold champions for a livable planet
· Natural climate solutions to reach MN’s emissions reductions goals
· Diversity in resilience planning
· How to make mass transit cool
· Greenhouse gas emissions accounting (methods, data)
· How to encourage inter-generational action on climate change
In each session, participants shared information and views on their chosen topics. Each topic was attended by an EQB member. This meeting format allowed for participants to 'set the agenda' for what was discussed. Possible topics were listed and those that got the most 'thumbs up' through the app "Slido" went forward to the Open Space dicussions. More information on the Congress will be coming out from EQB, we will update this post at that time.
The day ended with time for networking among the attendees.
Here's an excellent blog post from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Good reading - many thanks to NSAC!
"The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held a hearing last Wednesday, October 30, 2019 to discuss the role of agriculture in identifying and implementing solutions to the climate crisis. This is the first time that the Select Committee has focused on the potential for America’s farmers and ranchers to be a positive force in the nation’s efforts to combat climate change. In this post, we highlight key issues raised during the hearing, and also outline NSAC’s key policy principles for how Congress can help farmers respond to and be part of the solution to the climate crisis...."
An October 31 story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune says, "Railway proposes shipping 500 million gallons of Minnesota water a year to the Southwest. ... [The railway] wants to drill two wells on a 6.2-acre parcel the company owns in Randolph, within a mile of Lake Byllesby in the Cannon River watershed. The wells together would pump up to 6,000 gallons of water per minute, which would double the amount of water that’s currently extracted annually from area wells by farmers and residents.
The water would be shipped by rail to communities near the Colorado River, county officials said. The application says the water would be used for commercial and institutional purposes, though Dakota County Commissioner Mike Slavik said he had heard it was intended for agricultural use in southwestern Colorado."
This troubling withdrawal for which a preliminary permit has been sought could be repeated in water-rich areas across the Midwest. The Great Lakes Compact protects the Great Lakes from water withdrawals, but there is no such compact for the other surface- and ground-water in the Midwest. Is it time for this to change? This excellent blog post by Matt Doll of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership suggests that a compact be formed to protect the waters of the Mississippi Basin and other Midwestern waters from inter-basin transfer. LWV UMRR will provide updates on this project and any progress toward protection in future posts.
|LWV Upper Mississippi River Region||