Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
On October 1, LWV Upper Mississippi River Region will host a discussion with leaders from LWV Jo Daviess County. We will talk about what they have accomplished in the Galena River watershed, and what we, as community leaders, can do throughout the Upper Mississippi Watershed. The public is invited to join us - we will gather at the Upper Mississippi National Refuge Visitor Center at N 5727 Co Rd Z in Onalaska, Wisconsin (10 miles north of La Crosse) at 12:30 for light refreshments, the discussion will start at 1pm. Additionally, this post on the LWV UMRR blog has info on related events in the area. Here's a link to our Facebook event - feel free to share it!
Final stats are in on Minnesota Water Action Day 2018. More than 700 people came to the State Capitol for this event. These citizen lobbyists took the message of water protection to their legislators through 145 legislative meetings, touching about 70% of the legislature. 75 youth attended a Youth Summit that was part of this event Overall, participants were highly motivated, especially on the issue of protecting wild rice.
Register now at this link so meetings with your legislators can be set up! Bus transportation provided from multiple sites outside the Twin Cities! The threats to Minnesota's waters are real this session - make your voice heard!
What are the threats? Read this from US News and World Reports: Bills on Wild Rice, Pipeline, Nitrates Advance at Capitol .)
What: Water Action Day 2018
Where: Christ Lutheran Church - 105 University Ave W, St. Paul, MN 55103 and the Capitol
When: Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Schedule: (Greater MN buses arrive throughout the morning)
- Complimentary breakfast: 8:00 – 10:00 am
- Citizen lobbying 101 (repeating sessions) 8:30, 9:25, 10:20 am
- Drop-in policy briefings (multiple topics): 9:00 - Noon
- Meetings with your representatives: throughout the day*
- Complimentary lunch: 11:00 – 1:00 pm
- Rally in the Rotunda at 2:00 pm
- Youth Summit with Governor Dayton: TBD
Why: Because now is the time to #ProtectOurWater!
* Our team will schedule small group constituent meetings with each legislator (House and Senate) to occur during the day. Participation in these meetings is highly encouraged for all Water Action Day attendees.
Bus transportation: Buses are being coordinated from multiple locations across Greater Minnesota, including Houston, Austin, Duluth, Detroit Lakes and more! Please reserve your spot on your preferred bus route when you register.
Parking: Parking information (both free and low cost) and transit information is included in your registration confirmation email.
Donations: Donations are gladly accepted to help offset the cost of this event. You may donate online by selecting the 'Donation Ticket' as you register, or day-of at the registration table.
Additional Information: Organizers will distribute additional information, including schedules, transportation options, policy highlights and more, to all participants in advance of Water Action Day.
Please join LWV Upper Mississippi River Region and the Land Stewardship Project in a workshop for farmland owners, retired farm men & women, and those inheriting a farmland investment. "Farmland Ownership and Rental: Managing for Stewardship". What is your vision for your farmland?
Key discussion points at these workshops: - What is the farmland legacy you will leave for the next generation? - Enhancing the productive value of farmland. - Balancing short-term returns with investing in farmland as a productive asset. - What’s the relationship between soil health, water quality & climate change? - Creating opportunities for young farmers on the land.
If you are an owner of farmland who rents out the land for farming, this event is for you! Lunch provided. Two dates for this workshop are currently scheduled and more may be added. Registration links:
Golden Valley: https://landstewardshipproject.org/events/item/1124
"Industrial Ag in the Driftless: How do we protect our communities?" will be held at the Americinn Conference Center, 1700 Elm Street, on January 20 from 1pm to 5:30pm. The grassroots forum will share information about the Driftless area’s sensitive karst hydrogeology and what has happened in places where industrialized agriculture operations have been permitted by the State.
Keynote speaker John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri, will discuss “Defending Rural Communities against Economic Colonization.” Panelists, who will address how industrial agriculture can affect our health, economies, and environment, include a local hog farmer, a neighbor to an industrial hog facility, a geologist, an environmental attorney, and state and national level environmental advocates. Network and share struggles and successes, with a focus on solution-oriented discussion about what can be done to protect our land, water, and air in the Driftless region. Click the link above or the poster below for more information. LWV UMRR Board members will be tabling at this event, stop by and visit if you attend.
This two-day "Celebrate the Headwaters" event (described here) began on Sunday, October 1, with us taking the last cruise of the season with Coborn's Lake Itasca tours. We visited and talked about water issues with LWV member and the public on the cruise, then met at the Headwaters for a group photo. On Monday, we held our Board meeting in the morning and at noon were joined by speakers from the Minnesota Department of Health and the nonprofit "Toxic Taters" to talk about nitrate in drinking water. You can watch the education part of the program here. - we recorded it and live-streamed through Facebook Live.
Katie DeSchane was on hand to talk about the work that Toxic Taters is doing in the Park Rapids area. Park Rapids, MN, is the city closest to the Headwaters. Changes in land use, where former tree plantations are being cut and repurposed for irrigated potato farming, is a growing concern. Kathie's group works to raise public awareness of the issue and to help people take action to protect their water supplies. Here are some links: Minnesota Department of Health Source Water Protection; Toxic Taters, and Friends of the Mississippi Headwaters. This last group had a table at our meeting with information on their work on pipelines - read about it in this blog post on the LWV UMRR website.
The League of Women Voters Upper Mississippi River Region, in cooperation with 13 other organizations, sponsored a Community Water Conversation at Anoka Ramsey Community College on Tuesday, August 29. About 75 people attended, including members of the public, water professionals and elected officials. This meeting was part of the Governor’s series of meetings with Minnesotans on how to reduce water pollution by 25% by the year 2025.
After opening remarks by Bruce Bomier from the Environmental Resources Council, small groups were asked to identify their top priorities for water quality improvement and how those priorities could be achieved. Reducing pollution and improving storm water practices were top priorities, along with improving environmental literacy and water education. Thoughtful discussions lead to recommendations for action such as increased installation of storm water ponds and rain gardens, and development of water education curriculum for school children.
One small group suggested that Minnesota must “Set firm goals:
Another recommendation in this vein,
“Analyze where, when and who, then increase training and education for water systems and human impact. Example:
Participants also listed barriers to achieving the pollution reduction goals through the actions they had specified. One group listed barriers to taking individual actions to improve water quality:
Insufficient funding and problems with government regulation were also listed as barriers.
All group suggestions and comments were recorded and sent to the Governor’s office for inclusion in the water meetings database. Anna Henderson, Water Advisor to Governor Mark Dayton was at the meeting. According to Henderson, “Governor Dayton wants to hear from every Minnesotan on what water quality goals they want the state to focus on in their region and what they think needs to happen to achieve those goals. The Governor and key members of his Cabinet are travelling all over the state to host town halls, but not everyone can make a town hall or wants to be in such a large setting. That is why it is so important that groups like the League of Women Voters organize their own community water meetings. The room was full and the conversation was energized – it was exciting to be there and clear that people are engaged and full of great ideas. Thank you to the League of Women Voters for hosting this important conversation. It is up to all of us to work to improve Minnesota’s water quality for future generations to come.”
The League of Women Voters Upper Mississippi River Region is a non-partisan organization aimed at protecting and improving water quality in the Mississippi River basin, from the Headwaters at Lake Itasca to southern Illinois. This group is made up of 50 local member Leagues from throughout the basin, plus the state Leagues of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. Other sponsoring organizations for this meeting included the Anoka Conservation District, the Anoka County Water Task Force, Anoka Ramsey Community College, Izaak Walton League Breckenridge Chapter, Blaine Natural Resources Conservation Board, Conservation Minnesota, Coon Rapids Rotary, Coon Rapids Sustainability Roundtable, Environmental Resources Council, Fridley Environmental Quality and Energy Commission, League of Women Voters ABC, Lower Rum River Water Management Organization and Rice Creek Watershed.
All events take place in Itasca State Park: Google map showing park location and Park map showing features
Come and join the Board of LWV Upper Mississippi River Region for this event!
October 1 – Lake Itasca boat tour with naturalist followed by group photo at the Headwaters
Coborn’s Lake Itasca Boat tour: $16/person for a 1.5 hour tour of Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi, with narration by a naturalist. We are hoping to have a group of more than 18 persons so we can make a reservation - please contact Gretchen Sabel (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are planning to come. Meet at the tour boat dock at 1:30pm; boat leaves at 2pm.
Group photo at the Headwaters:
Gather at the marker at 4:30 pm. All are welcome! We will have someone with a camera on hand to take a group photo. Walking across the rocks is an optional activity.
October 2 – LWV UMRR Board meeting in the Joseph Brower visitor center and talk on nitrates in drinking water and their connection to land use
Board Meeting: Gather in the Joseph Brower visitor center (near the east park entrance) at 9:00, meeting will take place from 9:15 to 11:30. (Info on the visitor center here, see #28/33.) Coffee, tea and refreshments will be provided for both events.
Educational Event: We will have Chris Parthun, Principal Planner, from the Minnesota Department of Health and Katie DeSchane from Toxic Taters on hand to talk about nitrates in drinking water and how land use can tip the equation. Park Rapids has had problems with high nitrates as forests are cleared and the land converted to potato farms. We will have a discussion with our speakers and learn what it will take to protect the groundwater resources in this area. Some background reading here and here and here and here. Christopher Parthun, Principal Planner in the Minnesota Department of Health's Drinking Water Protection Section will speak on the state response to increasing nitrates in drinking water.
Workshop led by the University of Minnesota in partnership with The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation and the League of Women Voters (LWV) - Jo Daviess County, LWV- Upper Mississippi River Region Inter League Organization, LWV- Lake Michigan Region Inter League Organization. With grant funds from 1 Mississippi; an organization supported by The McKnight and Walton Family Foundations.
$20 per person.
Includes morning and afternoon coffee, juice and refreshments, and lunch.
Who should attend?
League of Women Voter members and Rotary Club members from Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, staff from conservation land trust organizations, Extension and Sea Grant educators, teachers and informal science educators, and community members from the surrounding area that want to lead water and land conservation education efforts.
About the Watershed Game
The Watershed Game is an interactive tool that helps individuals understand the connection between land use and water quality. Participants learn how a variety of land uses impact water and natural resources, increase their knowledge of best management practices (BMPs), and learn how their choices can prevent adverse impacts. Participants apply plans, practices, and policies that help them achieve a water quality goal for a stream, lake, or river.
The Watershed Game is available in four versions. The Stream, Lake, and River Versions for Local Leaders are used with elected and appointed officials, community leaders, business leaders, and citizens and a Classroom Version for use with middle to high school youth audiences. The Watershed Game is a curriculum and resource developed and published by the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program and University of Minnesota Extension.
This training will feature:
Objectives of the Train the Trainer Workshop:
Participants can register online at http://z.umn.edu/rockford.
Click here for a workshop flyer
For more information, please contact:
John Bilotta | 612-624-7708 | email@example.com
Bonnie Cox | 815-238-1725 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Make your reservations now for discounted room rates at the Historic De Soto House Hotel in downtown Galena!
LWV of Jo Daviess County is leading the way in forging partnerships with Rotary Clubs in the Upper Mississippi River watershed. Rationale: The problem of nutrient pollution is widespread and systemic in the Upper Mississippi River Watershed, a watershed that encompasses all but very small areas of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Each of these four states is engaged in efforts to reduce total nitrogen and phosphorus in this watershed by 45%.
To reach this goal, hundreds of our communities and thousands of our citizens will need to engage in “spreading the word, growing collaboration, and focusing on action” to get the job done. LWV Jo Daviess is working with the Galena Rotary Club to develop a suggested model for how these two already organized, active, and trustworthy civic organizations can team up to help reach this goal. Partnerships between local LWV’s and Rotary clubs will be formed to spread the word about nutrient pollution and what we all can do to reduce impacts.
One element of this work will be sponsorship of watershed education events through use of the Watershed Game with community groups such as city councils, resort core boards and other civic groups. UMRR ILO member Leagues are urged to send a representative to training so they can run the Watershed Games on their own. Thanks to LWV Jo Daviess, training will be offered in lovely Galena, Illinois, on October 24, which is the first anniversary of the ILO’s official launch. What a fitting way to celebrate!
The training is being held at the DeSoto House Hotel, Galena. September 23rd is the deadline for room reservations within the block reserved. The rate is $90/night available for the nights of the 23rd and 24th. Guests should call 815/777-0090 or 800/343-6562 to make their reservations and should reference the “Watershed Training” block of rooms to get the discounted rate. The cost of the training is only $25, to cover food costs. Please use this form to register for the training.
On August 1, the UMRR Board met at the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Visitor Center in Onalaska, Wisconsin (near La Crosse). We were joined by Megen Kabele from the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. This group works with farmers and other land owners to protect farmland from increasingly intense land uses through perpetual conservation easements that are negotiated with the land owners and then enforced by the Conservancy. The Mississippi Valley Conservancy (MVC), a regional, non-profit land trust, has permanently conserved 17,369 acres of blufflands, prairies, wetlands, and streams in and around the Mississippi, Kickapoo and Wisconsin Rivers since their founding in 1997. More than a million visitors to the area each year enjoy the scenic beauty of MVC nature preserves.
Megan told us that the MVC works with private landowners and local communities on voluntary conservation projects in nine counties along or near the Mississippi River: Buffalo, Trempealeau, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Vernon, Crawford, Richland and Grant Counties.
The Conservancy uses voluntary tools such as conservation easements, land acquisitions, and a landowner registry program to protect lands for their ecology, scenic beauty, outdoor recreation potential, and prime agricultural soils. MVC works hard to restore native natural communities by removing invasive species and conducting prescribed burns. Additionally, the Conservancy provides hand-on learning experiences in the outdoors for thousands of young people and works to foster a conservation ethic.
Megen is a native of Northeast Iowa, where she was raised on a small farm near the Wapsipinicon River. She studied Forest Management at Iowa State and later worked with the Forest Service on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest in Colorado. As a Lands Administrator for the Forest Service, Megen was involved with land use activities on National Forest, focusing on recreational and non-recreational activities that also included hard rock mining. Her background in realty actions include land exchange, purchase, donation, and due diligence.
Thanks to Carolyn Mahlum-Jenkins, after the meeting, we were given a tour of the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center research facility in La Crosse. This center is working cooperatively with the US Army Corps of Engineers on Upper Mississippi River restoration. Thanks to Randy Hines for giving us the tour!
The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is a wonderful facility and well worth a visit if you are in the area. There are hiking trails, restored prairies and sweeping vistas and lots of birds, especially in the spring and fall. Another great place to hike nearby is the McGilvray Seven Bridges Road through the Van Loon Scientific and Natural Area.
La Crosse is a city that is embracing its waterfront. Visitors can take paddle boat tours on the Mississippi and see visiting vessels as well as wonderful river environments. Sunset from Granddad’s Bluff is not to be missed when you are in town to enjoy the Upper Mississippi!
|LWV Upper Mississippi River Region||