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Watershed Protection

Legislative attempt to rollback buffer law passes first hearing

As anticipated, buffers are back in the news as House Republicans are teaming up with a minority of rural Senate DFLers to rollback the buffer law. A pair of bills, authored by representative Torkelson (R) and Senator Skoe (DFL) have been introduced. Senator Skoe's bill has already passed the Senate agriculture committee despite opposition from Senate DFLers on the committee.  

March 17

Perennial biofuels incentive program bills introduced

The legislature has introduced bills in both chambers to advance one of FMR's 2016 policy priorities: a perennial biofuels incentive program. Dubbed the "Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program," the bills ask for $479,000 in fiscal year 2017 for the state's Board of Water and Soil Resources to prepare a plan for creating a state-funded biofuels incentive program.

March 16

Biofuels incentive program: Growing the crops of the future

Coming soon to Minneosta: perennial landscapes that can be used to produce fuel, energy and green chemicals while protecting our water quality and boosting farm profits.

FMR, in concert with a diverse group of allies, worked to help advance legislation to create a powerful new incentive for farmers to plant perennial crops right here in Minnesota!

Making the most of the Governor's Water Summit

Governor Dayton opening the first ever MN Water Summit

Gov. Mark Dayton delivers the opening remarks of Minnesota's first-ever Governor's Water Summit.

When over 800 Minnesotans gather in a windowless basement on the first beautiful spring-like day, there must be a compelling reason. In this case the reason was water. Residents of the Land of 10,000 Lakes showed up in droves to show their care and concern at the Governor's Water Summit. Among them, of course, were staff from FMR and our fellow water protection colleagues, plus 30 volunteer FMR River Protectors. Together, we made sure our top priorities for clean waters were heard loud and clear. Next up: Turning these basement conversations into noticeable improvements for Minnesotans' waters, communities and wildlife.

March 1

You're invited! Governor's Water Summit Briefing

The Governor's Water Summit is just around the corner. If you're planning to attend, in-person or online, please let us know! (We'd like to invite you to a pre-summit briefing, complete with beer and snacks in downtown St. Paul.)

February 15

Surprise buffer law rollbacks a major disappointment

Water running off farm fields carries pollution into the nearest waterways.

Without a buffer strip of grass or other perennial vegetation, water runs straight off a farm field, carrying phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment into nearby streams, lakes and rivers.

Bowing to pressure from agribusiness groups and select lawmakers, Gov. Mark Dayton made statewide news with a surprise announcement in late-January: a major portion of the 2015 buffer bill is being rolled back. As a result, hundreds of miles of private ditches will be exempt from buffer requirements and will continue to carry polluted farm runoff into Minnesota's waters. 

February 8

The real costs of pumping up White Bear Lake

Declining water levels in White Bear Lake have been big news for the northeast metro area for some time.

Declining water levels in White Bear Lake have been big news for the northeast metro area for some time. (Photo Freshwater Society)

Recently the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released a much-anticipated report detailing cost estimates for pumping water from the Mississippi River to refill or "augment" shrinking White Bear Lake. The potential price tag?: $107 million, plus up to $4.1 million in annual operating costs. Given this, along with previous analyses casting doubt on such a system's potential effectiveness, FMR opposes any further state investment in such direct augmentation efforts.

February 4

Dayton's water quality summit a go. Help set the agenda!

Mid-January, Governor Dayton announced that his administration will host the Governor's Water Summit in St. Paul on Saturday, Feb. 27th. FMR and our conservation partners are working with the administration to help shape the summit and provide a much-needed focus on ideas that can help address agricultural water pollution, the largest source of pollution to the Mississippi River. Summit registration has closed, but you can still play a role and help set its agenda by taking the Governor's Clean Water Summit Survey.

January 17

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