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Watershed Protection

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

High-profile decline of water levels in White Bear Lake has been big new for the northeast metro area in recent years

Declining water levels in White Bear Lake have been big news for the northeast metro area for some time.
Source: Minnesota Public Radio

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

World's largest cellulosic ethanol plant opens in Iowa

DuPont's 30-million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa

DuPont's 30-million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. Source: http://www.biofuelsdigest.com

DuPont recently announced the opening of the world's largest cellulosic biofuel facility in Nevada, Iowa. The plant, which uses corn stover (the stems, stalks, leaves and husks of the corn plant) to produce ethanol, aims to produce approximately 30 million gallons of fuel per year. And it might not be good news.

November 10

FMR to file amicus brief in favor of pollution lawsuit

The "Big Five" Wastewater Treatment Plants included in proposed pollution permit

The "Big Five" Wastewater Treatment Plants in the metro area are included in a single "umbrella" pollution permit currently being challenged in court for failing to properly protect the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin.

FMR, along with our friends at Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) and the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, will soon file an amicus brief in support of a recent lawsuit charging the state with failing to adequately control pollution to the Mississippi River. The lawsuit, filed by the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), faults the state for doing too little to protect the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin, and calls into question the state's plan to allow the "big five" metro-area wastewater treatment plants to increase their phosphorus pollution into the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin by 35%.

November 10

How will Minnesota implement the new buffer law?

Buffers of perennial vegetation help protect Minnesota's land, water, and wildlife

One of FMR's top priorities during this year's legislative session was passage of Governor Dayton's much-discussed Buffer Initiative. While a substantially revised (and watered-down) version of Governor Dayton's proposal did become law, implementation of the law will be critical to its success.

October 12

Clean water rules! We hope the courts agree.

The U.S. EPA’s Clean Water Rule, an update to the Clean Water Act of 1972, went into effect on August 28, 2015. Before the rule was finalized, North Dakota led 13 states in challenging the legality of the rule, exempting them from the rule until the courts make a decision. Now others are questioning whether enforcement of the rule in all states should halt while the courts decide its legality.

September 11

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