Recently, community members from Big Stone, Swift, Stevens, Grant, Douglas, and Otter Tail County have been coming together to talk about one thing we all have in common; the Pomme de Terre River. Whether you’re a lakeshore owner, an agricultural producer, an angler, or a city resident, the Pomme de Terre River and its watershed provides a long list of necessities to our community. Swimming, drainage, irrigation, community aesthetics, hygiene, industrial use, fish and wildlife, the list goes on.
On Oct. 23rd and 26th we hosted two Water Conversation events and has been promoting an online survey to gain local information about what people think about when they interact with our local waters.
To dive further into the “weeds” of these Water Conversations, The Pomme de Terre River Association has also formed a Citizens Advisory Committee of 24 community members representing various groups of community members such as landowners, lakeshore owners, ag producers, cities, etc.
One question we asked community members was “What activities or behaviors are impacting, or have the potential to impact our water resources?”. Impacts could be positive or negative.
Between the public events, Citizens Advisory meetings, and surveys, roughly 80 responses have been tallied. Popular comments included:
Agricultural Practices – tilling, timing of fertilizer application, cover crops, drainage, water and sediment basins, and grassed waterways.
Development – impervious surfaces, wastewater, old septic systems, lawn irrigation, road salt, rain gardens, and shoreline development.
Other responses included aquatic invasive species, higher precipitation and flows, public awareness, aquifer recharge and depletion, and erosion.
Why are we gaining this information? We are currently undergoing the development of a 10-year plan to protect and improve local water resources. The first step in this process is to identify local concerns and issues. Once community issues are prioritized, we will begin to establish local water quality goals and will be holding another public event in late January 2018.
How can you get involved!? Our local plan is as strong as our local input. You can provide input by going to our web-page, www.pdtriver.org and taking our Participation and Public Awareness Survey!( https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1M-Kb-6oyQLq5FmLUL3DWotK61Xy-MKjIG0W6b_1Drmk/edit)