By Chris Schultz Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn. February 7, 2000
Public forums on Crow River monitoring set
From the Crow River Joint Powers Board
The Crow River Organization of Water (CROW) is a joint powers organization aimed at improving water quality and quantity issues in the Crow River watershed while also promoting a healthy agricultural, industrial, and recreation-based economy for the region.
In early 1998, a group of citizens met with local, state and federal governments to discuss their growing concern over the state of the Crow River.
This meeting was primarily focused on the lower branch of the Crow River. However, it was soon recognized that the entire watershed needed to be looked at in order for accurate information to be obtained.
Additional meetings were held to include citizens and governments from the north and south forks of the river. It was the involvement of this group of people that eventually led to the formation of the CROW.
In 1999, a joint powers agreement was signed by nine of the 10 counties in the watershed to form the CROW. The CROW Joint Powers Board is made up of one representative from each of the county boards who signed the agreement.
In early 1999, the CROW applied for, and received a challenge grant from the Board of Soil and Water Resources to fund a watershed coordinator position. The project also received a significant 319 grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for a Crow River Watershed Water Quality Enhancement project.
This grant will help to fund erosion control practices and priority agricultural waste systems in the watershed.
In October 1999, the joint powers board hired a watershed coordinator. Jennifer Lee started with the CROW in November. Her office is located in Litchfield, at the Natural Resources Conservation Service office.
In November 2000, we plan to submit an application to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for a Clean Water Partnership Phase I grant. As part of this application, we will be developing a monitoring plan for the Crow River.
We will be holding several open houses across the watershed in early spring. The open houses will provide a forum for citizens to provide input on the proposed monitoring plan, and to discuss potential pollution problems in the watershed. We will also use the open houses to publicize the CROW project in general, and to invite citizens to sign up as volunteer stream monitors for a Crow River Citizen Monitoring Network.
All meetings are free and open to the public.
The meeting for the greater Wright County area will be Tuesday, Feb. 29 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Howard Lake Community Room, located at 615 Sixth Ave., above the public library.
A second meeting is planned for eastern Wright County in the early spring.
Throughout the year, the CROW will be working with the counties involved in the approved 319 grant to implement land use projects. We have also submitted proposals to the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources to obtain funding for Best Management Practices, Agricultural Waste Systems, and Septic System Upgrades in the Crow River Watershed.
Any questions, call Lee at 320-693-7287, extension 3.
- This week's column includes information from the Crow River Joint Powers Board. The press release outlines the history of the board, what it intends to do, funding sources and puts in a call for volunteers and public input. If you want to get involved, call watershed coordinator, Jennifer Lee at 320-693-7287, ext. 3, or attend one of the public meetings. Refer to this column for upcoming meeting dates and locations in your area and for more information on the Crow River Organization of Waters, CROW.
- The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will meet tonight, Feb. 7, 7 p.m. at the club house. Members are currently planning the upcoming father/son banquet to be held in March.
- Joe's Sports Shop in Howard Lake and other license vendors in the area are now or will be soon selling hunting, fishing, and other licenses electronically.
- Remember to buy your new 2,000 fishing license before March 1, 2000. Your 1999 license expires Feb. 29.
- Reports from area anglers and bait shops have lakes Collinwood, Winsted, Ann, and Howard providing excellent action on good-sized northern pike.
- If your looking for bait and tackle in the Lester Prairie/Winsted area remember that Lil' Angies Bait and Tackle is open for business at the Treasure Hunt on the corner of McLeod County 9 and State Highway 7.
- The Howard Lake Sportsmen's Club will host their 54th annual Fishing Derby on Howard Lake Sat., Feb., 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. The grand prize in this year's raffle is a deluxe King Crow fish house on wheels. Proceeds will be used to stock walleyes in Howard Lake.
- Last week, I had the chance to spend a little time ice fishing on the north side of Mille Lacs. Four of us, fishing through one night and a morning, nabbed one nice eelpout and 31 fair-sized perch.
- Don't let winter get you down, get out there and enjoy it. Try cross country skiing at a state, regional, or county park for something new. Many of these parks provide ski rental and basic instruction.