Water forums target West Metro policy-makers

Life is not easy for city council members, planning commissions and citizen advisory committees in local communities.  They must consider all of their community’s needs and competing priorities — financial, social, environmental — when making decisions on development and infrastructure.   One of the more complex issues is protecting and improving water quality.

In a recent telephone survey, 75 percent of West Metro residents said  clean water was very important to their community and way of life, even considering all the other issues and needs facing their communities.

“Policy decisions on development and redevelopment projects have a huge impact on our local water and having state of the art information is critical,” said Pauline Langsdorf, Bassett Creek Watershed District commissioner.  “That is why the West Metro Watershed Alliance has designed a series of workshops to share information and management tools so informed decisions can be made that will protect and improve water quality, sustain property values and make the most effective use of tax dollars.”

The 2011 workshop series, titled Path to Clean Water, includes forums on managing water volume, nutrients and understanding TMDLs and watershed planning.  Designed for local policy-makers, each forum will include a keynote speaker, presentations on techniques and planning for stormwater management and a panel presentation and discussion on successful projects, research and regulation.

A forum on volume management is scheduled May 31. Forums on nutrient management will be held on May 18 and May 25, and a forum on watershed planning and Total Maximum Daily Load plans will be held Sept. 21.

Representatives of the Bassett Creek, Elm Creek Pioneer-Sarah Creek, Shingle Creek and West Mississippi watersheds formed the West Metro Watershed Alliance.  Hennepin County Environmental Services, the Three Rivers Park District and the Freshwater Society are working with the alliance on the forums.

For information or to register for the Path to Clean Water Series go to:  http://www.hennepin.us/waterforums or http://freshwater.org/WMWA/