In an age of online and digital banking and financial services, it might be hard to find someone who balances their checkbook. We all need to know our balance, but importantly, a balanced checkbook is the starting point for knowing how to live within our means, make progress toward goals, and keep finances stable.
In the same way, knowing the condition of Minnesota’s 80 watersheds begins with a thorough strategic watershed assessment – like balancing your checkbook – referred to as Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS). The MN Pollution Control Agency collaborates with local watershed districts, soil and water conservation districts, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and others to determine the balance of nutrients, contaminants and other physical, chemical and biological stressors for our streams and lakes. It takes 2-3 years to complete a WRAPS in each watershed. With the solid assessment, making plans for water quality protection or restoration is quantifiable.
WRAPS are funded by the Clean Water Fund, part of the state’s constitutionally dedicated sales tax legacy funds. Launched in 2008, the MPCA is now 79-percent finished with the job. Armed with the scientific details (like knowing your checkbook balance), communities and local leaders can take measurable action toward their clean water goals. This watershed approach makes it possible to revisit watersheds once every ten years to monitor progress. It’s one of the reasons that Freshwater is so engaged in helping local watershed organizers develop their action plans. It’s also why we work to protect the way that Clean Water Funds are used by the Legislature.
Knowing the balance in each watershed is the right way to reach our vision of clean and safe water for all. Freshwater will continue advocating for uses of the Clean Water Fund to reach those community-driven clean water goals.
– John Linc Stine, Executive Director