For decades, watershed districts throughout Minnesota created plans specific to their area to protect those waters and design plans for dealing with water runoff, typically associated with a river that flows through their county.
That was until the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) came up with an initiative called “One Watershed, One Plan” – an attempt to bring all of the separate watershed districts in the state into uniformity with the same basic framework.
In the month of May, Wright County has seen two very different versions of “One Watershed, One Plan.” The North Fork Crow River Watershed District, which was completed in 2018, had a memorandum of cooperative agreement reached so it can tap into the $1.2 million in available funding for the current Legislative biennium.
The other news was the announcement of the creation of the South Fork Crow River Watershed District. Alicia O’Hare of the Wright County Soil & Water Conservation District came before the county board looking for a resolution of support for the South Fork Crow River Watershed District.
“We’re moving forward to the application process to start planning and creating the One Watershed One Plan,” O’Hare said. “The resolution basically just gives our support to that application that is being done by the McLeod County Soil & Water and the Buffalo Creek Watershed District.”
The South Fork doesn’t have much of Wright County in it, but Commissioner Charlie Borrell said it is important for the county to be involved in the process, which is being overseen by McLeod County. Borrell said that McLeod officials had very little of the North Crow Watershed in its county, but were very engaged and active in the process.
“Wright County is in the North Fork of the Crow River Watershed District, which has been finalized,” Borrell said. “Because of the layout of our county, we will have some water that will go to the Mississippi River Watershed and we have some that goes in the Crow. I think it’s good that we be involved and be part of it. McLeod County has just a little bit in Wright County was very active in the North Fork and they were really good partners with us. I think we should reciprocate and be involved.”
Borrell will be retiring when he term ends Dec. 31. He said the process, which can take years to fully complete, will be a good learning opportunity for the next commissioner from his district, who will almost certainly be part of the process because the Crow River runs through the entire district.
“I’ll be there for a little bit yet, but it’s going to bring some experience for the next commissioner from my district to work on the South Fork’s One Watershed One Plan,” Borrell said. “I’m very supportive of it. Even when I’m not here next year, we’re going to have the leadership of our Soil & Water there which will be helpful. They worked really hard on this thing.”