The Zumbro Watershed Partnership (ZWP) is a citizen-driven, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote land practices that protect and slow the flow of water into the Zumbro River and its tributaries. To personally connect citizens with their river resource, ZWP proposed plans for public sites where citizens can learn to play an active role in reducing flooding and pollution.
The Zumbro River Watershed in southeastern Minnesota is an underutilized and overlooked recreational asset. It is a unique, diverse, and beautiful landscape of great environmental sensitivity. The Zumbro Watershed is 98% privately owned, which imposes limits on the accessibility to the river. This has isolated the river from the residents and potential recreational users. A culture of water stewardship is needed where people have a connection with their river resource, appreciate it, and are willing to implement effective water protection practices that will help reduce and prevent future pollution and flooding across the Watershed.
The Project Goal is to promote river-related recreational experiences and water quality practices through public sites throughout the Watershed so that the public can relate their personal recreational experiences with the river resource and be motivated to protect it by adoption and/or promotion of water quality Best Management Practices. Six to eight accessible, visible public recreational sites will be developed with water quality demonstration elements that promote fishing, boating, picnicking, and other activities.
A companion project is ZWP’s “cost of fast water study.” An initial analysis has been compiled to estimate the public financial costs (erosion, sedimentation, flooding, infrastructure, and road damage) of Olmsted County’s current water system to get an idea of what current water management policies are costing taxpayers. ZWP will use these data to develop a case for a more sustainable approach to water management.
- University of Minnesota Center for Changing Landscapes
- Zumbro Watershed Partnership
- University of Minnesota Extension
- Conservation Corps MN & Iowa
- Minnesota DNR
- Watershed Soil & Water Conservation District Staff
ActivitiesA site selection matrix was developed by the partners using environmental impact, educational and recreational opportunities, community support, and ease of implementation criteria. Zumbro Watershed Partnership solicited site suggestions from its committees and the public. Ten were evaluated and three were chosen for preliminary designs by the Center for Changing Landscapes. A proposal (see attached) was submitted to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources to fully design and construct eight sites. In July 2014, LCCMR recommended $300,000 in funding for the project to the 2015 MN Legislature.