Shell Rock River Watershed District Project Committee Created

Albert Lea, MN – A new collaborative process was established this week when representatives of the Shell Rock River Watershed District met with regional staff from the Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Board of Water and Soil Resources. The newly created Project Committee will meet on a regular basis and be made up of a core team from the agencies and the watershed district.

“This process is intended to strengthen partnerships with these key state agencies,” said Brett Behnke, Watershed District Administrator. “If we can work together, identify issues and concerns and then establish a process for resolving them, we will see results on the ground.”

District Director of Field Operations Andy Henschel said there were three ongoing projects requiring collaboration; the Pickerel Lake fish barrier and lake restoration project, the Goose Lake fish barrier project and the Headwaters management plan. “The district has state and local funding in place for these efforts, now we need to have management plans developed and implemented,” he said. “The DNR has a critical role to play in these efforts.”

The Project Committee will also be a forum to work on the Fountain Lake Restoration Project. Lake restoration projects are complex and multi-year projects. With the purchase of the dredge behind them, the next steps include engineering, permitting, land acquisition and securing additional outside funding to pay for the actual restoration project. “This is a complicated project,” Benhke said. “Requiring a myriad of permits means we must work with our state agency partners. We believe this new committee will help with this process.”

This is another piece of the effort to achieve the habitat and lake restoration goals of the district. “We will continue to look to the community and our partners for input and support,” Behnke said.

The Mission of the Shell Rock River Watershed District is to implement reasonable and necessary improvements to the water-related and other natural resources of the district.

© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007