Agencies Collaborate with Goals of Clean Water

Public and private entities have joined forces to advance the progress of clean water in Albert Lea.

Dan DeBoer, chairman of the Shell Rock River Watershed District board of managers, initiated Clean Waters Group in an effort to enable and empower participating watershed agencies.

“We want a system where everybody works together on clean water,” DeBoer said.

DeBoer and Watershed District business consultant Mariah Lynne hope the initiative will bolster the progress of all the participating agencies by developing trust, communication and accountability.

“This was really a coalition … to show how much collaboration and cooperation we do have here in our area on the topic of clean water and improving our natural resources,” Lynne said to the board Tuesday.

Clean Waters Group has met once a month since January of this year to encourage communication and collaboration between organizations with stakes in clean water efforts. After a successful first meeting, the group decided it could be beneficial to continue to meet.

“(The different entities) are equipped with information that they can use in working with their departments, agencies, partners and constituents. We discuss and answer any project questions and make sure we are all in understanding regarding the work being done with our local waters,” Lynne said in an email.

Clean Waters Group is made up of representatives from City Council, the city manager’s office, Freeborn County, the Shell Rock River Watershed District, Albert Lea Lakes Foundation and Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr.

DeBoer called for continued community collaboration within Tuesday’s regular monthly board meeting. He outlined the importance of the community “coming together” while seeking grant funding.

“One of the criteria that they look at, for our community, is how well we work together with the community,” DeBoer said. “It is so important that our team works alongside with the city, the county commissioners, the Lakes Foundation, that we are all together working in the same way moving forward.”

The group meets the last Thursday of every month.

“And really what it is is to sit down and talk about what is happening in the Shell Rock River Watershed District, what is on tap and really to have some more open communication of how we can work together with the city, the county and the Shell Rock River Watershed District in tackling the water quality problems in our area,” Lynne said to the board.

DeBoer said he thinks the meetings have gone well and hopes it will help them see how they can work together.

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