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Paynesville Press - May 25, 2005

Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District approved

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources approved the establishment of the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District at its April meeting.

The action concluded a process that began when a petition, signed by more than 350 citizens, was filed in November 2004 to establish the watershed district. As part of the process, a public hearing was held January 20005 with more than 100 items submitted to the record.

The petition stated that the establishment of the watershed district is necessary because of the degradation of water quality since the 1950s and to address the issues of erosion, sedimentation, and best management practices.

The watershed district will cover about 271 miles of land in Kandiyohi, Meeker, Pope, and Stearns counties, including the cities of Atwater, Belgrade, New London, and Spicer. It includes all of New London Township, Green Lake Township, and Harrison Township in Kandiyohi County and portions of Crow Lake Towship, Crow River Township, Norway Lake Township, Colfax Township, Burbank Township, Roseville Township, Lake Andrew Township, Irving Township, Union Grove Township, Manannah Township, Swede Grove Township, Harvey Township, Kandiyohi Township, Gennessee Township, and Acton Township.

In the Paynesville area, the new watershed district includes the southwestern corner of Roseville Township, including Long Lake, most of Irving Township (with the exception of the small corner in the North Fork Crow River Watershed District), and the southern half of Union Grove Township.

The new watershed district borders the North Fork Crow River Watershed District that includes Paynesville, Rice Lake, and Lake Koronis.

The Board of Water and Soil Resources was required to choose the board of managers for the first year of operation of the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District from a list submitted with the citizen petition. After the first year, the various county boards of commissioners will make manager appointments.

Selected to serve as the first board of managers are Gordon Behm, a farmer in rural Atwater; Joe Flanders, a farmer in rural Grove City; Robert Hodapp, a physician who lives on Green Lake; Ruth Schaefer, an audiologist who lives on Lake Calhoun; and Robert Zenner, a farmer in rural Belgrade.

Watershed districts are local units of government that work to solve and prevent water-related problems. The boundaries of the districts follow those of a natural watershed, and the districts are usually named after that watershed. They have taxing authority.

With the addition of the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, Minnesota now has 47 total watershed districts.

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