With a 4-0 vote, the Minnesota Wilkin County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to extend the Wilkin County Comprehensive Local Water Management Plan.

Wilkin County’s Local Water Management Plan serves to identify existing and potential problems of water and land resources in the county, develop and implement action plans to promote sound management of water and land resources and work toward effective environmental protection and management of water and land resources in the county.

Wilkin County had approved the management plan to cover the period from Jan. 1, 2014- Dec. 31, 2020, for watershed projects of Bois de Sioux, Mustinka and Buffalo-Red rivers to be complete. However, there is a need for more time to develop new action plans relating to the improvement of watersheds.

“It’s important for us to ask the state to extend our current water plan to the end of 2021. That provides us with the ability to develop an action plan which is important so that we can apply for grants to do the work,” Wilkin County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Manager Don Bajumpaa said.

For this reason, the board approved the resolution to request from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources an extension until Dec. 31, 2021.

Bajumpaa updated the board that the Buffalo-Red River Watershed (BRRW) “One Watershed, One Plan,” will be replacing the existing the county’s Local Water Management Plan.

The new BRRW plan has Wilkin, Otter Tail, Clay and Becker counties working cooperatively to pull resources together in order to complete the watershed, Bajumpaa explained.

Priorities the SWCDs are working to address are sediment, altered hydrology, increased flooding, unstable streams and channels, and soil health. Second level priorities are wetland health, protection of groundwater, dissolved oxygen, increased bacteria, unstable ditch banks and unstable lake shores.

Actions being pursued to make progress are through education and outreach, data collection and analysis, regulation and enforcement, capital improvements and projects implementing conservation and management practices.

“What’s next is the policy committee is going to approve the draft, then there will be 60-day public notice, then a public hearing. After the public hearing is completed then it will get presented to the state board and if they approve then the formal board will approve for local adoption,” Bajumpaa said. “This plan will replace our local county water plan.”

The commissioners’ next meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18 at the Wilkin County Courthouse in Breckenridge.

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