Tag Archives: Beth Kallestad

The Clean Water Act turns 40

Clean Water ActWhen you turn on the tap for a glass of water does it come out full of suds or clear?  Have you seen the Cannon River or the Mississippi River burst into flames lately?  Without actually checking everyone’s taps I’d wager that the water you are drinking is free of suds and to the best of my knowledge our rivers haven’t been ablaze.  Why am I even asking these weird questions? 

Forty years ago these things did happen.  The levels of water pollution had gotten so bad in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s that something had to be done.  The Clean Water Act was a landmark piece of legislation that was passed by Congress, vetoed by President Nixon and then overridden by a landslide in Congress on October 18, 1972 and is now marking its 40th Anniversary. 

This rule set out standards for the waters of our nation with objectives and goals for the conditions they should be in.  It provides the guidelines for states with regard to regulating sewage and industrial waste and other pollutants that affect our waters.  Wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act through “dredge and fill” permits.  The Act has been revised a few times adding provisions for stormwater runoff, groundwater protection and dealing with toxic pollutants. 

In a 1958 memo, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources stated that the Cannon River near Faribault was uninhabitable for fish due to all the industrial pollution.  That same river now boasts some 42 species of fish.  We’ve come a long way!  We are treating our sewage, industrial discharges and doing a better job with urban stormwater runoff.  But we still have a ways to go. 

Our stormwater management is good but it could be better.  There is still pollution coming from our farm fields and other land areas – referred to as nonpoint source pollution.  The Clean Water Act has very little teeth when it comes to this type of pollution. 

But with or without regulation, we have the ability, technology, and know how to make some substantial improvements.  It’s going to take hard work, compromise and financial resources but I know we can do it.  I hope when I’m an octogenarian and we are celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act we’ll be able to say that our waters now truly meet the Clean Water Act’s goal of fishable and swimmable water. 

Want to help? Contact me at the Cannon River Watershed Partnership and we’ll find a way for you to pitch in.

Check out some interesting history and this short video by former Congressman Jim Oberstar on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website.

httpv://youtu.be/ZEQcUngxbLI

Reminder: CRWP’s 4th annual watershed-wide cleanup on Sept. 15th; 63,000 pounds of trash and counting

Join the Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP) at locations in Cannon Falls, Dundas, Faribault, Northfield, Medford,  Morristown, Owatonna, Waterville and Welch to clean up the shores and water.  The last three years we have pulled 63,000 pounds of trash from our rivers and lakes with YOUR help. 

NfldDumpster2We need you to continue our work for healthier water and healthier communities. Walking and canoe access sites will be available. Groups from across the watershed are participating in this annual cleanup.  Make a difference in your community and have fun! 

Details on our clean-up page or by contacting Leslie Kennedy at 507-786-3915 or leslie@crwp.net

httpv://youtu.be/h7F6P4npaxc

63,000 pounds of trash and counting: CRWP’s 4th annual watershed-wide cleanup on Sept. 15th

Join the Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP) at locations in Cannon Falls, Dundas, Faribault, Northfield, Medford,  Morristown, Owatonna, Waterville and Welch to clean up the shores and water.  The last three years we have pulled 63,000 pounds of trash from our rivers and lakes with YOUR help. 

NfldDumpster2We need you to continue our work for healthier water and healthier communities. Walking and canoe access sites will be available. Groups from across the watershed are participating in this annual cleanup.  Make a difference in your community and have fun! 

Details on our clean-up page or by contacting Leslie Kennedy at 507-786-3915 or leslie@crwp.net

httpv://youtu.be/h7F6P4npaxc

CRWP has two events this week on creating a beautiful garden to keep water clean

Way Park, NorthfieldThe Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP), the Friends of Way Park and the City of Northfield are teaming up for two events to help people learn about and install rain gardens.  Rain gardens filter runoff, create habitat, and are beautiful. 

May 17th – 7:00 – 8:00 PM  – Blue Thumb class to learn about rain gardens

Location: St. John’s Lutheran Church, 500 West 3rd St. Northfield

The class will cover: Rain garden basics; Design and installation for your property; Maintenance.

Bring a rough sketch of your property layout and downspouts for more site specific advice. Northfield residents may qualify for a $250 grant to install their own rain garden. Attendance is free but registration is requested. 

Please contact Leslie at 507-786-3915 or leslie@crwp.net

These are photos of students from Park Elementary School in Cross Plains, WI planting a Rain Garden adjacent to their school. This activity was an outgrowth of the Restore Institute which was held at the UW Arboretum last year. The photos were taken on June 5, 2007.May 19th – 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM – Way Park Community Planting Day

Location:  Way Park, 720 West 1st St., Northfield

Join us for a community planting day for the new rain gardens in Way Park.  Come for 15 minutes or stay the whole day!

No gardening experience necessary.  Bring gloves and a shovel if you have them.  Please wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear. Snacks and refreshments provided.

Questions? Contact Leslie at 507-786-3915 or leslie@crwp.net.

Explore the wonders of the prairie and wetland complex of the St. Olaf Natural Lands

prgrass006The Cannon River Watershed Partnership invites the public to explore the wonders of the prairie and wetland complex of the St. Olaf Natural Lands with us on May 12th.

When:  1:00-2:30 PM on May 12th

Where:  Meet the student naturalist outside the front door of Tostrud Athletic Center at St. Olaf College.

The walk will take you through the St. Olaf Natural Lands to view wetlands, woodlands, and prairie habitats. The naturalist will talk about wetland and prairie restoration as it relates to water quality.

Information: See the CRWP Upcoming Events Calendar.

Cannon River Watershed Partnership Earth Day 5K Fun Run/Walk on April 21

Cannon River Watershed Partnership Earth Day 5K Fun Run/Walk on April 21Join us for a Fun Run/Walk to celebrate spring and support clean water!  The trail runs along the edge of Cannon Lake just outside of Faribault.

Start:  8:00 AM (registration), 9:00 AM (Run/Walk)

Registration:  $12.00 by April 15, 2012, $15.00 after April 15, 2012

Location:  Sakatah Singing Hills Trail at Shager Park, Faribault, MN

Cannon River Watershed Partnership Earth Day 5K Fun Run/Walk on April 21The park is located on the west side of Hwy 60 approximately 2 miles west of the Faribault city limits.  Hwy 60 can be accessed from Interstate 35 in Faribault.

Proceeds:  All proceeds to benefit the Cannon River Watershed Partnership

T-shirts:  Will be available to the first 100 registrants

Times:  A time clock will display times at finish, but no official times will be kept.  Awards will be given to the top male and female finisher.

Refreshments:  Refreshments will be provided to all participants at the end.

Information:  Contact Beth Kallestad at (507) 786-3913 or beth@crwp.net

Registration form (PDF)

CRWP Annual Membership Meeting, Monday, March 19

CRWP
The Board of Directors of the Cannon River Watershed Partnership cordially invites our members and the public to attend our Annual Membership Meeting, Monday March 19, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 500 3rd St. West.

There will be social time and refreshments, a brief membership meeting and a keynote presentation by Commissioner Paul Aasen from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.  RSVP to leslie@crwp.net or call (507) 786-3915.  More info on the CRWP events page.

Final night of CRWP’s alternative agriculture speaker series is Feb. 27

The Cannon River Watershed Partnership invites the public to join us for the final night of our Alternative Agriculture Speaker Series on Monday, February 27th, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Regents Hall, Room 150. 

PerennialLandBookOur speaker will be Paula Westmoreland, President of Ecological Garden.  She will discuss her book This Perennial Land: third crops, blue earth, and the road to restorative agriculture

She’ll present the "opportunity maps" that were created to show some ideas of how marginal lands can be used differently and how to add value to the two crop rotation system with "third crops".  Learn more at This Perennial Land.

Watershed wide, citizen-led, water quality conversation scheduled for Feb 2 in Owatonna

CRWPThe public is invited to attend a watershed wide, citizen–led conversation on water quality issues facing the Straight, Cannon, Le Sueur  and Mississippi Rivers to be held on Thursday February 2nd at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 2365 43rd St NW, Owatonna, MN from 5 to 8:30 p.m.  The event is free, but advanced registration is required.

The conversation is being sponsored by a wide range of grassroots citizen groups, farm groups, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and InCommons.  The purpose of the meeting is to explore how citizens, businesses and government can share leadership by collaborating to restore water quality in the four river systems.

The meeting will feature a meal and round table discussions facilitated by InCommons  – a community-based initiative that connects Minnesotans to share tools, knowledge and resources to address complicated problems. 

The Owatonna dialogue will be patterned after a similar round table discussion held in Mankato on  December 6, 2011,  More than 130 people attended the discussion that featured farmers, environmental advocates, government agency workers and recreational users of the river all sitting at the same table to discuss the issues and seek common ground.

The public is invited and welcome to attend.  Farmers and landowners are especially encouraged to participate.  To register for the meal and dialogue or for more information, call 1-877-269-2873 by January 25, 2012.  Seating is available for 80 people on a first come, first served basis.  Organizers are expecting a full house, so don’t delay.