Seeking Citizen Solutions to Water Quality Problems

The Le Sueur River Watershed contributes a significant amount of sediment and nutrients to the Minnesota River. Many projects and studies have been completed in the watershed and changes in land use have been promoted and adopted, yet the waters remain polluted. Citizens hold the key for finding and implementing solutions that work and a citizen-led process with support from watershed partners is a promising route to cleanup.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) provided funding to the Water Resources Center (WRC) at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU,M), CURE, Rural Advantage, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), and counties to summarize river research and better understand community perspectives and networks. Starting in December 2011, a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) gathered to discuss solutions for water quality problems. A series of meetings throughout the watershed to learn what citizens know about the watershed and to share the latest river research and restoration approaches.

In 2013, the WRC at MSU,M received funding from the McKnight Foundation to continue shaping the Le Sueur River Watershed Network (LRWN) and identify a group of citizens to lead an effort to improve and protect the health of the Le Sueur River watershed. Eight citizens have stepped forward to represent the watershed in a Steering Committee to shape future efforts and work with watershed residents to further the group’s mission and seven recommendations for watershed health.