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News about the RRWMB and its associated stakeholders and projects

18th Joint Annual Conference Sets Attendance Record

Crowd at Conference

The 18th Joint Annual Conference of the Red River Watershed Management Board (RRWMB) and Red River Basin Flood Damage Reduction Work Group (RRBFDRWG), held in March at the Courtyard by Marriott in Moorhead, was a huge success. A record was set for attendance. Over 120 registered attendees, including Board and Work Group members, enjoyed interacting at the various presentations, as well as at meal time and in the hallways between events.
The annual conference is a venue for those involved with flood mitigation to foster partnerships, and brings together representatives from local watersheds, state and federal agencies, and soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) to discuss flood damage reduction efforts.

Congressmen Peterson

The RRWMB and RRFDRWG extend their thanks to Minnesota Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, who attended the conference to update attendees on his continuing work on watershed and flood damage reduction projects. Peterson also introduced Minnesota’s new Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist, Cathee Pullman. Pullman has worked across the country partnering with private land owners helping them to protect their natural resources in Oklahoma, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, the National Headquarters Office, and now Minnesota.

The two-day conference began with a day of workshops, including a drainage seminar, an overview of the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) and 404 Permitting, Watershed District Manager and SWCD Supervisor orientation, new conservation delivery opportunities for watershed work, and increasing project team efficiency and effectiveness. The first day concluded with an evening social as well as a poster session for watershed districts, counties and agencies.

The second day of the conference was full of updates on ongoing activities and accomplishments related to the Red River Mediation Process, including a discussion of current water quality conditions in the Red River Basin, the effects of watershed projects, and the actions needed to meet basin-wide goals; Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data and tools for use in watershed planning, targeted implementation and runoff-based drainage assessment; NRCS PL-566 planning and engagement in the Red River Basin; grant opportunities for project development; best practices for public outreach; a Minnesota Buffer Law update; and updates from each watershed district project team and the Flood Damage Reduction Work Group, including discussion of the objectives for the year ahead.

Joel Heitkamp, host of News & Views on KFGO 790 AM radio, attended the conference to conduct live interviews  with John Finney, RRWMB Chair; Dan Wilkens, RRWMB Treasurer; Jerome Deal, RRWMB Secretary; Dan Money, RRWMB Manager; Greg Nelson, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Northwest Region Director; Jim Ziegler, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Northwest Region Manager; Pete Waller, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Board Conservationist; and Henry Van Offelen, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Red River Basin Coordinator.

Planning is already underway for next year’s conference, which will continue the conference tradition of providing more educational seminars and workshops about projects and initiatives, and sharing information about legislative efforts. We hope to see you at the 2017 conference! We will share information about next year’s conference in our newsletter and online at www.rrwmb.org as the details become available.

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Contact the RRWMB

Address: P.O. Box 763 | Detroit Lakes, MN 56502
Telephone: (218) 844-6166
FAX: (218) 844-6167
E-mail: rrwmb@arvig.net