Lawmakers continue to look at ways to reduce nutrients in Minnesota’s waters, but a new bill in the House would aim to invest 750-thousand dollars in a stakeholder group that would propose ways to clean up the Minnesota River basin.

With challenges of Wastewater Treatment Facilities, House Representative Clark Johnson (D-North Mankato) says he was asked by the City of Mankato to carry the bill.

“They’re saying that even if we do all this and all these small towns that are really challenged with that, there’s still problems in the Minnesota River. I agree with that, that there’s other factors involved. Some of it’s just natural. But certainly some of it is also agriculture.” 

The group reviewing local water management plans will be tasked with addressing obstacles to trading in the Minnesota River basin and finding opportunities to enhance trading that will best impact the quality of water.

“I think most people in our area know that everyone’s gotta be involved in this process and we’ve gotta have good waste water treatment. But we also need to find ways to help agriculture do more to hold back water in times of high flow and that sort of thing.”

Seventeen stakeholders make up the proposed group that will have until September 15 to submit a workplan and budget to the Legislative Water Commission for review.

The Water Resource Center at Minnesota State University-Mankato will hold the conversations and Johnson says they wanted to draw-in people who have experience with the issue.

“These could be pretty important conversations for where the Minnesota River goes in the next 15 to 20 years, lets say. I think there’s some opportunity here. We might find out that it can’t be done. There’s just too many obstetrical and there’s a lot of things to figure out. But boy, I think it’s worth having that conversation.”

The target date for the final report is December 15, 2019.