Keeping our clean water clean protects our communitiies, wildlife and future generations

 

Supporters of Our Mississippi Our Future are holding a community forum on Thursday, Jan. 23 at the Cohasset Community Center from 5 - 7:30 p.m. This event is free, open to the public and a light meal will be served. Registration is requested. Registration links can be found at ourmississippiourfuture.org/events or on the Our Mississippi Our Future Facebook page.

Forums such as this, highlighting the importance of keeping clean water clean, including the Mississippi River headwaters area, have been held in Brainerd and Rochester and are scheduled for Duluth, Little Falls, Minneapolis and St. Cloud.

“Protecting the Mississippi River and preserving it for future generations requires us to take bold action now,” said Davin Tinquist, Itasca County Commissioner. “We hope you’ll help us make protecting our water one of Minnesota’s top priorities.”

State lawmakers, local officials and community leaders are invited to join citizens in conversations about the value of clean water and how we can take action to protect our rivers, lakes and streams. Area residents who want to ensure waters remain clean and healthy are encouraged to attend.

Our Mississippi Our Future is a grassroots conversation campaign that seeks to unite Minnesotans to support the protection and restoration of the Mississippi and the state’s most significant waters. Visit online at ourmississippiourfuture.org for more information.

The Mississippi and its headwaters area, which encompasses almost 13 million acres in central Minnesota, provides clean drinking water for 2.5 million Minnesotans—more than 44 percent of the state's residents. There are 119 miles of Mississippi River in Itasca County.

The river and the land surrounding the rivers and streams that flow into it support more than 350 species of mammals, birds, and other wildlife, including most of the endangered, threatened and rare species listed in Minnesota.

The state’s renowned lakes and rivers support a $15-billion-dollar annual tourism and

recreational economy, including fishing, hunting, birding, wilderness recreation and other nature-based activities. The Mississippi also serves as an economic engine by helping move agricultural and industrial goods.

Today, however, economic forces are driving changes in land use that threaten water quality and quality of life. As a result, we’re losing natural areas that we need for clean water. Since 2010, more than 500,000 acres in the river’s headwaters area alone were converted to urban development and agriculture, with the largest proportion occurring in critical water supply source areas.

"We are blessed with some truly amazing water resources in Minnesota - but with those blessings come a responsibility," shares Itasca County realtor and garlic farmer Jesse Davis. "Our actions along the Mississippi River watershed have consequences, and it is far more economically sustainable to protect our river now for clean drinking water, property values, wildlife and recreation than to remediate pollution and shoreland degradation in the future."

Financial supporters for this event are: Itasca Waters, Earth Circle, Wes Libbey Northern Lakes Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, and The Nature Conservancy.

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