In early May, Conservation Minnesota hosted a water forum in Dakota County bringing together key stakeholders to talk about strategic projects to protect the county’s waters. Representatives from local organizations were joined by city, county, watershed, and soil and water conservation district staff to share information on what is being done to ensure Dakota County has clean water. Conservation Minnesota’s Policy Director Nels Paulsen also gave an update on the status of water-related bills at the state capitol.
Attendees were surprised to learn that the City of Eagan has a 27-year strong Water Resources Program to protect and improve lakes and wetlands in the area. The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District shared information on their grassroots conservation efforts working with local landowners and being “partners in land and water conservation.” The group learned about the efforts of the Vermillion River Watershed, the largest watershed in the Twin Cities Metro Area. As one participant described, “It was wonderful to learn that all of these groups work together through partnerships to ensure fishable and swimmable waters in Dakota County.”
This was the first-time Conservation Minnesota had hosted a countywide event and it was made possible thanks to the connections Community Coordinator Avery Hildebrand has been making. The event was well attended by over 50 people, including elected officials and concerned citizens. From the feedback we received, it was clear that the event was seen as a success by participants, and will likely be repeated as a biennial event.