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Tuesday meeting on water plan could shape future response to issues

Zebra mussels, which are infesting some Minnesota lakes, latch on to hard surfaces like twigs, rocks and boats. Chris Franz/Forum Communications Co.

WILLMAR -- A new 10-year comprehensive water plan is being drafted for Kandiyohi County that will determine how grant dollars are directed to specific water-related projects, including combating aquatic invasive species.

The plan affects about $100,000 in annual grants coming to Kandiyohi County for water resource projects, said Jeff Bredberg, Kandiyohi County Environmental Services Director.

An open house will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Kandiyohi County Public Works building, 1801 U.S. Highway 12 E. in Willmar, to review the county's plan and take public input.

A brief presentation will be given at 7 p.m., with discussion to follow. A water plan survey will also be available.

The purpose of the meeting is to encourage the public to help identify priority issues to be addressed in the plan, which establishes the county's goals and objectives that are used when responding to financial requests for projects.

"Ideally, the county would like to have the issues identified in the water plan," said Matt Johnson, community development director for the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission, the regional development commission that serves Kandiyohi, McLeod Meeker and Renville counties. Regional development commissions -- nine of them active in greater Minnesota -- provide technical assistance to local units of government in their jurisdiction, among other services.

Without a comprehensive water plan, many watershed groups and other organizations that take on water projects in the county would not have access to the state grants that come to the county.

"All the grant funds really hinge on that water plan," Bredberg said.

Johnson said public involvement in the plan is crucial for the county because there are increasing water resource needs, but decreasing grant dollars to address them.

If issues such as invasive species, lakeshore and wetland restoration or water drainage issues are high priorities in the county's water plan, they are more likely to receive grant funds.

The county's "vast water resources" means a thorough review of the plan "takes on extra importance," said Johnson, who is facilitating the study.

The current plan was last updated in 2008. It expires this year.

Further information is available by contacting Jeff Bredberg, Director of Environmental Services at 320-231-6229, extension 5258.

Comments or questions regarding the water plan may also be addressed to Johnson at

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750