MONTEVIDEO - Montevideo and Morton are among the sites hosting an opportunity to hear about and discuss the June 19 Minnesota River Congress, leading up to a second congress scheduled for October 30 in New Ulm.

The organizers believe there’s a need for greater unity and communication among the many groups working to sustain the water and land in the Minnesota River Valley for agriculture and the overall economy.

At the June 19 congress, about 100 people joined to discuss ideas to protect and improve land and water resources in the Minnesota River basin.

Regional meetings are planned for 7 p.m. at the following dates and hosts. Everyone is welcome to attend.

• September 10, Clean Up the River Environment, Community Center, 550 1st St. SW, Montevideo.

• September 11, Rural Advantage, Knights of Columbus Hall, 920 E. 10th St., Fairmont.

• September 15, J.R. Brown Heritage Society, Henderson Community Center, Henderson.

• September 16, Friends of the Minnesota Valley, National Wildlife Refuge, Bloomington.

• September 17, Lower Sioux Community, Jackpot Junction, Morton.

“Working together to protect and improve natural resources promises a better future for food production, recreation, and economic development,” said Scott Sparlin, of the Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River. “We need ideas and support from all across the basin to realize the potential for funding and influence that we need to make a real difference in the Minnesota River Valley.”

The June 19 congress generated a wide range of ideas. Many expressed support for citizen participation and leadership, either at the basin scale or starting out first at the watershed scale. Since the disbanding of the Minnesota River Board earlier this year, the need for collaboration and communication among groups working in the basin ranked high.

“There was a lot of discussion and support for a citizen-led, all-inclusive organization, but less agreement about the possible structure,” Sparlin said. “The regional meetings will give more people the chance to help us focus the ideas leading up to the second congress on October 30.”

Congress co-sponsors include: Minnesota River Watershed Alliance, Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River, Friends of the Minnesota Valley, Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center, Water Resource Center-Minnesota State University, Clean Up our River Environment, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Earth Sabbath, Clean Up the River Environment, Wild River Academy, New Ulm Area Sport Fishermen, and the U of M Southwest/Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.

For more information, call Sparlin at 507-276-2280 or email her at A summary of the June 19 congress is posted on the Minnesota River Watershed Alliance webpage,