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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vermillion River Watershed releases draft plan for comment

The Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization (VRWJPO) releases its draft watershed management plan Oct. 1 for a 60-day public review and comment period. The draft plan establishes the organization's goals and guides activities for the next 10 years.

Communities within the watershed will have up to two years to incorporate the plan into their own Local Water Management Plans and ordinances in conjunction with Comprehensive Plan updates. Among the goals noted in the draft plan are:

·         Protect or restore water quality in lakes, streams and wetlands.

·         Protect and restore groundwater quality.

·         Maintain a sustainable water supply.

·         Address more intense fluctuations (up and down) in river flow rate and volume.

·         Improve public awareness and stewardship of water resources.

·         Improve watershed resilience to changing precipitation and temperature patterns.

·         Protect or restore sensitive biological resources, such as plants, fish, insects and wildlife.

The draft watershed plan is posted on the watershed's website, www.vermillionriverwatershed.org (search "watershed plan" on the site). It is also available at the Elko New Market, Farmington, Galaxie, Heritage, Pleasant Hill, and Robert Trail libraries during normal library hours.

Written comments on the draft plan will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Nov. 30, 2015. Email comments tovermillionplan@co.dakota.mn.us or mail to Vermillion River Watershed JPO, Dakota County Western Service Center, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley, MN 55124.

All or parts of the following cities and townships are in the Vermillion River Watershed: Apple Valley, Burnsville, Coates, Elko New Market, Farmington, Hampton, Hastings, Lakeville, Rosemount, and Vermillion; and the townships of Castle Rock, Douglas, Empire, Eureka, Hampton, Marshan, New Market, Nininger, Ravenna, and Vermillion. The Watershed includes approximately 335 square miles and more than 167,000 households in Dakota and Scott counties.

The VRWJPO was established in September 2002 through a joint powers agreement between Dakota and Scott counties to protect water resources in the Vermillion River Watershed. A three-member Joint Powers Board, consisting of Dakota County Commissioners Mike Slavik and Mary Liz Holberg and Scott County Commissioner Tom Wolf, governs the Joint Powers Organization.

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