(Sauk Centre, MN) The Sauk River Watershed District has approved a new building, only adding to some tension over new assessments. In late January the Sauk River Watershed District Board voted 7-2 to move forward with the $1.9 million office project. SRWD Board managers Emily Wolf (Douglas County) and Lee Bautch (Stearns County) voted no.
The Sauk River Watershed covers a large land area, over 1,042 square miles. It originates from near Nelson, then through Lake Osakis and flows southeasterly nearly 135 river miles to the city of St. Cloud, where it joins the Mississippi River. Already the SRWD is operating on a general levy, but are also collecting taxes from property owners within the watershed area for a water quality project that began back in 2001. SRWD Administrator Scott Henderson explains more (AUDIO BELOW):
Douglas County County Commissioner Jerry Rapp is hearing from people within the district that the SRWD board needs to curb their spending habits and re-think their future efforts. (AUDIO BELOW):
The Federal Clean Water Act requires each state to publish every two years a list of streams and lakes not meeting their designated uses because of excess levels of one or more pollutants. These commonly called “Impaired Waters List”include many bodies of waters within the watershed district. These bodies of water are considered impaired because they do not meet designated water quality standards. The pollutants can be from excessive nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen or from turbidity, mercury, PCB’s, low oxygen, or from detrimental impacts to aquatic life for example.
The building proposal was an action the board took to replace the current converted medical clinic that has been their office since 1994. Henderson says the staff size has grown as well as the need for storage and other needs. He says the bids have been accepted and a construction manager will be lining up subcontractors.
To hear the full discussion with Scott Henderson on the February 11th Openline program on KXRA Radio, click on the audio link below:
The Sauk River Watershed District Board of Managers has a regular meeting this evening (Tuesday) at 6:00pm at the Watershed Office located at 524 Fourth Street South in Sauk Centre.