Well, not only is the bridge bad but the water under it leaves a lot to be desired. A few weeks ago I received the Rock River Watershed TMDL Newsletter from the Rock County Land Management office. In the newsletter it says, “Pollution is threatening the Rock River“. It goes on to offer an overview of the problem, lists a project summary, and announces an open house for the public to learn more and discuss possible solutions. Read it here: rock-river-tmdl.pdf
Back in 1994 the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) gave notice that the Rock river was polluted with fecal coliform bacteria at the Minnesota/Iowa border. In 2002 the MPCA said it was also impaired for turbidity. During two open house meetings in Luverne and Edgerton the public was informed of the water cleanup project and given an opportunity to ask questions and provide input. According to the January 26 edition of the Worthington Daily Globe, Work begins to improve Rock River watershed, approximately 70 people were in attendance at the Luverne meeting to listen to the presentation by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Water Resouces Center of Mankato. Another 60 people attended the meeting in Edgerton. The goal of the water quality project is to seek public input and finalize a written plan to clean up the river. Hopefully once this plan is completed there will be financial assistance to assist with the cleanup.
My local newspaper, the Rock County Star-Herald, also covered the meeting in Luverne. In ‘River cleanup process started’ the issue is covered in depth and editor Lori Ehde had these observations:
The Rock River is polluted, and some local livestock producers are afraid fingers are pointing at them.That was the tone of a public meeting Thursday, Jan. 24, that drew nearly 70 people to the Rock County Human Services building to discuss the state’s “impaired” label on the Rock River. The point of Thursday’s meeting was to provide information to the public and to seek public participation in order to garner state and federal dollars for river cleanup.But many at the meeting seemed worried the end result will mean more government restrictions on their livestock operations, and some discussion questioned the validity of the river’s “impaired” status.
The rest of the article is available in their online edition but you will have to give up most of a fifty dollar bill to view it.
In the same issue on the opinion page the Star Herald editorial headline was, The point isn’t who is to blame; the point should be how to clean up the river. Here are a few excerpts from the editorial:
Rock County farmers have long been leaders in soil and water conservation and in lobbying for development of agriculture as a renewable fuel.
What was disappointing to the casual observer was that many of these vocal farmers Thursday night were the same ones who lobbied so aggressively for ethanol and wind subsidies in the name of improving the environment. It begs the question: does the environment matter only when a government check (or an ethanol plant dividend) is attached to the cause?
I have to agree with the Star-Herald that the emphasis should be on cleaning up the river. Certainly we have waited long enough. Rock County farmer Gene “Pucky” Sandager was one of those not sold on the idea and was quoted in the Daily Globe saying: “Take it a little slow, make sure we’re doing the right thing before we go off on a rampage,” Well, it has been known as early as 1994 of the fecal coliform problem and in 2002 the turbidity issue was identified. Local officials have been working with state and federal personnel since 2006. It is now 2008 and the final report is still a work in progress. Hardly going off on a rampage.
Peace & solidarity,
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