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Clean Water Council seeks comments on proposed Clean Water Fund budget

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St. Paul, Minn. - The Clean Water Council is seeking comments on its proposed Clean Water Fund budget for the 2014-2015 biennium. The council will make budget recommendations to the governor and the Minnesota Legislature in December.

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A public comment period begins Sept. 4 and continues through Sept. 28, 2012. The council is asking the public to comment on questions that are to be found on the Clean Water Council's webpage at www.pca.state.mn.us/cleanwatercouncil.

The Clean Water Council needs to meet a $185 million target for fiscal years 2014-2015 and wants public input on budget-trimming ideas. The council is also seeking comments on how to build the long-term capacity of local government agencies to improve their ability to implement water-quality practices.

"We hope the public takes this opportunity to share their thoughts with us," Keith Hanson, chairman of the Clean Water Council, said. "We all have a stake in this process to ensure that we are investing our Clean Water Fund dollars as wisely as possible."

The council's proposed budget recommendations are in these categories:

• Monitoring and assessment programs (11-15 percent of total budget): Continue steady funding levels to systematically determine the health of Minnesota's waters over 10 years, the first cycle of which ends in 2017.

• Watershed restoration and protection strategies (11-14 percent): Continue steady funding to determine the causes and solutions to pollution problems and threats until strategies have been completed in all the state's 81 watersheds.

• Groundwater/drinking water protection (7-9 percent): Increase funding over the minimum of 5 percent required by the constitutional amendment to protect groundwater and drinking water sources.

• Point and nonpoint source implementation activities (57-60 percent): Increase funding for on-the-ground activities that address runoff from fields and streets, as well as to improve infrastructure for sewage treatment and urban stormwater.

• Applied research and tool development (6-8 percent): Steady funding to better target and ensure that implementation efforts are successful.

The Clean Water Council, created through the 2006 Clean Water Legacy Act, advises on the administration and implementation of Clean Water Fund dollars that are to protect, enhance and restore Minnesota's water resources. Approved by the voters in 2008, the Clean Water Fund is constitutionally dedicated funding that is appropriated every two years by the legislature. For more information, contact Celine Lyman (phone 651-757-2541, email celine.lyman@state.mn.us) or Jeff Risberg (phone 651-757-2670, email jeff.risberg@state.mn.us).

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