To the editor:

I learned something remarkable at this month's Water Talk held at the Legacy of the Lakes Museum. Scott Henderson from the Sauk River Watershed District illuminated the impact Douglas County has in three county watersheds. Douglas County lakes, streams and ditches are the source of the Long Prairie, Sauk and Chippewa rivers. No rivers flow into Douglas County. The water that eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico originates here in runoff from our back yards, our lake shores and our fields. The future of water quality begins here with all of us!

The good news is the Long Prairie and Sauk River watershed districts are close to completing a 10-year watershed plan. Surprisingly, although they were invited, no township boards who manage road runoff have chosen to participate in development of the plan. Henderson was frank the entities already know how water becomes impaired and know the multiple systems needed to fix it.

Whether we live in the city, on one of our numerous lakes or on a farm it is our personal choices in how we treat the runoff from our yards or fields that can preserve water quality. Douglas County governmental entities manage road runoff and sewer districts control waste water. Our individual and collective decisions impact the quality of water here in Douglas County and downstream.

Please, become informed. Speak to your county commissioners and township officials about the importance of their actions to restore and protect water quality. Seek help from the Douglas County Soil and Water Conservation District regarding home owner conservation efforts. Support the Water Quality Legacy Fund created by the Douglas County Lakes Association to help repair and preserve water quality. The DCLA is a cosponsor of the monthly LOTL Water Talks, which are available on-line at https://legacyofthelakes.org/event/water-talks

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Barbara Benson

Alexandria MN