The public is invited to attend a watershed open house on Monday, September 20, 2021, for the area known as “WinLaC” – the Mississippi River-Winona-La Crescent watersheds. The open house is an opportunity for everyone to get involved in protecting and restoring our drinking water and quality of our land, lakes and streams. WinLaC includes the Whitewater River Watershed, the Stockton-Rollingstone-Minnesota City Watershed District, small watersheds near La Crescent and several streams draining into the Mississippi River such as Snake, East Indian, Burns Valley, Gilmore, Pleasant Valley, Cedar Valley and Big Trout creeks.

The September 20, 2021, public kick-off open house will be held from 5-8 p.m. at the Tau Center, 511 Hilbert Street, in Winona (masks required). Short presentations will be held at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. to include an overview of the watershed and updates on issues that exist in the watershed. After presentations, the public will be able to share their valuable input on what matters most to them. Virtual participation is available with a link available on the WinLaC website at bit.ly/WinLaC1W1P.

The open house will introduce One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) and is the first step in getting input from the public to establish goals and strategies for a comprehensive watershed management plan. All community members are invited and broad participation is needed to identify and prioritize the issues the community cares about. Local leaders need to hear from landowners, farmers, business owners, public employees, nonprofit leaders, students, educators, and those who recreate in the area.

The watershed planning effort is locally led; its leaders include representatives from four counties (Houston, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona), four soil and water conservation districts (Olmsted, Root River, Wabasha and Winona), a watershed district (Stockton-Rollingstone-Minnesota City) and the city of Winona. For more information about this meeting, contact Sheila Harmes, Winona County watershed coordinator, at 507-457-6522.

The WinLaC Policy Committee is hosting the open house under the 1W1P Program with funds provided through the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment. Find more information about Program at bwsr.state.mn.us/one-watershed-one-plan.