- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

NEW ULM, Minn. (AP) - A new group working to protect the Minnesota River basin is ready to start developing its goals after two years of organizing.

The Mankato Free Press reports (http://bit.ly/29f59gU ) the River Congress will hold at least six meetings this summer to solicit policy ideas from other groups already working in the area. The goal is to develop six or seven action plans that will presented at a meeting in November.

Ted Suss, a member of the River Congress team developing the plans, says the goals will be broad in scope, such as controlling erosion in ravines or gullies.

“We’ve been in spring training mode and now we’re at opening day - to move to action steps, to decide what we want to do,” said Suss, a former school administrator who lives in Redwood County. “Not just what we believe but what we want to accomplish.”

He said the River Congress’ biggest challenge will be funding. The group hopes to get support from cities and counties along the river, from watershed districts and grants.

Suss said the congress wants to be inclusive and solicit members with a wide range of opinions, which could create conflict.

“One of our guiding principles was we wanted everybody not only at the table but feeling welcome at the table, whether you’re in agriculture, manufacturing, a local official or state agency employee or manager, or an environmentalist,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re all going to agree on everything, but we will have the input from everyone.”

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Information from: The Free Press, http://www.mankatofreepress.com

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