Residents meet to learn about Kawishiwi watershed
By: From Wayne Seidel, Lake County News Chronicle
More than 30 participants learned about water quality issues affecting the Kawishiwi watershed at the annual White Iron Chain of Lakes Association-hosted partners meeting held in Ely March 21.
While WICOLA, the White Iron Chain of Lakes Association, has been hosting partners meetings for several years, last Wednesday’s meeting is the second since WICOLA received Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Legacy Fund grants allowing the organization to expand its water monitoring and review efforts to the entire Kawishiwi River watershed.
The first phase of the three-year Kawishiwi Watershed Protection Project ends next year as extensive analysis of the watershed wraps up.
Derrick Passe, project coordinator, presented information on the current water quality monitoring program, aquatic invasive species survey results, an upcoming evaluation of sewage impact on the White Iron Chain of Lakes, and an overview on the project’s scope. He emphasized that this is the first watershed protection effort under the Clean Water Legacy Act to protect water quality as opposed to cleaning up watersheds that are already polluted.
Participants also learned about ongoing paleolimnology study led by Euan Reavie from the Ely office of the National Resources Research Institute. Begun last fall, the study looks at historical changes in the watershed by sampling lake bottom sediment.
Peter Miller from Wenck Associates presented a first look at the final implementation plan that his company will help develop, creating a long-range work plan to protect and manage water quality in the Kawishiwi watershed.
Other participants shared recent happenings and research projects that may impact the Kawishiwi watershed, including potential impacts from the Pagami Creek Fire, a Department of Natural Resources biological survey update, Sentinel Lakes Program, upcoming Intensive Watershed Management Program for the Rainy River headwaters by the MPCA, DNR fisheries surveys, and the location and availability of collected water quality information.
Participants included representatives from the general public, state and federal agencies, county and township government, WICOLA, University of Minnesota, and Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District. The program was sponsored by WICOLA, Lake County, and the MPCA.
For further information on the Kawishiwi Watershed Protection Project, please contact Project Coordinator Derrick Passe at (763) 286-0570.