Take Action: contact the Office of the Secretary of the Interior to inform her that you support the National Blueways System

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

Take Action: 

  1. Please contact the Office of the Secretary of the Interior to inform her that you support the National Blueways System and that you support designating the Minnesota River as a National Blueway. Her contact information is as follows:
    Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell
    Department of the Interior
    1849 C Street, N.W.
    Washington DC 20240
  1. Please contact as many Members of Congress as possible and tell them that you support the designation of the Minnesota River as a National Blueway. Ask them to contact Secretary Jewell with their support and ask them to support the National Blueway System. Click here for your Members of Congress contact information.

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Program paused to address questions and concerns

In response to questions elsewhere about the Blueway program, the Minnesota River Watershed Alliance (MRWA) is expanding efforts to show local support, and disseminate accurate information. Recently, opposition to the Blueway program surfaced in Arkansas and Missouri, where the White River had been the second to receive the designation. Since local support and control is paramount, the DOI accepted a request to withdraw the White River designation, and placed the program temporarily on hold.

Ted Suss

Ted Suss

“One of the aspects of the National Blueway Program that most excites me is that this is a voluntary program that allows private citizens like myself and local not-for-profit organizations to join together and ask that a river be designated as a National Blueway,” says Ted Suss, one of the local project organizers.

“One of the major reasons I joined this effort is that the Blueway designation does not bring any new regulations or restrictions on private property owners or local units of government, but it does commit the various federal agencies to work cooperatively with each other, our local governments, local organizations, and individual citizens like myself as we move forward with economic development and conservation plans affecting the Minnesota River.”

More than 50 organizations support nomination

Many public and private organizations have been working individually and collectively to meet the challenge of improving water quality in the river and its entire drainage basin.  A National Blueway designation will recognize and reward the work of those partnerships and provide a platform to encourage expanded collaboration.

More than 50 public and private organizations from all sectors supported the nomination of the Minnesota River for designation as a National Blueway, submitted by the Minnesota River Watershed Alliance, and sponsored by the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The nomination states:  “The Minnesota River Watershed will become a model for habitat connectivity and resiliency in an agricultural to urban landscape; improved water quality and a more stable hydrograph; increased public access for outdoor recreation, and economic vitality based on a legacy of natural, cultural, historical, and agricultural resource conservation and sustainability. We can accomplish this vision because there is a highly engaged and informed watershed citizenry and Blueway Partnership Group.Read more about the nomination here.

Benefits of National Blueway designation include:

  • Cabinet-level recognition and prestige.
  • Marketing value and recognition tools offered by federal and partner organizations.
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Cooperative Agreements with federal agencies, and commitments of support from public and private partners.
  • Eligibility for federal technical and monetary assistance over a five-year period to achieve partnership goals, including development of an online river atlas in collaboration with stakeholders. Potential for initial start-up grant.
  • Eligibility for National Blueway System specific grants to stakeholder partnerships for establishment and expansion, and for river or watershed projects.

Click here to read more of Minnesota River Watershed Alliance (MRWA) News Release, July 29th, 2013.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has paused the Blueways program. Read more here.