Water quality meeting Tuesday; Session at Grand Ely Lodge part of governor’s statewide series

by Tom Coombe -

Ely is the next stop in the latest in a series of meetings about water quality in Minnesota.
Tuesday night, the Grand Ely Lodge is the venue for the Water Quality Town Hall sessions called by Gov. Mark Dayton.
Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. for the free event and the meeting is slated to begin at 6:30.
While Dayton isn’t scheduled to attend, mayor Chuck Novak has invited him to Ely and hopes the governor takes notice of the city’s wastewater infrastructure needs. Members of Dayton’s cabinet will convene the meeting, which is expected to last about two hours.
The series was put together, according to Dayton, to “hear from Minnesotans about ways to improve the state’s water quality at the local level.”
Ely is one 10 cities across the state selected to host a meeting, part of Dayton’s “25 by 25” Water Quality goal proposal, announced earlier this year.
“All Minnesotans have a stake in water that’s safe for drinking, swimming, and fishing,” said Dayton, via a news release.. “These town hall meetings will further the important conversations already happening across Minnesota around water quality. Together we can develop strategies and solutions that work for all of our communities.”
The first session took place in Rochester July 31, and the town halls are billed to “offer Minnesotans an opportunity to discuss the water quality challenges facing their communities and the state, while hearing from experts, and engaging with policy makers.”
Earlier this year, Dayton announced a new goal to improve Minnesota’s water quality 25 percent by 2025. Without additional action, the quality of Minnesota’s waters is expected to improve only 6 to 8 percent by 2034.
Achieving a 25 percent improvement in water quality statewide would require Minnesota to take aggressive, yet achievable action, according to the release. It also would help Minnesota meet existing commitments to reduce phosphorus 12 percent by 2025 and nitrogen 45 percent by 2040 in the Mississippi River.
Ely will join Rochester, Marshall, Mankato, Crookston, St. Cloud, Bemidji, Minneapolis, Burnsville and Maplewood in hosting the meetings.