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The Minnesota River Congress is a citizen-led group focusing on the natural resource and economic health of the Minnesota River Basin.

Mission: “To promote citizen participation from all communities of interest and take cooperative action to protect, conserve and improve the Minnesota River System”

Make a difference: Donate

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Minnesota River Congress 'Mission'. 


Contact:     Scott Sparlin

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The McKnight Foundation has been a primary funder of the Minnesota River Congress. Thank you for your past support.  For other support click on "Participating Entities and Organizations"  on top of page

The Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River serves as fiscal host for the Minnesota River Congress:

"Minnesota River partners seek to achieve more naturally-functioning streams in the highly-engineered landscape of the Minnesota River Basin 
See News Release in Gallery  7/20/20 

 Events & Meetings

We appreciate all who attended and participated in the Minnesota River Congress Event! 

We would like to get more input from you on the questionnaire to assist the MRC on strategizing as we move forward with the Water Storage Initiative.
Please send responses to:
Questionnaire & Responses from the 14th Minnesota River Congress Event

The Minnesota River Congress held its 14th full session on Wednesday June 15th, 2022, at the Kato Ballroom, 200 Chestnut St. Mankato MN.


This marked the first in person full meeting since the pandemic initial outbreak.  The public was invited and welcome to participate.  

A background on past and present actions and activities informing participants as to where things are at right now will open the meeting.  Our co-hosts the Izaak Walton League’s Upper Mississippi River Initiative will be part of the update.


Governor Tim Walz addressed the group electronically. 

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner, Sarah Strommen, Board of Water and Soil Resources Executive Director, John Jaschke and Chief Engineer, Rita Weaver as well as Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner, Katrina Kessler will be in attendance to speak regarding the many faces of water storage and what it means to everyone.  Other State agency heads were invited to speak as well.  All public participants were given the opportunity to give direction and input to the Minnesota River Congress Action Board on moving their Water Storage Initiative forward.


Minnesota River Congress participants have been working diligently since the pandemic addressing our priority issue as voted on May 17th, 2018, and again at our last active in person session.  Our Water Storage Initiative support has grown significantly.  Together with our numerous partners, supporters, and elected officials from both parties, we were successful at establishing a program that will address water storage in our Minnesota basin and the Mississippi River Basin downstream from the Metro to the state border.  The program is currently in its demonstration phase and is accepting proposals.  It is currently funded at 1 million dollars each of the next two years.  This is a great first step and establishes the program in statute, however that amount of resources won’t go very far in realistically addressing the scope of the need.


What is needed now is the kind of resources that will establish all forms of water storage throughout the entire watershed.  This will require a much larger commitment from the State of Minnesota along with significant federal support as well.  We plan to continue to advocate for that support and that is where the public can assist in our collective efforts.  There will be opportunity for input regarding moving forward and we need you to help create those paths.   

We have described what we vision that some of the programs major components for consideration should be based on 3 years and 25 meetings worth of input gathered from implementers, landowners and other key professional land management entities and individuals from the greater Minnesota River Basin. 



City of Henderson (signed endorsement)

City of Granite Falls (signed resolution)

City of Eden Prairie (signed resolution)

City of Arlington (signed endorsement)

City of Amboy (signed resolution)

City of New Ulm (signed resolution)

City of Olivia (signed endorsement)

City of Mankato (signed resolution)

City of Nicollet (signed endorsement and resolution)

City of Redwood Falls (signed resolution)

City of Springfield (signed resolution and endorsement)

City of Winthrop (signed resolution and endorsement)

City of St. Peter (signed endorsement)

City of LeSueur 

Lower Minnesota River Watershed District (resolution passed and signed)

Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (resolution passed)

Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance (endorsement and resolution)

Brown County SWCD (signed endorsement)

Blue Earth County SWCD (signed endorsement)

Martin County SWCD (signed endorsement)

Faribault County SWCD (signed resolution)

Cottonwood County SWCD (signed endorsement)

McCloud County SWCD (verbal will endorse)

Nicollet Conservation Club (endorsement)

MASWCD (relative resolution)

Friends of Pool 2 (signed endorsement)

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (signed endorsement)

Crystal Waters Project (signed endorsement)

Minnesota River Congress (signed endorsement)

New Ulm Area Sport Fishermen (signed endorsement)

Rural Advantage  (signed endorsement)

The Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River (signed endorsement and resolution)

Redwood Country Farmers Union (resolution) (State Pending)

Friends of the Minnesota Valley (signed endorsement)

Izaak Walton League MN Valley Chapter (signed resolution)

Izaak Walton League MN Gopher State Chapter (signed resolution)

Clean Up the River Environment-CURE (signed endorsement)

Area 6 SWCD (11 Counties) (in principle)

Area 5 SWCD (10 Counties) (in principle)

Anglers for Habitat (signed endorsement)

Minnesota Conservation Federation (signed endorsement)

Fish and Wildlife Legislative Alliance (signed endorsement)

The Blue Earth Project (signed endorsement)

Save The Kasota Prairie (signed endorsement)

                                   Next Steps
We have met with federal level Minnesota legislators staff to seek support and matching dollars. We will be seeking private foundation funding for water storage as well. We will also investigate the potential for Legacy Amendment support. We are continuing to raise awareness with the public about this issue and garner additional exposure in major and small media markets of all type.


 Ways You Can Help

Endorsement Letter - We are reaching out to organizations who already participate in the Minnesota River Congress to get endorsement letters or resolutions from both groups and individuals.  Groups which are initially being targeted include but are not limited to, main stem and tributary cities and counties, conservation organizations, sportsmen and women’s organizations, farm organizations as well as commodity-related groups.  We have already secured substantial support as listed.  For your convenience we have created a template endorsement letter that can be edited to fit whatever entity or individual is offering endorsement.   Additionally, we have created a template resolution which can accompany endorsement letters.


Provide Funds - We need matching funds.  We currently have matching support from several organizations and are reaching out to you for help in any way you can.  If we can secure $500 to $1000 from potential organizational supporters, we can obtain all the matching funds available to us.  We know full well that many are not able to support us at that level, in that instance consider sending us what you can, no dollar amount is too small.  Individuals should consider any level of donation.  Every dollar is critical, and we will carefully utilize your commitment no matter the size.   


Our fiscal agent for this initiative is the Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River, (CCMR), CCMR is a basin-wide 501c3 federal tax-exempt organization.  Donations should be directed to CCMR at P.O. Box 488, New Ulm, MN 56073.  Donations can also be made electronically at   or contact the Coordinator/Facilitator at


We are passionate about this issue and will not be discouraged in our efforts. Hundreds of individuals representing over 60 entities have participated in The Minnesota River Congress sessions to date.  The list of endorsements and resolutions are growing daily, together we will succeed.


For More Information
Contact Scott Sparlin, Coordinator/Facilitator, Minnesota River Congress   (507 276 2280)

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