PRESENTATION 3-5-15: Steve Woods, Freshwater Society

Steve Woods, Freshwater Society
Steve Woods, Freshwater Society

Neil Wingert introduced Steve Woods, the Executive Director of the Freshwater Society – a Twin Cities non-profit organization with a mission to promote the conservation, protection and restoration of all freshwater resources. The Freshwater Society has been a leading public nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving, restoring, and protecting freshwater resources and their surrounding watersheds. The Freshwater Society sponsors several programs to help meet those goals:
• MN FarmWise: is working in partnership with the Cannon River Watershed Partnership and farmers and land owners to protect and restore Rice Creek, the only remaining trout stream in Rice County.
• Healthy Lakes and Rivers Partnership: delivers resources to organized groups through training and support to create a community-based management plan for their lake or river.
• Partners with the Friends of the Minnesota Valley and local organizations to initiate Community Clean-Ups for Water Quality to reduce the phosphorus, nitrogen and other pollutants flowing into lakes and rivers.
• Partners with the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences to sponsor the Moos Family Speaker Series on Water Resources – a stimulating lecture series on water and the environment.
• Partners with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District to offer a Master Water Stewards program to certify leaders to install pollution prevention projects that educate their community, reduce pollutants from urban runoff, and allow more water to soak into the ground before running into storm sewer systems.

To warm up the crowd prior to his presentation, Steve provided history lesson handouts that listed Presidents, Governors, movies, sports + cultural events, and environmental legislation highlights from the past 60 years. His presentation grabbed our attention as he showed photos from the “land of pea-green waters” due to phosphorus run-off. Steve encouraged us to look for signs of running water entering our streams, because this is often the path that pollutants take instead of being naturally filtered out through the ground. Improvements in monitoring technology, corporate and farming compliance, and citizen actions enabled Steve to share his optimism that Minnesota is on the right path. Recent proposals may encourage buffer zones along our farmland streams, while increased groundwater use lowers our aquifers illustrate the mix of good and bad current news stories. Steve noted that Olmstead County is one example of where enforcement and assistance are combining to produce beneficial results.

Steve noted that his organization has its own Gala on April 23 at the new St. Paul Saints stadium. For more information about the event, or to contact the Freshwater Society: phone 952-471-9773, email [email protected] or internet