Cass County Environmental Services Director John Ringle brought adoption of the Leech Lake River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan before the county board June 4.

The county will now amend existing water and related land resource plans, as necessary, to conform to the Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan. The County will have 180 days to identify any inconsistencies between current policies and the Watershed Management Plan.

However, if a Cass County department disagrees with any changes to its plan, it has 60 days after receiving the county’s recommendations to appeal the recommendations to the Board of Water and Soil Resources.

Parts of Cass County are included in six major watersheds.

This plan will partner Cass County with several other counties such as Hubbard, Crow Wing, and Beltrami (to name a few) under the umbrella of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR).

Three of these watersheds are in various stages of the planning process. The Leech Lake River, One Watershed One Plan (1W1P) was developed under an agreement between Cass and Hubbard counties and their respective Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs); The Pine River Watershed 1W1P, spearheaded by Crow Wing SWCD and involving Cass and Crow Wing counties and their respective SWCDs, is in draft form and is currently in its 60-day public/state agency comment period; The Mississippi River Headwaters 1W1P, with Beltrami SWCD acting as the lead agency and fiscal agent, just recently began work on developing committees to work on various aspects of that plan.  

Currently, Beltrami, Hubbard, Cass, Clearwater, and Itasca Counties have all signed on as partners to develop this plan.  

Ringle also reported  that the Solid Waste Program is requesting authorization to increase tip fees beginning July 1, 2019.

ESD’s current contract agreement includes a $1 per-ton annual increase paid by commercial haulers for disposal costs with Waste Management at the Elk River Landfill. The board approved the increased tip fee.

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