Update: Carp Proposal On Hold
Dear LLWA Members and friends -
LLWA would like thank you for your continued support with regard to this important Clean Water Initiative for the watershed. Your letters and calls in support of our efforts are very much appreciated, and noted by the cities.
Sadly, as of this morning the Orono Mayor has pulled the Partnership Agreement off the Agenda ("Carp Proposal") for the Orono City Council meeting on Monday, May 14, 2018.
LLWA met with Orono City Staff to understand our options this morning; however, from Orono’s perspective the Partnership Agreement has been tabled by the Orono City Council until further notice.
Unfortunately, the partnership was structured so that it was only approved if ALL THREE cities participated, and although Long Lake and Medina are on board and have voted their approval/participation, at this point it is clear that we do not have Orono's approval/participation for the project's current iteration.
We are of course disappointed in this development. It has been two years of hard work, and we are sorry to see it falter at the finish line. However, we will continue in our efforts. Once the dust settles, we plan to reach out to the Orono Mayor, so that we may understand his concerns, with the hope that we will be better aligned in any partnership opportunities going forward. We are also reaching out to the MCWD and the cities of Long Lake and Medina to update them, and explore possible next steps.
Philosophically, we aim to approach the water quality issue within the watershed from a collaborative, win/win perspective, and so are looking forward to working with all of our partners in that vein to better understand their concerns and drivers, so that we may best leverage our efforts for the benefit of the community.
We will keep you posted on any updates or changes, and are available to talk on the phone if you have any questions.
The project is:
A Smart Use of Taxpayer Money: It requires a minor investment ($10K or less) on the part of each town within the watershed (Orono, Medina and Long Lake) that could yield major payouts ($250,000+ via grants in Legacy funding, for example) for the watershed. Without the data this project will collect, those grant monies will go to other watersheds. In Orono, this money is already in the budget for water quality projects, and would not impact our financial status.
Resident-Driven and City-Supported: LLWA was founded by Orono residents/taxpayers, and now includes residents from Orono, Long Lake, and Medina. We have strong support from local businesses, as well as local organizations like the Orono Lions Club. We have collaborated with city staff from all three cities every step of the way, to ensure we align with the priorities of the cities and their comprehensive plans.
A WATERSHED Issue, Not a Long Lake Issue: Long Lake is merely the easiest point of access to the carp, not the focus of the project. The carp tracking will occur throughout the watershed, with direct benefits to all Orono residents within the watershed (722 Households, or 25%+ of Orono households), as well as to anyone living downstream (ie, residents that live on or enjoy Lake Minnetonka), as the waters of Long Lake Creek flow directly into Tanager Bay and Lake Minnetonka.
Important for the Orono Schools: WSB has generously offered to collaborate with the 7th grade classes in Orono Schools to allow the students to participate in this tagging and telemetry project, giving the students in Orono the chance to participate in Citizen Science in their own watershed.
A Great PR Opportunity: Local news organization are interested in covering the project with photos and interviews. The project also offers great PR potential for Orono via social media, local newpapers and events, school participation, as well as regional news (MPR, etc).
In SUM: This project is a win on three fronts:
Financially: low investment, high reward
Environmentally: strong science, highly measurable results
PR/Politically: an easy, inexpensive, positive PR message