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Afton to join two watershed districts

During its March 17 meeting, the Afton City Council ratified a recommendation to dissolve the Lower St. Croix Water Management Organization.

Afton's representative to the Lower St. Croix board of managers, which includes representatives from Afton, Cottage Grove and Denmark Township, informed the council that the recommendation to dissolve the LSCWMO had been approved.

The agency is a product of a joint powers agreement among the three cities, as well as Hastings, and will now merge Afton into both the South Washington Watershed and Valley Branch Watershed districts.

The area of the LSCWMO that drains into the St. Croix River will be part of VBWD and the area of the LSCWMO that drains into the Mississippi River merge into the SWWD.

The dissolution of the LSCWMO has been an ongoing discussion since 1999 and only recently gained a new head wave because the administrative and watershed-wide costs have been hurting LSCWMO because they are so small and these costs are eating up a significant portion of their annual income and these costs are continuing to rise.

In order for the dissolution to move forward, the LSCWMO must receive ratification from two of the three cities represented on the board.

The Afton City Council also approved a resolution offering their support to send a petition to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources requesting the expansion of the SWWD and the VBWD so that they can accommodate the LSCWMO areas.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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