The Minnesota River Board, established under section 471.59 for the purpose of coordinating efforts to improve water quality in the Minnesota River Basin and achieving the goal of making the Minnesota River suitable for fishing and swimming by providing leadership, building partnerships, and supporting watershed programs in collaboration with the Water Resources Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato, has the following duties:
(1) compiling and submitting to the governor, the legislature, the Board of Water and Soil Resources, and all watershed partners:
(i) comprehensive water quality improvement and watershed management cleanup goals for the Minnesota River Basin, prepared by reviewing and summarizing the work plans of the 12 major watersheds, basin counties, state agencies, and other partners active in water quality programming;
(ii) a biennial report highlighting the results and progress of projects in the 12 major watersheds of the Minnesota River Basin; and
(iii) periodic basinwide water quality improvement plans;
(2) advising on water quality and watershed management projects, including implementation and coordination of TMDLs under the Clean Water Legacy Act as provided in chapter 114D, and promotion of data incorporation into the planning processes associated with county water plans, watershed plans, and, as appropriate, planning and zoning decisions in the Minnesota River Basin;
(3) conducting public meetings of the board on at least a quarterly basis at locations within the Minnesota River Basin;
(4) conducting an ongoing information and education program concerning the status of the Minnesota River Basin and sponsoring and coordinating continuing education opportunities in cooperation with watershed partners in the basin;
(5) providing periodic reports and budget requests to the governor's office, appropriate committees of the legislature, and the Board of Water and Soil Resources regarding progress on meeting river water quality management goals, future funding required for this effort, and biennial legislative requests to provide funding for the effort;
(6) coordinating and promoting, in partnership with and on behalf of water quality and watershed management stakeholders, policy development and implementation of projects that affect multiple major watersheds and target reduction of pollutant inputs into the Minnesota River;
(7) facilitating the identification of and application for water quality improvement implementation and research funding for projects that affect multiple major watersheds and benefit local watershed efforts and providing assistance to local project managers, partners, state agencies, the legislature, or the governor's office;
(8) advocating to promote and advance basin issues identified by county and watershed partners at the legislature, among the state agencies, and with the governor;
(9) promoting cooperation among the numerous water quality and watershed management units in the basin;
(10) providing conflict resolution and meeting facilitation services as requested; and
(11) striving to advance basinwide water quality improvements while promoting both local projects and managing regional initiatives.
(a) Upon acceptance of the joint powers agreement and payment of annual dues, each member county shall appoint one county commissioner as its delegate to the board and one county commissioner as an alternate. Delegates and alternates shall serve at the pleasure of the county board that appointed them. The delegates shall elect a chair and other officers as determined by the board.
(b) An advisory committee, appointed by the chair of the Minnesota River Board, shall be established to provide input on policy development, technical advances, continuing education programs, and other areas of concern identified by the delegates to the board or the advisory committee. Members of the advisory committee shall serve three-year terms. Members shall serve until the end of their terms or until a successor has been appointed, whichever is later. The advisory committee may consist of representatives from county water planning entities, county planning and zoning, county environmental services, drainage authorities, soil and water conservation districts, watershed districts, watershed projects, watershed management organizations, municipalities, special interest groups, citizens, agricultural organizations, state agencies, sporting organizations, and other entities as identified by the advisory committee or the delegates. The advisory committee serves as a forum to raise concerns that the Minnesota River Board should address.