Water Resources Research Center, University of Minnesota
Newsletter or Bulletin
In 1970. Minnesota’s State government contained at least 21 departments, agencies, boards, commission, committees, etc. with which water and related land resources responsibilities. Expenditures by these organizations increased from $5.7 million in 1950 to $31.9 million in 1970. About 86% of expenditures were made by the Department of Conservation. Total State agency staff complements increased from 1,100 in 1960 to 1,400 in 1970. Prime responsibility for water and related land resources programs rested in 3 Committees of the Senate and 2 Committees in the House. The Governor’s and Legislature’s control of the State’s administrative apparatus is hampered through fragmented organization. A recommended plan of reorganization centers on consolidation of major functions within and Department of Natural Resources. There is need for the Legislature to enunciate a comprehensive environmental policy for the State.
In 1970, there were 5 international, 5 regional, 3 interstate, and 4 Federal-State organizations with programs in the State. Federal responsibilities in water and related land resources planning, development and management in Minnesota was divided among 30 units in 8 executive departments and agencies; 6 independent agencies; 6 units in the executive office of the President; 9 other boards, committees, councils and commissions; and 1 quasi-official agency. In fiscal Year 1970, Federal outlays for water and related land resources activities in the State totaled about $75 million or 2.3 percent of total Federal outlays in Minnesota of about $3.3 billion. There were about 1,300 Federal employees residing in Minnesota in fiscal year 1970 with assignments pertaining to water and related land resources.
In 1971, there were at least 49 Interest groups in Minnesota with major water and related land resources programs, 4 Leagues and Associations with minor water and related land resources programs, at least 80 organizations that tend to have a continuing interest in water related land resources issues, and at least 150 National organizations concerned with water and related land resources programs which have or could have members in the State. The Minnesota Senate 1971 registration files for lobbyists listed 110 lobbyists in the field of water and related land resources; the House files listed 138 lobbyists. Of the 53 Interest groups (49 Interest group sand 4 Leagues and Associations mentioned above), 40 were conservation-preservation oriented, 8 had the word environmental in their name, and 5 were development and management oriented. Taking into consideration multiple memberships, it is estimated that approximately 25,000 citizens in Minnesota were members of the 53 interest groups in 1971. Membership in individual Interest groups ranged from 13 to 12,000. Expenditures in 1971for water and related land resources programs of the 53 Interest groups probably totaled in excess of $250,000. Annual expenditures by individual Interest groups ranged from $100 to in excess of $35,000. These figures do not include the thousands of hours of volunteer time by members. The sources of income were dues, contributions, donations, and grants. The affairs of 45 of the 53 Interest groups were under the direction of Officers; 8 Interest groups had Boards; and 14 Interest groups had staffs. It is estimated that the number of water and related land resources Interest groups increased from about 16 in 1950 to 25 in 1960 to 33 in 1965 to 53 in 1971.
In the past, there has been considerable activity in Minnesota associated with the development and management of water and related land resources. For example, water-supply and sewage treatment plants have been constructed at most cities and villages as well as by many industries. Water-oriented recreation facilities have been provided in connection with parks, waysides, reserves, and monuments, etc. scattered throughout the State. Fish management programs have been extended to many areas and hundreds of wildlife management areas have been developed. Wetland waterfowl production areas being managed. Agricultural lands have been drained in extensive areas and farmers have made considerable progress in the installation of conservation practices to reduce and control soil erosion. Some flood control and prevention have been accomplished as soil and water conservation projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Extensive improvements of rivers and harbors for navigation are located along the Mississippi River and in the Duluth-Superior area. Past development and management practices, as substantial as they are, have not kept pace with the steadily growing demands placed upon water and related land resources. Not only does Minnesota have catch up problems to contend with in the future, continuing pressures and demands for enhancement of the enivironemnt and improved economic well-being can be expected to create steadily growing demands for water and related land resources. There exists many water and related land resource problems associated with such matters as: pollution of streams, lakes and groundwater; water-oriented recreation; water supply; flooding; navigation; and land use.
Responsibilities for water and related land resources data acquisition and handling in Minnesota are shared among many Federal, State, local and private organizations. The diffusion of responsibility makes it difficult to launch a comprehensive attack on environmental and other problems. Divided responsibility means that some needed data acquisition and handling programs slip between the cracks and disappear from view. One such program is the development of a statewide water and related land resources data system. A statewide water and related land resources - data system is needed to improve the coordination of data acquisition and handling responsibilities, to improve the efficiency of data programs, and to upgrade and fill deficiencies in data programs. Institutional arrangements must be devised to design the system.
A State Environmental Policy Bill, H.F. No. 2405, introduced by Messrs. Dunn, Norton, Becklin, Munger and Knutson passed the House on May 21, 1971 with a vote of yeas 117 and nays 12. A companion bill, S.F. 2048, introduced by Messrs. Gage, Gustafson, and Popham and referred to the Committee on Civil Administration was not reported out-of-Committee. H.F. No. 2405, passed by the House, was introduced in the Senate on May 22, 1971. The bill was never read for the third time, thus, it never came up for vote in the Senate. This bill addressed itself to many existing water and related land resources planning policy questions as did a report approved by the Land and Water Resource s Committee, House of Representatives on November 30, 1970. During 1971 and 1972, several Subcommittees of Committees of the State Senate and House held joint hearings on water and related land resources issues. Governor Anderson in April 1972 established an Environmental Quality Council with a Citizens Advisory Committee. These actions could lead to the passage of a State Environmental Policy Act during the 1973 Session of the Legislature and to the improvement of government for water and related land resources programs in Minnesota.
Walton, William C. 1972. Water Resources Administration in Minnesota, 1972. Water Resouces Research Center.
Water Resources Research Center
Walton, William C..
Water Resources Administration in Minnesota, 1972.
Water Resources Research Center, University of Minnesota.
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