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Community Forum: Our Mississippi Our Future 1/23 in Cohasset and 1/26 in Bemidji

Cohasset, MN - Supporters of Our Mississippi Our Future are holding a community forum on Thursday, January 23 at the Cohasset Community Center from 5:00-7:30pm. This event is free, open to the public and a light meal will be served. Registration is requested. You can find registration links at or on our Facebook page.  There will also be an event in Bemidji on Sunday January 26th at the First Lutheran Church in Bemidji from 3-5pm. 

Forums such as this, highlighting the importance of keeping clean water clean, including the Mississippi River headwaters area, have been held in Brainerd and Rochester and are scheduled for Duluth, Little Falls, Minneapolis and St. Cloud.  KAXE/KBXE's Heidi Holtan will moderate the Cohasset events and one of the speakers is Early Bird Fishing Guide Jeff Sundin.

“Protecting the Mississippi River and preserving it for future generations requires us to take bold action now,” said Davin Tinquist, Itasca County Commissioner. “We hope you’ll help us make protecting our water one of Minnesota’s top priorities.”

State lawmakers, local officials and community leaders are invited to join citizens in cnversations about the value of clean water and how we can take action to protect our rivers, lakes and streams. Area residents who want to ensure our waters remain clean and healthy are encouraged to attend.

Our Mississippi Our Future is a grassroots conversation campaign that seeks to unite Minnesotans to support the protection and restoration of the Mississippi and the state’s most significant waters. Visit for more information.

The Mississippi and its headwaters area, which encompasses almost 13 million acres in central Minnesota, provides clean drinking water for 2.5 million Minnesotans—more than 44 percent of the state's residents. There are 119 miles of Mississippi River in Itasca County.

The river and the land surrounding the rivers and streams that flow into it support more than 350 species of mammals, birds, and other wildlife, including most of the endangered, threatened and rare species listed in Minnesota.

The state’s renowned lakes and rivers support a $15-billion-dollar annual tourism and recreational economy, including fishing, hunting, birding, wilderness recreation and other nature-based activities. The Mississippi also serves as an economic engine by helping move agricultural and industrial goods.

Today, however, economic forces are driving changes in land use that threaten our water quality and our quality of life. As a result, we’re losing natural areas that we need for clean water. Since 2010, more than 500,000 acres in the river’s headwaters area alone were converted to urban development and agriculture, with the largest proportion occurring in critical water supply source areas.

"We are blessed with some truly amazing water resources in Minnesota - but with those blessings come a responsibility," shares Itasca County realtor and garlic farmer Jesse Davis. "Our actions along the Mississippi River watershed have consequences, and it is far more economically sustainable to protect our river now for clean drinking water, property values, wildlife and recreation than to remediate pollution and shoreland degradation in the future."

Financial supporters for this event are: Itasca Waters, Earth Circle, Wes Libbey Northern Lakes Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, and The Nature Conservancy.

Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.