Apple-Plum Watershed

Water Resource Management in Northwest Illinois, Northeast Iowa, Southwest Wisconsin

The League of Women Voters of Jo Daviess County is following up on action items identified in the recently completed Jo Daviess County Water Resource Management Plan. On October 24th and 25th, John Bilotta and Cindy Hagley (University of Minnesota Extension) were invited to the DeSoto House Hotel in Galena to conduct 2 day-long sessions to train 47 individuals to become facilitators for “The Watershed Game”.

30 of the trainees were from within Jo Daviess County and have committed to playing the game with a group in the county within one year to raise awareness and literacy about watershed issues. Stream, Lake and classroom versions of the game were purchased and are available for the facilitators to check out from the county environmental health department.

The game provides a fun way to learn about watersheds, land use impacts on water quality, and strategic collaboration to achieve water quality goals. In addition to the Jo Daviess County facilitators, 17 individuals from other parts of the Upper Mississippi River Region received training (Madison, Ottumwa, Dubuque, and LaCrosse were among the communities represented).

These individuals were part of the Upper Mississippi River Region Inter-League Organization (LWV-UMRR ILO). Affectionately referred to as the “Ummer,” the inter-league, comprised of over 60 local Leagues in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, just celebrated its 1st anniversary, having formed in October of 2015. Nutrient pollution was chosen as a focus issue for the ILO  since each of the states has been challenged to reduce nitrate, nitrogen and phosphorus contributions to the Mississippi River. The Watershed Game is seen as a tool for raising awareness about these issues.