Minnesota lawmakers on the Legislative Water Commission are taking a look at conservation practices and water issues.

Lawmakers on the Legislative Water Commission are touring Blue Earth and Nicollet counties, gaining information about water quality to bring back to the state capital.

Rep. Paul Torkelson, R - Co-Chair of Commission said, "The role of the Legislative Water Commission is to advise our colleagues about water issues all across the state. Not every legislator has time to dig into the details."

The bi–partisan group consists of 12 lawmakers from the House and Senate.

Their tour focuses on the Minnesota River Valley, starting in Mapleton looking at drainage ditches, and including stops at Mankato's water reclamation facility and the 7 Mile Creek Watershed.

Rep. Clark Johnson, DFL-North Mankato said, "To see these projects that work, it etches it in your memory, so when we go forward in looking at possible solutions or proposals for the state. Those memories are strong and we can make better judgments and better decisions."

The lawmakers heard from a number of people including county and city officials, landowners, researchers and engineers about what water quality practices have worked and what issues still remain. It's information that not only helps on a state level, but also nationwide.

Rep. Torkelson said, "We're also looking for the opportunities where we might be able to inform our federal legislators about what's important to Minnesota."

Lawmakers also heard from a Utah State University professor studying the Le Sueur River and its erosion problems.

Utah State University Professor Patrick Belmont said, "This river's been one of the fastest down cutting rivers in the world, so it's been producing a lot of sediment for a long time."

Providing them a chance to learn about solutions to help with water quality up and down stream.

Belmont said, "Farmers have done a pretty good job of reducing soil erosion. There's still more work to be done there, reducing erosion. The big lever that we have to pull for reducing soil erosion is lowering the flows. We got to slow the flows and store water up streams."

And also showing lawmakers how people have come together to improve Minnesota's water.

--KEYC News 12