Those who care about the Minnesota River need your help in contributing to the overall health of the basin.

In 1992 former Governor Arne Carlson proclaimed he wanted the Minnesota River to be fishable and swimmable within the next 10 years. Currently around 40 percent of our water is considered unsuitable for aquatic life and not necessarily safe for recreation. With the Governor's goal yet to be met there are groups out there working to raise the issue across the state.
 
"The first step is to get people to learn a little bit about the river, the best way to do that is to get out on the river on a boat but there are also any number of places. Wildlife refuges at both ends, state parks, county parks, hiking trails. Want people to get out and enjoy the river and once they do that they'll learn to love it and they'll want to help protect it," John Hickman with the Isaac Walton League said.
 
Water quality is not the only issue. For those who want to access our rivers, sometimes maintenance is a problem. One man is making it his cause to paddle each of the 34 rivers that the Minnesota DNR maps throughout the states to ensure the rivers are usable and camping is suitable.
 
"I take GoPro content at every campsite and landing and monitor channel conditions and I submit that to the DNR for their use as they update their maps and so ideally they don't just update their maps with their information but they also have crew that come out and maintain these water trails so a good chunk of what I'm doing is just to help them have eyes on to be able to know what needs work and what doesn't," Jay Gustafson with Paddle for Progress said.
 
Those are only 34 of the hundreds of waterways in Minnesota, so it's up to the public to do their part.
 
"I think it's important for people to understand what they're connection is to water in their area and try to be proactive and say how am I interacting with this resource, what am I doing to help it, what choices am I making that may be harming it and really just sort of think about how everything is connected," Gustafson added.
 
To link up with any of these groups visit https://www.mnrivercongress.org/ and to follow Jay's journey go to https://waterwayjay.com/

--KEYC News 12