The state has spent $152 million from the first year of the Legacy Amendment to clean up the water. And it's going -- okay.
That's the simple conclusion from the state's first progress report on the impact of the Legacy Amendments' clean water fund. The report found that the Legacy money is leveraging more clean-up money from local governments -- $1.45 for each dollar of Legacy money. Nevertheless, the state found that even with all that money it can't keep up. There are three times more requests for funding than is available.
Peter L. Johnson painted with a twig in a toxic-smelling stream that flows into the Mississippi River. Johnson is an artist who takes photographs of pollution and trash. Star Tribune photo.
More worrisome is that efforts to protect and clean-up drinking water are on track, nitrate levels in new wells are on the increase, and in some aquifers.
But there were a lot of "yet unknowns" reported as well.
The main purpose, however, is to establish a baseline reporting tool on how to measure the progress bought with about $85 million per year for the next 30 years -- from testing and assessing the state’s lakes, streams and groundwater, to fixing the problems. If it works 30 years from now we might know whether the Legacy money made a difference.