Updates on: Zumbro River Watershed Joint Powers, Census, Foster Care Providers, Climate Change, COVID Demobilization, and Oxbow Park


Greater Zumbro River Watershed Joint Powers

The County Board approved the Joint Powers Agree for the Greater Zumbro River Watershed.  The One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) allows the counties to develop a comprehensive water management plan that exists on a watershed scale.  There will be approximately $1.2million every two years in State funding for implementation of the plan.  I supported the establishment of the Join Powers Board.  For more information see: https://www.olmstedcounty.gov/residents/soil-water-resources/water-resources

5,706,494  Congratulation to Minnesota!

The population date from the 2020 Census revealed that Minnesota grew by 7.6% from the 2010 census to a total of 5,706,494.  This was a faster rate of growth than most of our midwestern neighbors and we kept all eight Congressional seats.  (Keeping all eight Congressional Seats was a victory for the effort Minnesota and Olmsted County put in make sure every person completed the census; only 89 people kept the margin large enough to keep the eighth Congressional seat).

Thank you all of the Foster Care Providers

May is National Foster Care Appreciation Month.  I wish to express my appreciation for all the homes that provide foster care.  This has been an especially difficult year because of COVID and helping children complete schooling at home. Olmsted’s foster care homes rose to this difficult challenge.  The children and adults in foster care benefited from the care that foster homes provided.  There are 121 licensed child foster care homes in Olmsted County:  90 family foster homes with 273 beds and 147 corporate foster homes with about 550 beds.

To learn more about Foster Care go to:


and for more information on Adult foster care go to:


Climate Change and Resiliency

Olmsted County will begin planning for ways to reduce the effects of climate change and insuring that the county is prepared for climate-related events.  This will include ways that the county can reduce carbon emissions.  A completed report is tentatively scheduled for January 2022.

COVID-19 Demobilization

During the Pandemic many county employees were shifted to duties and teams to respond to the COVID pandemic.  As the COVID threat diminishes, the County’s COVID response will wind down and county employees will transition back to regular duties.  I am happy that the Conty is returning to “normalization.”  Olmsted County Public Health led the response to the pandemic and set a standard that many other counties followed.  Currently, Public Health is engaged in the vaccination process to insure that all people understand the importance of getting vaccinated and have access to vaccinations.

Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo Groundbreaking

The ground breaking for the New Building and Nature Center at Oxbow Park/Zollman Zoo took place on Wednesday, May 19.  I supported replacing the 40-year-old building that can no longer service the huge increase in visitors to the Nature Center.  The County received a Trails and Park Legacy Grant of about $2.3 million and the Friends of Oxbow, a 501c3 organization, has pledged to raise $1million.  The total project is about $7.5million.  The groundbreaking featured Senator Dave Senjem, Parks Director Karlin Ziegler, Olmsted County Commissioner Jim Bier, Olmsted County Commissioner and Park Board member Gregg Wright, and Friends of Oxbow Park President, Seanne Buckwalter.

The Zoo and Nature Center is the most visited venue in Olmsted County and received visitors from around the world.  It educates countless students and it preserves the natural world.  In addition to the Zoo, it provides camping which will be expanded in the future.  Here are some links that will provide more information about the Nature Center and the Ground Breaking event:

Information about

Friends of Oxbow:  www.friendsofoxbow.org

6 minute video about the new nature center:  https://youtu.be/Eawk04fHbOY

KROC coverage of the event:


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