Washington County is celebrating 15 years of the Land and Water Legacy Program that was created after a voter-approved referendum passed in 2006.

In 2006, county voters approved a $20 million land and water protection referendum. Since then, more than $13 million in county and $23 million in partnership funds have been invested to protect 1,100 acres to date, involving 34 projects throughout the county. Projects are also underway that will expend remaining funds, possibly by this year’s end.

The county is marking the 15-year anniversary by creating opportunities for residents to learn more about the program through a video about the program, and presentations at city and township meetings.

The program funds are used for improving water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; protecting drinking water sources; purchasing parkland, including trail corridors; preserving wetlands and trees; protecting land along water bodies from development; and increasing public access to natural areas.

Washington County gives priority to projects that are:

• located in the county’s top 10 high priority areas or along the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers;

• adjacent to already protected lands;

• requested by a city or township;

• serving multiple public purposes and allowing public access; and

• likely to leverage additional dollars from other sources.

The county works with willing sellers and seeks funding partners for all projects. The County Board approves the projects and levels of investment.

Learn more about the project by visiting the county website at www.co.washington.mn.us and search Land and Water Legacy Program.

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