The new, citizen-led organization to promote the natural resource and economic health of the Minnesota River basin is closing in on filling all 33 seats on its governing Action Board.Nineteen members were named at the fifth Minnesota River Congress Nov. 12 in New Ulm. The Action Board applications were approved by 93 people attending. Applications since then have raised the total to 24, says Scott Sparlin of Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River.When complete, the Action Board will include representatives from each of the basin’s 13 major watersheds, and various sectors such as agriculture, business, recreation, and local and state agencies. It will set policy, goals, and objectives for the Congress. It will name a management committee to handle operations such as finance and communications.Action Board members named Nov. 12 include: Jessie Shaffer, Bryce Hoppie, Forrest Peterson, Bob Finley, Greg Genz, James and Mary Stone, Louis Knieper, Paul “Gus” Davis, Skip Wright, Lee Ganske, Joanne Boettcher, Jeff Nielsen, Drew Campbell, Rylee Main, Ted Suss, Scott Tedrick, Nancy Spooner Mueller, Brian Hicks, Mark Bosacker and Jessica Nelson.In other business Nov. 12, the Congress voted to support proposed legislation (Senate File 2204) creating a Minnesota River Commission. The support is conditional upon an opportunity for the Congress to provide input on the final draft. Photo: Linda Loomis of the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District spoke about the legislation.Prior to the Congress business meeting, Liz Just of Wild River Academy reported on the Paddle Forward excursion this past summer and fall down the entire 318-mile length of the Minnesota River. George Rehm of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Center gave overview of the Discovery Farms water quality research projects.More information about the Minnesota River Congress is available at: www.watershedalliance.blogspot.com/. The next Congress will scheduled in late February or early March.