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Editorial: Protecting Vermillion is everyone's job

The Vermillion River is one of the most valuable resources the city of Farmington has available to it. It is a rarity, a trophy trout stream located within easy driving distance of a major metropolitan area. During trout season, it draws anglers from all over the Twin Cities.

That is important for a city like Farmington, which is doing everything it can to bring more people to town. So there was understandably some concern last week when a city employee noticed a rainbow sheen on the water that turned out to be diesel fuel.

As emergency crews worked to contain and clean up the leak, two young Farmington residents stood on a bridge above the river, watching with concern.

"Well, I guess I'm not going to fish here anymore," one said to the other.

That seems to be an unnecessary precaution now that more is known about the leak. Representatives from the Vermillion River Watershed Management Organization believe the leak was contained quickly enough and was small enough that it will not do lasting damage to the river.

That is good news. The Vermillion River is important to Farmington, and preserving it means everyone has to do his or her part to keep it clean. This leak appears to be a significant example of one person acting against the interest of many. But there are other, smaller examples, too. We noticed the other day as we took a photo of the river a collection of trash floating in the water, caught up in low-hanging and pushed up against the trunks of trees. It was unsightly.

That's not the kind of image Farmington wants for this river. It's not good for the Vermillion, and it's not good for Farmington.

With actions big or small, protecting a resource as valuable as the Vermillion is everyone's job.