Steve Rasmuson, Sydney Paredes, Don Hansen and Rita Rasmuson at the St. Croix River Association annual gathering, after the Rasmusons had accepted the award for their work though the Watershed Cafe.


An Osceola restaurant has earned this year’s St. Croix Watershed Stewardship Award. In May, the St. Croix River Association recognized the Watershed Cafe and its owners, Rita and Steve Rasmuson, for their contributions to stewardship of the St. Croix River and its broader watershed. 

Rita and Steve opened the Watershed Cafe in July 2014, and continue to carry out their original vision of operating a sustainably-sourced, community-focused restaurant along the St. Croix River. The Rasmusons honor the surrounding natural resources and the vibrant community by cultivating partnerships which support their environmental stewardship. They do so by collaborating with local farmers who provide much of the fresh produce, dairy products, meats, and cheeses. They highlight these small business in the restaurant and on their Facebook page. Rita and Steve bring wholesome, local foods to the table for patrons to enjoy. 

The Rasmusons highlight the artwork of amateur and professional artists throughout the cafe. Currently on display are photos of the St. Croix and Namegakon Rivers, taken by renowned photographer, Craig Blacklock, as featured in his recently published photo book, “St. Croix & Namekagon Rivers: An Enduring Gift.” 

The Watershed Café is the chosen gathering place for conservation collaborations and river related celebrations. However, the Rasmusons’ influence goes far beyond the doors of the Watershed Cafe. Rita actively encourages conservation of the watershed by leading presentations for local school children and actively encourages conservation in the course of doing business in the area. They donate significant time and talent in support of SCRA’s mission and work. 

Dan Willius, former SCRA Board Chair remarked, “Before they even understood the geographic scope of the watershed, Rita and Steve chose the name “Watershed Cafe” because of the strong connection they felt there would be between their new business and the St. Croix River. They wholeheartedly support the people and organizations working to protect the St. Croix. In particular, they have become strong supporters of the St. Croix River Association and the National Park Service.”

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