Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rediscover the Magic of Winter! Come To Phalen Freeze Fest On February 7

Winter is messy, and so is art! So let's have fun with it!
By Sage Passi

Don’t let the icy winds, dark cold nights and snow-piled cars defeat you! Transform the elements of winter into something delightful!

Rediscover the magic of winter at the first annual Phalen Freeze Fest, a celebration at Lake Phalen where we’ll light the darkness and warm the air with art, food, fishing and fun activities. Join us around the fire to hear the Ojibwe legend of Shingebiss, the story of the determined merganser who refuses to be defeated by the Winter Maker. Help us dramatize the storytelling with parade-style puppets and masks. Inspired by this plucky duck, we'll fish through the ice, build snow caves, snowshoe and have food by the fire. Enjoy a StoryWalk of the picture book Shingebiss by Nancy Van Laan, with woodcut illustrations by Betsy Bowen, posted page by page along a trail lit with luminaries.

This is an outdoor winter celebration for the whole family!

Left (Book cover) Shingebiss, an Ojibwe legend, tells the story of a merganser who stands up to Winter Maker's challenges.
Right: Three species of mergansers can be seen at Lake Phalen at various times of the year.  The common merganser (Shingebiss in Ojibwe) is pictured here. 

Partners in the Phalen Freeze Fest include the City of St. Paul, St. Paul Parks and Recreation, Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District, the Minnesota DNR, Fishing in the Neighborhood, Urban Roots, St. Paul Public Library and Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment. 

Partners for this fantastic event.

Faith Krogstad, St. Paul Parks and Recreation Education
Coordinator and the lead for this event (left) assists a teacher
and her daughter in puppet-making for Phalen Freeze Fest
at Duluth Case Rec Center.

Phalen Freeze Fest

Saturday, February 7, 5 pm – 8 pm

Lake Phalen Park, Picnic pavilion/amphitheater

1600 Phalen Drive, St. Paul

Contact Faith Krogstad at 651-632-2455.

Harding High Earth Club creates snow puppets for the Phalen Freeze Fest.

Staff from St. Paul Parks and Recreation and Watershed staff are busy preparing for this event. Puppet –making workshops are being held at two city recreation centers. The Watershed District is working with classes at American Indian Magnet, Farnsworth Aerospace, Harding High School Earth Club and St. Peter School to create puppets and props to help tell the story of Shingebiss on February 7 and to help with other activities that night.
Paper mache puppet-making in progress.

Puppet Making Workshops: Drop in during any workshop over the next several weeks to create parade style puppets and props for use on February 7 at Phalen Freeze Fest. These puppets will tell the Ojibwe legend of Shingebiss, the merganser duck who won’t be defeated by the Winter Maker.

Duluth & Case Recreation Center,
1020 Duluth Street, Saint Paul
4:00-6:00 pm

Thursday Jan 22, Monday Jan 26 & Monday Feb 2

Hancock Recreation Center,
1610 Hubbard Avenue, Saint Paul
4:00-6:00 pm
Every Tuesday through 2/3/15

Registration to either location is helpful but not necessary.  Just stop in!

Link HERE for the flyer for these workshops

For more information about these workshops contact Faith Krogstad at 651-632-2455.

An animal puppet in the works.

Link HERE for the flyer on this event.

American Indian Magnet fourth graders in Kate Swensen's science class model their Shingebiss (merganser) bills for their puppets they will bring to the storytelling circle at the Phalen Freeze Fest.

 We hope to see you there!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Reflections on Retirement: Chapter 1

By Cliff Aichinger
January 9, 2015


Cliff Aichinger, retired RWMWD Administrator, takes time to throw out some line.
I have been asked to continue to contribute to the Ripple after my retirement. I proposed that I provide a series of articles that include some reflections on my past work with the District and reflections on what I had learned in the process. I proposed also that I could be honest and less politically correct about some things I had learned about work with residents, local government staff and elected officials and state and federal government agencies. I’ll take a stab at this over the next several months and I welcome any exchange of comments.

Cliff and his wife, Anne, adventuring.
I’ve had many people ask me about my experience so far with retirement, so I thought I would first pass along a few comments for the curious. It is kind of like when people ask what it's like to be married or being a grandfather. It’s different, but not significantly different. I’ve been retired from the Watershed for about a month and a half. Since I left I have had a retirement party, office holiday party and personal holiday preparations, shopping, family houseguests, and the normal large holiday dinner parties and clean up. I’ve also had the norovirus and a nasty cold for over a week and counting. I’ve also been busy dealing with pension, insurance and investment issues. I didn’t realize how much time this would consume.

Cliff and his granddaughter enjoying
time together.
It’s been busy and I haven’t really been able to feel like I’m retired. I have enjoyed being able to sleep later, not getting up with an alarm clock, being able to thoroughly read the paper every day, and getting regular exercise. I’ve also enjoyed not having to go out to a cold car early every morning and having to drive every day. There have actually been days where I haven’t used my car.

Getting back to my “Reflections,” I have come up with four topics that I would like to cover over the next several months, as space will allow in the Ripple. I’d like to make sure everyone understands that these articles will contain editorial comments that are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of current staff or the Board of Managers individually or collectively.

My four topics are:

  • The primary contributors to the District’s success during my tenure.
  • My greatest accomplishments.
  • What I have learned over my career (This obviously will be a condensed list, but may also be covered over several months)
  • Future challenges for Watershed Management.

Chapter 1: The Primary Contributors to the District's Success During My Tenure

If the reader is familiar with me or has heard me speak at any of my retirement events, you will know that I worked with the District throughout its evolution as a Watershed District. Its growth from no staff and a meager budget to the District’s current 13 full-time staff and $7 million budget has been incremental and strategic. However, there have been several key factors that have contributed to the District’s successful growth and development.

The number one reason, in my opinion, is Board leadership and having an effective Board of Managers. I’m not just saying this to give polite credit to our bosses. I truly believe this and I think comparing the RWMWD to other Watersheds in the Twin Cities Metro Area and Minnesota can prove this. I’ve mentioned Roger Lake’s role in my career. He was

While several Board Managers have served longer, this same
group of five were a team from 1994 to 2012. From left to
right, Jack Frost, Paul Ellefson, Pam Skinner, Bob Johnson,
and Roger Lake.

instrumental in maintaining the Board’s focus on the task of meeting organizational requirements, focusing on the goals of the District, and commitment to planning and good science. Roger had a calm leadership style that insured the involvement of the entire Board in decisions. He ran meetings without dominating. He was always well prepared and asked that of other Board members as well. We have been lucky to have this continue with our current President, Paul Ellefson.

One key factor in establishing an effective Board is to clearly define roles and responsibilities. Our Board revisited this task every year and continually reinforced its role as a policy board that approved plans, set budgets and adopted work programs that gave direction to staff. The Board was effective as a group. The leader is one factor, but if the Board can’t agree, make good decisions, avoid conflict, and work effectively with staff, the best intentions can be ineffective.

Establishing roles and responsibilities also applied to its Administrator and the staff. We worked effectively because we understood these roles and they stayed well defined. The Board charged the Administrator with the job of being the liaison to the Board, and being responsible for the budget and work program, managing consultants, and hiring and supervising staff. The staff reported to the Administrator and not to the Board.
A Staff and Board Member meeting.
RWMWD's current Board of Managers, from left to right,
Jen Oknich, Marj Ebensteiner, Paul Ellefson, Bob Johnson,
and Pam Skinner.

A second key factor in our success was having a Board that was willing to spend the funds necessary to accomplish our goals, complete needed studies, and implement innovative projects and research. This is coupled with the Board’s willingness to allow staff to implement required or mandated programs using innovative approaches and not just “do the minimum.”

A third key factor is the use of talented and experienced consultants. This isn’t a plug for our current consultant group (engineering, legal, financial), but I can say, from my perspective and experience, the assistance of our consultants has been a direct contributor to our success. Watershed management is not an exact process. We have options and alternatives for how to address our issues and problems. This requires the ability to have honest and open discussions with the various professionals involved. This discussion needs to include the entire team – staff, consultants, and Board. One measure of our past success has been our ability to avoid substantial and expensive legal entanglements. Our approach was always to work with any resident, business or community to understand their issue and try to resolve the concern outside the courts. I think this approach has led to a positive view of the District staff and Board. As many of you know, this requires a legal team that considers the best interests of the District.

The fourth key factor in our success is our experienced staff. We have always tried to hire the best talent available for our needs and staff that fit with our organization. An effective team is as important as the individuals. Our approach has always been to consult staff and our consultants to identify the best approach to an issue or problem. We always tried to explore options that can accomplish our objective. Sometimes this leads to a study, a research project, or a staff program or project.
Current RWMWD Staff (pre-Cliff's Retirement).
A fifth factor is the District’s drive for continuous improvement and innovation. Since the practice of watershed management is constantly evolving, we are often trying management approaches that are new. This has resulted in the District receiving considerable attention. I think these innovations have contributed to advancing the art and practice of watershed management in the Minnesota and beyond. 

Advancements in watershed management and improvement in the quality of our resources requires that local governments, Districts and non-profits, invest in new technologies and projects that are often on the cutting edge. There is also a need for additional research on these practices and alternative methods that may be more effective and have an improved cost-benefit. Not all Water Management Organizations practice this approach.

One of my continuing professional interests is developing an approach that will better define the continuing research needs for watershed management and developing a collaborative and sustainable funding strategy for implementation of this research. Water Management Organizations and local governments have a number of regulatory requirements to improve water quality and very little guidance on the best and most cost-effective implementation practices.

There are other factors that have contributed to our success, but these are my top five. I would encourage comments and I will try to reply.

Glass Artist Eric Sommers Honors Outstanding Watershed Stewards in 2014

By Sage Passi

Eric Sommer, the glass artist behind the 2014 Watershed Excellence Awards.
Eric Sommers is a local glass blower and multi-talented artist who submitted the final winning proposal for the Watershed District’s 2014 Watershed Excellence Awards for 2014. Each of the recipients of these awards received one of Eric’s unique and customized creations. His winning design produced 6 clear glass-blown spheres with individualized colorations that evoke the nuances of water.

RWMWD initiated its Watershed Excellence Awards Program in 2013. That year, an artist Aaron Dysart created the design and crafted the physical awards presented for six categories of excellence in watershed stewardship. An image of the 2013 award is available HERE. In 2014 a call for artists went out into the community in late summer to solicit design suggestions. Three proposals were received. Each artist who submitted one received $50 for their concept plan. The Citizen Advisory Commission reviewed the proposals and selected Sommers to be the artist to produce his design for this year’s awards. The Watershed District intends to solicit new design concepts each year for the award program.

Sommers, the glass artist explains his process of creating the awards for this year,

“In its liquid state (2100 degrees F) molten glass is the consistency of honey in a jar.”
A definition for "gathering," one of the glass-blowing terms Eric refers to is this: “The process of free-blowing involves the blowing of short puffs of air into a molten portion of glass called a '"gather" which has been spooled at one end of the blowpipe.” [Source: Wikipedia]
Eric explains further, 
"The first gather of clear glass adheres to a heated steel rod and is about the size of my thumb. A thread of blue glass is attached spiraling around the clear core and heated until smooth. The process is repeated a second time.

The piece grows to full size on the third gather and is shaped into a symmetrical sphere. The last step is to attach a larger blue thread around the bottom half of the sphere, below the equator and above the bottom third. Next it is heated enough to half melt the blue thread which can then be pulled with a metal hook tool to make a blue wave pattern. This attachment is organic and textured with the final shaping done with a graphite paddle or cherry wood block.”

Eric completed the process of making the awards by mounting the spheres on a block of cherry. He says that’s one of his favorite kinds of wood. He placed a piece of white marble on top of the wood block and had the awardees’ names and the titles of their awards engraved in the wood.

“Glass blowing hooks you,” comments Eric. He studied at St. Cloud State University in the mid 1980’s where he became a regular in the glass blowing studio on campus. Prior to that he learned pottery first at Robbinsdale High School and then went to North Hennepin Community College where he “threw pottery” for two years and as he puts it, ”I got up the guts to do the glass blowing thing.”

Heating up blown glass in a fiery furnace.
(not an actual picture of Eric)

“It’s an incredible material. I love working with clay too. I have lots of interests as most artists and creative thinkers do."

There is a connection between Eric’s art, where he lives and the watershed accomplishments he is honoring with his creations. He explains,

"My wife’s and my home of 22 years faces the Mississippi in Brooklyn Center next to North Mississippi Regional Park. Dawn’s career with Three Rivers Park District and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board shares in emphasizing the importance of clean water. The parallels of the art medium I have been fascinated with for over 25 years and the Watershed District’s mission of clean water are apparent."

In his design proposal, Eric described the symbolism in his art work;

“The sphere represents our shared earth,

the clear glass our intent to protect its amazing resources

and the colorant reflects the movement of water that gives our blue planet life.”

That’s a strong visual message that honors the commitment and achievements of each of our Watershed Heroes in 2015. Thanks, Eric for your artistic efforts!

Award winners Ginny Newman (middle left) and Bev Blomgren
(middle right) receiving Sommer's custom glass pieces in
recognition of their outstanding efforts in youth engagement
through service learning projects in St. Paul Schools.

Mystery of the Month - January

Left: Eric Korte, Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator, navigates the Mississippi River in search of the Beltline outlet.
Right: Dave Vlasin, Water Quality Technician at RWMWD, gives a thumbs-up while deep in the Beltline.

What are the Two Water Quality Technicians Up To Now?

Dave Vlasin seems to enjoy confined spaces. Eric Korte loves the wind through his hair. How are these activities so closely related?

Two words: The Beltline.

The Beltline is a giant pipe that carries water from the end of the Phalen Chain of Lakes to the Mississippi. Formerly this job was done by the Phalen Creek. Constructed in the 1920s, it helps to collect storm sewer runoff from a great bulk of the District (see map below), and directs it to the Mississippi River.  Because it is the pathway through which water from so much of the District leaves our system, monitoring what goes through it is essential.
Beginning at the outlets of Lake Phalen and Beaver Lake, water runoff flows through the Beltline and out to the Mississippi.  The Beltline drains the entire area outlined in red above! The green star in the map shows where the Beltline pipe outlets to the Mississippi. Click to enlarge.

For a more detailed history of the beltline, follow the link below.

So, what exactly are Eric and Dave doing in the beltline? With help from Met Council and Teledyne ISCO staff, Eric and Dave recently installed ISCO’s LazerFlow system. Attached to the ceiling of the beltline tunnel, this important piece of equipment has the capability of calculating water velocity and volume no matter the water depth. In contrast our old system would lose the signal if the water level would drop below one foot, leaving us with an incomplete dataset. 

This improved system allows for constant, accurate flow (velocity) and level (volume) measurements that will provide a complete data set for the water quality team as well as Met Council to use in assessing further water quality needs. So if, for example, a water quality sample is taken and determined to have X amount of phosphorus per liter, we can better determine the total nutrient load headed down the Beltline pipe if we know how much water (how many liters) are traveling through it.

Below is a series of pictures illustrating the installation of the new flow meter and the path the water takes to its destination in the Mississippi River.
Left: Dave descends down the manhole into the Beltline.  Middle: Eric lowers down scaffolding and equipment for the installation.  Right: Scaffolding successfully set up inside the beltline. Note the scale of the beltline relative to the scaffolding and human figures.

Travis DeGroot from ISCO sales helps install the LazerFlow.  Middle: LazerFlow set in place on the ceiling of the Beltline.  Right: Surrounded by spray paint dashes, a laser beam (small red dot in center) shoots to the ground of the Beltline to measure storm runoff flow.

Left and right: The unsuspecting boater might never imagine this is the stormwater outlet for parts of East St. Paul, Maplewood, Little Canada, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Lake, North St. Paul, and Oakdale.
Not only has the Water Quality team been busy installing new equipment in the Beltline. They are also starting preparations for a big inspection of the pipe that happens every 5 years. This inspection will take roughly 16 full work days and will involve both BARR Engineering and Watershed Staff. Staff will be walking the entire length of the Beltline pipe looking for anything out of the ordinary (cracks, seeps, debris, etc), with hopes that there will be nothing out of the ordinary to find.

Stay tuned, and hopefully we can get some more photos from what lies beneath!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Phalen Chain of Lakes Trip

By William Zajicek, RWMWD Citizen Advisory Commission Member

Romi Slowiak, Zajicek's wife and co-pilot for the adventure

I've thought about going up the Phalen Chain of Lakes for years, decades to be honest. Like many things that seem interesting but too close to home they are put off to a time when everything more immediate is done. I had paddled from Phalen to the weir in the channel between Round Lake and Keller but no further. I've biked up to Keller Lake and looked at its connecting channel to Gervais Lake. For a time I believed that Vadnais Lake was next but looking at the map it was apparent that Kohlman was next and Vadnais would be very difficult to get to. In fact Vadnais isn't part of the same watershed. I had no idea that Kohlman connected to Markham Pond and then Casey Lake in North Saint Paul.

I've never actually owned a canoe. My family had canoes so growing up I learned well the skills needed to use this mode of transportation. A friend stored his at my house for over a decade. I would take it out on Phalen on occasion. Then he had a greater use for it. Recently my new renter brought along 2 kayaks when she moved in; a single and a double kayak. So I suggested to my wife that before the snow flew we make a go of the lake chain this year. This would be the year that I finally did the Phalen Chain of Lakes.

Navigating the Lake Phalen picnic area "moat" that is north
of the picnic pavilion, northwest of Lake Phalen.

On a Thursday in late September with a beautiful sunny day ahead of us we prepared the double Kayak for the trip. It's worth pointing out that a kayak is very different from a canoe and a double kayak is very different from a single. There's good deal to be adjusted to fit 2 in a kayak; seat spacing being the biggest issue. It's a very tight fit and if the spacing isn't right your legs will be cramped or you will be slapping the front paddler with your paddle from the rear. There is also seat angle adjustment but we didn't figure that out until the trip was over. The angle of the seat will definitely affect lower back fatigue.

We planned to start at 8:00 A.M. to give us plenty of time to reach Kohlman, have lunch, and return before an early evening meeting that I had on my schedule. After getting a slow start, making lunch, adjusting the kayak a couple of times, etc. it was 10:30 A.M. before we set off from a fishing stair just south of Sand Point on the east side of Lake Phalen.

With my wife in the steering position, we headed across the lake to the picnic island moat north of the pavilion on the west side of the lake. We followed the moat to the newly rebuilt bridge across the channel to Round Lake. The channels are full of wildlife at that time of day. We chased-up numerous groups of 3 to 5 mallards and single wood ducks along the way.

Mallards in Round Lake just northwest of Phalen.

Our more persistent friends were the bitterns. They would inevitably fly just 100 feet up the channel hoping I guess that we wouldn't come up that way. One started seriously complaining after the third time we chased him up. Finally as we were entering Keller he became distracted by a small fish and let us go by. I suppose the upside for him was that he had found lunch.
The channel also posed the single real tough spot on the Chain of Lakes; the weir before Lake Keller. There is no good way to get around it. Portaging apparently wasn't in mind when the dam was installed. I was hoping there would be three to four inches of water going over the dam but there was only an inch or so. On one side of the channel there are 3' high blocks of limestone and on the other side there was a steep bank of field stone covered with weeds and brush. No easy way to get out of the kayak much less pull the kayak out around the dam and back in again. We ended up more or less dragging the kayak over the dam. Neither a safe maneuver nor good for the kayak. *
A green heron fishes the shoreline.

Pushing out into Keller my wife was tiring of steering and we attempted to pull in to park on the southern end but the shore was held together with chain link fence. Also not a good shore stop surface for a kayak. We went further north to the island to stop; changing positions and took a break. It was already 11:30 and I was beginning to wonder if we were actually going to make it to Kohlman.

Coming up on Keller Island and picnic area.
From the island, we paddled into Spoon Lake which is really a channel between Keller and Gervais. First, one goes under the Highway 61 bridge into the Spoon Lake channel - very noisy! The new hiking/bike marsh boardwalk along much of eastern side of Keller is on the right side of the channel as we moved into Spoon Lake. Spoon Lake has a public picnic area on the east side and a public landing on the west. Then we went under a much more subdued bridge of Arcade St. into Gervais Lake.

Gervais has a very different feel than Phalen and Keller. First, except for a public landing and beach on the far western side it is all private property. Second, it feels much larger than Phalen. It is larger but only by about 15% or around 30 acres. It is broader than Phalen which gives it a bigger feel. It's also quite a deep lake with a max depth of 45 feet and an average depth of 22'. Phalen for comparison has a hole as deep as 91 feet but the average depth is about the same as Gervais. I suspect this significant average depth makes it a great boating and fishing lake. We paddled around the eastern shore of Gervais taking note of the variety of houses along the shore. They vary from elegant lake homes to oddly modified former cottages to really cute cottages left in something resembling their original construction. The channel to Kolhman is not easy to find as you come around the east shore so look for the Keller Parkway bridge and aim for that. The channel will appear as you approach the bridge.

Left: The Little Canada water tower can be seen from Lake Gervais. 
Right: The channel between Gervais and Kohlman can be hard to find!

An egret balances on a small branch above Kohlman Lake.
Moving into Kohlman, one is back into the marsh lands and once through the channel it opens into a pretty good sized lake. It is almost more marsh than lake when you consider the max depth to be only 9'. On the far end are the KSTP trio of radio antennas. That end of the lake is all marsh. As there did not appear to be public access on Kohlman we paddled to the far end of the lake to the channel which would connect to Markham Pond. At this point it was 12:40 P.M., so we had made the distance in just over 2 hours including breaks. There we found a tree that we used as dock to bring the kayak up on. We got out onto something resembling solid ground, had lunch and watched the egrets on Kohlman. One of them landed in the top of tree near where we were eating. He balanced on a thin limb for nearly 15 minutes while looking around and then he was off.

On our return we ran into two other kayakers who commented on how well synchronized my wife and I were at paddling. I'm glad it looked that way to others but to us it was a real challenge. Paddling a kayak is a very different thing than paddling a canoe and paddling a double kayak is another level of difficulty. First you can't use the same strokes. In steering a canoe the main stroke you use is a "J" stroke. You cannot use a J stroke in a double kayak. You will hit your bow crew in the head. You can use a "C" stroke but with difficulty because you have to come close to matching the stroking of the front crew member. The method I found that worked the best was staying in step with the front crew member but pulling harder on one side vs the other to maintain direction. Basically you were trying to constantly make small corrections. If you started to make large changes you would quickly find yourself over steering.

Frankly, the whole thing was pretty exhausting. I was completely pooped by the time we got back to our fishing steps at Lake Phalen but we had done it and it had been a perfect day. We finished at about 3:30 P.M. We pulled up the kayak and took it up to front of the house, dropped it on the lawn, took a short nap, and I made it to my meeting that evening.

A full day for sure.

The route, in red.  Click to enlarge.
* We are currently researching entry/exit portage options and determining the economic feasibility of such a project element.

Cost Share Assistance Now Available for 2015!

By Paige Ahlborg

A thriving residential rain garden completed in 2012 with help from
RMWWD Cost Share funding. Photo from 2014.

RWMWD is now accepting applications for the 2015 BMP Incentive Program! The program offers technical assistance and cost share funds to support projects that improve water quality. Funds are available to residential homeowners and large property owners including schools, churches, townhome associations, commercial businesses, and government entities. Below are the coverage allowances and criteria for the cost share program. Additional information, including a map of priority areas and application materials, can be found on our Best Management Practices (BMP) Incentive Program webpage. 

2015 Coverage Criteria

Property Type
Type of Projects
Cost Share %
Maximum $
Board Approval
Application Deadline
Homeowner designed rain gardens
Rolling Year Round
Native vegetation, bioretention without roof or street drainage
Rolling Year Round
Bioretention with street or roof drainage, pervious pavement, shoreline restoration, green roof
Rolling Year Round
Commercial Church
School Government
Habitat Restoration
Yes if over $5,000
Board Meeting Deadlines
Shoreland Restoration
100% below
100 yr flood elev. with actively eroding banks
Yes if over $5,000
Board Meeting Deadlines
Water Quality BMPs
Yes if over $5,000
Board Meeting Deadlines
75% in non-priority drainage areas
100% in priority drainage areas

2014 BMP Incentive Program Highlights

2014 was another very successful year for our BMP Incentive Program also known as our water quality cost share program. This program was implemented in 2006 with the intent of helping homeowners and other property owners including schools, homeowners associations, government entities, churches, and commercial sites design and fund BMPs on their properties. This year we gave out 34 grant awards for a total of $706,000. 18 of those were to private homeowners and the rest were broken up between private commercial sites, apartment complexes, various local government projects, and churches. A few projects are highlighted below.

* Washington Conservation District (WCD), who offers technical design on cost share projects within Washington County, took advantage of our cost share program from the other side to help improve their new office site in Oakdale. Their new office drains towards Battle Creek Lake, and WCD wanted to retrofit the property to manage stormwater flowing off the roof and parking lot. This fall they installed a green overflow parking area which is pervious and provides a place for rain and snowmelt to soak into the ground. They also installed a bioretention basin and native plantings to manage stormwater flowing off the parking lot. 

* Maplebrook Pet Care Center in Maplewood installed two rain gardens and a dry creek bed this summer to help with drainage issues they were experiencing on their property. Three parking stalls were removed for the installation of one of the rain gardens. These rain gardens capture roof drainage and parking lot runoff which otherwise would run directly into Kohlman Creek.

* 3M Company off I94 and McKnight Road in Maplewood is currently in the process of constructing a new laboratory, office building, parking lot, and roadway. Stormwater management was required for the project through our permitting process. 3M chose to install a treatment system under the new parking area to capture runoff. The system was oversized to provide additional water quality treatment off the parking lot, and 3M applied cost share funds for the additional treatment. The underground treatment system was installed this fall, but the project will not be complete until fall of 2015.

* This fall the City of Roseville installed a series of best management practices (BMPs) in the Sherren-Dellwood area to minimize drainage issues in the neighborhood. Two underground infiltration trenches and one underground gallery were installed to capture street runoff. The underground systems have 48 inch perforated pipe with 2 feet of rock storage to help filter stormwater and are located under Dellwood Street. One rain garden was installed in a residential back yard to minimize ponding water experienced in this yard by allowing water to soak into the ground. The BMP series will help alleviate local flooding and surcharging of storm sewers in the 10 acre drainage area. The City of Roseville will monitor the system to ensure it is functioning and will perform maintenance as needed.  

Is 2015 Your Year for Cost Share?

Despite all this winter weather, it is never too early to start thinking about installing water quality BMPs on your property. Visit our website for more information or call with questions about the program. Technical service for the cost share program is provided by Ramsey and Washington Conservation Districts. Please call the numbers below to schedule a site visit to see what opportunities are available on your property. We look forward to hearing from you!

Ramsey County Residents:

A 2011 residential rain garden project done through
the RWMWD cost-share program.

Michael Schumann
Office: 651-266-7275

Washington County Residents:
Tara Kline
Office: 651-275-1136 x28