Monday, September 14, 2015

Master Water Stewards Program Expands to our Watershed

Join Master Water Stewards

The Master Water Stewards Program needs you!
Attend an info session and find out how YOU can work for clean water!

By directly involving the residents within a watershed district, the Master Water Stewards program takes one of Minnesota's most valuable assets, its people, and equips them with the knowledge and skills to help improve water quality at the grassroots level.

The Freshwater Society is just completing its three-year Master Water Stewards pilot program with Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. This partnership supports community leaders to install pollution prevention projects that educate community members, reduce pollutants from urban runoff, and allow more water to soak into the ground before running into storm sewers.

But this is just the beginning. With the successful participation of the residents and neighborhoods from Minnehaha Falls to Lake Minnetonka, the program will be expanding in 2016 to other watershed districts in the metro area including Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed, Rice Creek Watershed District, Capitol Region Watershed District, Nine Mile Creek Watershed District and Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District.
The future goal is to reach all 46 watershed districts in the state of Minnesota.


Work for Clean Water

Are you concerned about keeping nearby lakes and streams clean?

Polluted runoff is the greatest threat to healthy water in Minnesota. Everything on city streets flows to our lakes, creeks and the Mississippi River: pet waste, salt, litter, sediment and plant nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen.

But you can help.

Master Water Stewards will provide training for you to work with other community members In Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District to prevent pollution.

The Master Gardener program has provided a template
for the Master Water Stewards training process.

Modeled after the successful Master Gardener program, the Master Water Stewards Program was created to provide training and support for community members to help solve water resource problems in partnership with local experts and agencies. Volunteer community leaders will participate in a program of courses and projects.

Master Water Stewards will learn about environmental policy, stormwater management, hydrology, aquatic invasive species and much more. Courses begin January 19, 2016, and will be held every other Tuesday from 6-8 pm through July 12. After the coursework, leaders will volunteer fifty hours for the first year on clean water projects and twenty-five hours in future years. RWMWD will cover the cost of the training.
To sign up for the info session, call Sage at 651-792-7958 or email her at

Master Water Stewards is presented by Freshwater Society and sponsored by Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District. 
Stewards are:
  • Community leaders
  • Advocates for clean water
  • Educators who teach about clean water
  • Sources of accurate information on urban water issues
  • Knowledgeable, informed volunteers

    Stewards do:

    • Help neighbors have a positive impact on water quality
    • Help neighbors understand how water flows across their property
    • Act as liaisons between neighbors or community members and landscape designers, other landscape professionals, and local watershed personnel
    • Conduct education and outreach campaigns
    • Act as education and outreach volunteers for agencies and other organizations
    • Work across cultural, political, economic and other social boundaries to achieve clean water goals

    How Are Stewards Trained and Certified?

    Master Water Stewards become certified by participating in training, both in the classroom and out in the community. The courses are led by experts in the fields of hydrology, stormwater best management practices, water policy, community-based social marketing, and rain garden assessment and installation. At the end of the training period, groups of students will work with RWMWD to plan and implement a project that reduces stormwater run-off and a community outreach event. To maintain certification stewards volunteer 50 hours in the first year after training and 25 hours in subsequent years. They also attend eight hours of continuing education classes per year.

    What are some examples of Master Water Stewards projects?
    Master Water Stewards work with a variety of different groups, including residents,
    schools, churches and businesses to help improve water quality in their neighborhood.
    Master Water Stewards not only work with private residents, but also engage schools, churches, businesses, and any organization looking for ways to reduce stormwater runoff from their property.
    In Minnehaha Watershed District, Master Water Stewards Joan Freese and Laurie Bruno installed a large rain garden at the Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer on Penn Avenue in Minneapolis. This 400-square foot rain garden was installed to capture runoff from the church’s parking lot. Joan and Laurie also conducted several outreach efforts including a creek walk, a walk-through showing where their rain garden would be, a lesson on how to care for storm drains and a presentation at the church’s adult education hour. For their final event, they had a table at the church's annual block party where they gave out educational materials and free leaf bags.

    Master Water Stewards Joan Freese and Laurie Bruno help a Minneapolis church
    install a rain garden and offer education at its annual block party.

    Brett Eidem, Cost Share Grant Administrator for Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, says that one of the largest projects he's seen from Master Water Stewards to date has been at a townhome association, where they will be retrofitting its paved common area. Terry Hammink, Master Water Steward and townhome association resident, has headed up the effort to reduce the townhomes polluted runoff by 99% by capturing and treating over 387,000 gallons of water a year onsite. The retrofit will have a major impact on the quantity and quality of water reaching Minnehaha Creek, Lake Nokomis and the Mississippi River.

    Join Master Water Stewards and become a part of an empowered team of leaders across the Metro Area helping to improve water quality! Get started by calling Sage at 651-792-7958.

    Please spread the word!

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