Minneapolis awarded for water quality innovations
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) has named its Watershed Heroes of 2010, and Minneapolis is among them for its aggressive goals and actions to protect water quality in Minneapolis and downstream. The watershed’s Innovation in Government Award recognizes Minneapolis’ leadership in its innovative programs and policies. Minneapolis’ Sustainability Initiative links health, economy and the environment by targeting key areas and creating interdepartmental teams to develop creative approaches to problem solving.
Reducing the pollutants that enter lakes and waterways from stormwater runoff is a responsibility of the City and all residents, property owners and visitors. Rain runs across surfaces such as roofs, streets, driveways and compacted lawns, picking up pollutants as it flows. City practices that keep pollutants out of our waterways include rain gardens, wetland areas, grassy swales, pervious pavers, underground treatment chambers and street sweeping.
Recent City of Minneapolis and community activities
- Installed innovative stormwater management infrastructure on Marquette and Second avenues to create growing spaces that support mature trees.
- Adopted planning and zoning measures to reduce stormwater runoff, including new standards for plazas and revised off-street parking requirements for certain new developments.
- More than 2,000 volunteers removed 20,000 pounds of trash from their watersheds at 41 locations on Earth Day.
- Trained 676 residents to design and install rain gardens at workshops held by Metro Blooms. Metro Blooms is this year’s MCWD Watershed Hero in the Citizen Engagement category.
- The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) and Friends of Diamond Lake completed the Diamond Lake Management Plan aimed at improving access and water quality.
- The MPRB’s environmental education program served 15,000 people with more than 1,410 program hours at 75 sites and raised awareness and understanding of water quality issues.
- Expanded comprehensive water monitoring to include five more stormwater sites and emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupters.
- Reduced stormwater volume and contaminant outflow at North Mississippi Park by installing rain gardens, ponds and pervious surfaces.
- Permeable pavement replaced impervious paved areas at the Lake Harriet Band Shell.
- Piloted a project using beet juice on the pavement of some City properties to pre-treat for snow and ice control, to decrease salt use. Salt can find its way to water bodies and harm aquatic life.
- Held a Canines For Clean Water summer movie series. At several events, dog owners took a Clean Water Pledge to dispose of dog waste responsibly.
- The new Target Center green roof, largest in the state and 10th largest in the world, will capture one million gallons of stormwater each year.
On Oct. 8, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District will honor residents and organizations having made significant contributions to water quality at its annual "Watershed Heroes" celebration. MCWD honors recipients in several different categories because there are so many ways that people can contribute to the health of the watershed. For more information on the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and its 2010 Watershed heroes, visit www.minnehahacreek.org.
Creating a more sustainable community is a top priority for Minneapolis leaders. The quality of life in Minneapolis is linked to the health and well-being of our community and our environment.
Published Aug. 31, 2010