Rain barrel and compost bins sales, free rain garden workshops, bring water quality education to your fourth grade classroom and more in the February Water Links

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Water Links provides monthly updates from the West Metro Water Alliance (WMWA). Water Links features news, events, project updates and tips related to water quality issues.



WMWA is a working group of agencies with a common interest in water quality and stormwater management. The group collaborates on various projects related to education and outreach on water quality issues.

WMWA partners include:

Bassett Creek watershed

Elm Creek watershed

Shingle Creek & West Mississippi River watersheds

Hennepin County

Three Rivers Park District

Freshwater Society

Several cities


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Bring water quality education to your fourth grade classroom

WMWA Educator

The West Metro Water Alliance (WMWA) is continuing to offer hands-on curriculum to fourth grade students through the Watershed PREP education program. Using an interactive watershed model, fourth graders learn how their actions impact water quality and what they can do to protect nearby lakes, rivers and streams. Lessons are offered free-of-charge to schools in the WMWA region.

WMWA recently received a Hennepin County Green Partners Environmental Education grant that will enable us to bring Watershed PREP to more classrooms. If you are interested in providing your students with an exciting, hands-on, standards-based understanding of water quality, contact judie@jass.biz.

Second group of Master Water Stewards begin training and project planning

Master Water Stewards

The second group of Master Water Stewards began their 50-hour classroom and field training course on January 21. After gaining first-hand experience with techniques that protect water quality, the stewards will volunteer 50 hours in their communities to implement pollution prevention and water protection projects.

The Master Water Stewards program trains, certifies and supports motivated leaders who act as liaisons between community members and landscape and watershed professionals in working together to protect water. This group of Master Water Stewards includes bee keepers, environmental sciences students, Green Corps members, engineers, educators and more from Edina, Hopkins, Minneapolis, Richfield and St. Louis Park. Look for “Clean water starts here” signs to identify Master Water Stewards' projects.

Calling all student artists: enter the state-fish art contest

Do you know a student who loves science and art? Encourage them to enter the  16th annual state-fish art contest! The state-fish art contest is a successful nationwide conservation education program that combines science and art to capture the imagination of students and increase awareness and admiration for the aquatic environment.

To enter, students submit an original illustration and a short essay about their chosen state fish. The contest is open to students in grades K-12, and entries must be submitted by March 31, 2014. Students can receive awards, prizes and national recognition.  

Learn about the rules and how to enter.

Clean Water grants will fund water quality improvement projects for Shingle Creek

Erosion on Shingle Creek

The Single Creek Watershed Commission was recently awarded two grants from the state’s Clean Water Fund to improve two sections of Shingle Creek in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center. The funding will be used to restore eroded streambanks, plant native vegetation, enhance fish and insect habitat, and install a new walking trail to ensure easy public access to Shingle Creek. Learn more.


Raingarden classes

Are you interested in learning about how rain gardens work and how you can design your own? Free classes will be offered from March to May to help you get started with creating your own rain garden or improving your existing rain garden. There will be tips on how to tap into free site visits and access grants from your local watershed, as well as information on how to analyze your rain garden, test your soil for infiltration, and define your drainage zone. The classes are free but registration is required by calling 651-249-2170 or emailing info@maplewoodnaturecenter.com. Learn more about the rain garden classes.


Rain barrel and compost bin sales

Rain barrel

Spring is right around the corner, which is a great time to start composting in your backyard and collecting rainwater for reuse! Rain barrels allows you to capture rainwater from your roof or downspout that you can reuse in your lawn or garden, reducing runoff and conserving water. Composting is an easy way to recycle your food and yard waste  into a nutrient-rich fertilizer.

The Recycling Association of Minnesota has scheduled event sales this spring throughout the Twin Cities in Coon Rapids, Minneapolis, Roseville, St. Louis Park and St. Paul. Compost bins will be available for $55, rain barrels will be available for $69. Kitchen pails for collecting food scraps will also be available.

You must preorder rain barrels or compost bins for pickup on an event day. Learn more and place your order.