Good Neighbor News - January 2020 - Yard Care Tips, Community Cleanups and More

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Mississippi Watershed Management Organization


Audrey Cullen

Good Neighbor of the Month:

Smart Salting Advocate Audrey Cullen

Like many residents of our watershed, Audrey Cullen sees a lot of local businesses over-salting their sidewalks and parking lots. But unlike many others, she does something about it. A Master Water Steward and volunteer smart salting advocate, Cullen does outreach to property managers and maintenance crews to help them understand the harmful impacts of road salt and deicing chemicals on water quality. She encourages them to adopt smart salting practices and get certified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). She even developed her own handouts, which she uses alongside materials from the MWMO (see below). We salute Audrey for going above and beyond to be a good neighbor to the Mississippi River.

Audrey's Tips for Talking to Business Owners about Salt Use:

"Ask to speak to a manager. Start the conversation about salt use and what it's doing to our lakes and infrastructure, while acknowledging their concerns regarding safety and liabilities. Let them know about the MPCA's Smart Salting Certification, where they can get educated on saving money and taking better care of our water resources. You can also leave them a tip card from Clean Water Minnesota."

Good Neighbor Tips

Resources to Help Promote Smart Salting

A bucket filled with rock salt.

Those who read this newsletter regularly already know that excessive use of road salt is a major environmental problem. (If you don't, here's a nice primer on the issue from Ensia.) If you're looking for resources to help promote awareness of smart salting techniques and their benefits, we've put together a few handouts you can easily print at home on standard letter-sized paper.  You can download these resources for your own use or to teach others:

As always, you can find more information and tips on our Snow and Ice Removal page.

Video: How to Remove Compacted Snow with an Ice Chisel

Do you have a sidewalk covered in compacted snow and/or ice? If your shovel can’t quite do the job, try an ice chisel instead!

Also known as an ice scraper or sidewalk scraper, these simple tools are great for removing ice and compacted snow from pavement. Having the right tools for the job will help you avoid over-using salt and deicing chemicals, which find their way into our rivers, lakes and groundwater.

Ice chisel YouTube video thumbnail.

Upcoming Events

Minneapolis Community Connections Conference

Saturday, February 1, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Community Connections Conference is an annual free event that fosters connections between the residents of Minneapolis, community groups, neighborhoods and local government. Stop by the MWMO table, grab a Good Neighbor Guide and tell us your priorities for our upcoming Watershed Management Plan update. Details…

Relief — Open-House Event

Saturday, February 1, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Socialize over coffee, stream tables and art-making. Alyssa Baguss will host a morning of water-related activities paired with beverages and fantastic views of the Mississippi River. Details…

Workshop: Fight Snow and Ice, Pollution-Free

Wednesday, February 5, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Warm up with hot cocoa and treats while you learn ways to prevent slippery sidewalks using methods that prevent pollution in local waterbodies. Tour the Columbia Heights Library and learn how features built into its landscape reduce the need to use deicers, add winter beauty, and filter out water pollutants in the spring. Participate in a fun, hands-on demonstration and take home your own copy of the MWMO’s Good Neighbor Guide. This program is free, but registration is required. Details and registration…