MWMO Fall Newsletter - Project Updates, Yard Care Tips, Upcoming Events and More

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Mississippi Watershed Management Organization


View of St. Anthony Falls at sunset.

2021-31 Watershed Management Plan Draft Now Available for Review

The MWMO has completed the initial draft of its 2021-2031 Watershed Management Plan, which is now available for public review and comment through December 17, 2020. This plan, which is updated every 10 years in accordance with state law, guides all of our work at the MWMO. Links to the draft plan and appendices can be found on our website, along with instructions on how to submit comments. You can also learn more about the plan, its history, and the plan update process and timeline.

Review the Draft Plan

Fall Project Roundup

Northern Columbia Golf Course Project Set to Begin Construction; Public Meeting on October 20

Northern Columbia Golf Course Stormwater BMPs project map.

Construction will soon begin on a series of stormwater improvements in the northern half of the Columbia Golf Course and Columbia Park in Minneapolis. Part of the Northeast Stormwater Management Initiative, the project includes a variety of green infrastructure that will improve water quality, mitigate flooding, add new habitat and enhance recreational opportunities in the area. The MWMO, City of Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will hold a public virtual meeting on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. to share information about the project. Please join us!

Meeting details and Zoom webinar link

Tree Trenches in Hoyer Heights Treat Runoff from Residential Streets

A boulevard tree trench in Hoyer Heights.

The City of Minneapolis recently finished installing a series of stormwater-absorbing tree trenches in Hoyer Heights (in Northeast Minneapolis) as part of a street reconstruction project. This pilot project, supported by a $408,582 grant from the MWMO and a $113,459 Minnesota Clean Water Fund grant, is among the first in the city to capture and treat runoff directly from the street in a residential neighborhood using this type of stormwater best management practice (BMP). The existing and newly installed trees help with uptake of pollutants and provide cleaner air, shade, and carbon sequestration. Workers planted more than 4,600 grasses, sedges, and wildflowers in the understory of the new tree trenches, which will provide habitat and help filter stormwater runoff.

Learn more on our project page and see photos on Flickr.

New Metro Transit Bus Garage to Wash Buses with Treated Stormwater

A 40,000-gallon cistern being installed at the Metro Transit bus garage.

In September, workers installed a 40,000-gallon cistern at the new Metro Transit bus garage under construction in North Minneapolis. The tank will capture rainwater from the building's roof, which will then be filtered and used to wash the buses. The MWMO partnered with Metro Transit to design and implement the system, which will save up to 13,000 gallons of potable water per day. The bus garage facility is expected to open in 2022.

Learn more on our project page and see photos on Flickr.

Bioengineering Helps Stabilize Riverbank, Restore Habitat at 26th Avenue Overlook

Aerial view of the 26th Avenue Overlook under construction.

The MWMO is partnering with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to enhance habitat and stabilize the riverbank at the 26th Avenue Overlook, a new riverfront destination in North Minneapolis. In August, workers installed a vegetated reinforced soil slope (VRSS) that includes a diversity of native plants that will help protect the river from erosion via their deep root systems while adding pollinator habitat. You can see photos and video of the restoration work and learn more on our project page below.

Learn more on our project page and see photos and video on Flickr.

Good Neighbor Tips

Fall Yard Care Tips for Protecting Clean Water

Fall Yard Care video thumbnail.

Fall care impacts water quality all year-round, but fall is an especially critical time for our waterbodies. In our updated fall yard care guide, we discuss the pros and cons of various leaf-management options, and also talk about fall planting, aerating, and other sustainable yard care practices that can help set up your lawn and garden for a healthy spring and summer. We’ve also put together a short video to introduce you to the basics of fall yard care.

Everything You Need to Know about Fall Yard Care (Blog Post, with Video)


Mississippi River Drawdown Offers Unique Look at Minneapolis Riverfront

The Stone Arch Bridge as seen during a drawdown of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

In early October, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers temporarily lowered the water level in the Mississippi River immediately below St. Anthony Falls. This rare event facilitates the inspection of infrastructure that is normally underwater. It also offers visitors the chance to enjoy unique views of the river bottom, the Stone Arch Bridge, and the downtown Minneapolis skyline. The MWMO captured photos of the event, and MWMO Executive Director Doug Snyder talked to MinnPost about the different priorities that drive the management of water levels in the river.

Apply for a Stewardship Fund Grant

Stewardship Fund Grants provide an opportunity for local organizations and businesses to help the environment, engage individuals and communities, and build partnerships to improve water quality and habitat. This fall, the MWMO is accepting applications for Mini Grants (up to $3,000 each) and Action Grants (up to $50,000 each). Application deadlines and links to find out more about each grant program are below:

Bonus: Read about our recent Planning Grant awards.

Join the Minnesota Water Stewards

Interested in becoming a Minnesota Water Steward? Stewards take part in a year-long training program, consisting of a 5-month online learning program combined with a capstone project, which provides real-world experience planning and implementing water quality and community outreach projects.

The next cohort of Minnesota Water Stewards (formerly Master Water Stewards) begins in January 2021. Anyone interested in participating in the next cohort should plan to attend one of the following virtual information sessions. Please register in advance:

  • Tuesday, October 27, at 12 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 10, at 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 17, at 12 p.m.

Click here for details.

New Videos from the MWMO

While our typical outreach programming is on hold due to COVID-19, MWMO staff have remained hard at work on a series of educational videos. Check out our latest offerings below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Online Educational Resources for All Ages

Are you an educator looking for resources, or a parent hoping to keep your kids busy? Or are you just interested in learning more about the Mighty Mississippi? We’ve compiled some online resources that will help you, your kids, or your students interact with and learn more about water, the Mississippi River and our local watershed.

Check out our list of online educational resources.

MWMO Outreach Programming Moves Online

Since teaching, learning, socializing and meeting have mostly moved online, the MWMO staff has adapted our program offerings for professional, community and youth groups in virtual format. We are excited to offer our “Introduction to Urban Watersheds” program virtually, which includes information about stormwater pollution in our urban environment and ways to protect water quality and habitat in the Mississippi River.

We are also happy to work with your group to find other ways to bring information about stormwater pollution and protecting water quality to you. Please contact us with questions or requests. Check out our options below to see what might work best for your group’s needs.

See MWMO Educational Program Offerings


Online Smart Salting Trainings

Are you interested in learning more about best practices for winter maintenance? Do you want to learn how to save money, protect infrastructure and have a positive impact on the environment? The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Fortin Consulting and several local government units (including the MWMO) are partnering to bring Smart Salting Training to private contractors, public workers, property managers, and interested community members. To make it even easier to participate, you can take these trainings from the comfort of your own home, as they are all conducted virtually.

Check out the MPCA’s smart salting training calendar

Mini-Movie Nights with MWMO

Tuesday, October 20, and Tuesday, November 17, from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Join us for one or both of our mini-movie nights, co-hosted by Columbia Heights Public Schools Community Education. We’ll show short films about the Mississippi River, learn how the Twin Cities area interacts with it, and how we can improve its water and habitat. There are TWO different themed movie nights. Join us for both if you'd like!

Classes are FREE, but you must pre-register. Register online here or call 763-571-4517.