MWMO Newsletter - January 2021 - Project Updates, Grant Opportunities, Upcoming Events and More

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Mississippi Watershed Management Organization


New Year, Updated Newsletter Format

Welcome to 2021! This year, we’re switching to a monthly newsletter from our old quarterly newsletter format. This change will allow us to provide more timely updates about MWMO projects, events and grant opportunities.

You can expect shorter monthly newsletter going forward. In this issue, we’ve got lots to cover as we head into the new year!

Project Update: Columbia Golf Course and Park Stormwater BMPs

Aerial view of construction at the Columbia Golf Course.

Construction has begun on stormwater management and habitat improvements on the northern portion of Columbia Golf Course and Columbia Park. New stormsewer pipes, stormwater best management practices (BMPs) and habitat restoration will improve water quality, reduce flooding, improve ecological systems, and enhance golf play and other recreational opportunities in Northeast Minneapolis.

Phase 1 of the project, which began in October 2020 and will continue through February 2021, includes replacement of existing stormsewer pipes with a new, larger capacity stormsewer, along with earthwork and mass grading as part of the stormwater BMP construction. In addition, the construction crews installed several hydrodynamic separators. These underground systems filter pollutants out of the portion of stormwater runoff that drains from Northeast Minneapolis through the golf course and into the Mississippi River.

Phase 2 will run from May through August 2021. This phase will include final grading, park and golf course restoration, and native seeding for permanent habitat restoration. You can learn more about the project, including details on temporary public impacts and photos and videos of the construction progress, via our recent blog post and project page.

Controlled Burns Begin Next Week at Columbia Park, Golf Course

In the coming weeks, visitors at Columbia Park and skiers at Columbia Golf Course may smell or see smoke from controlled burns of brush piles. The burns are scheduled to begin the week of January 18 and continue periodically through February.

Buckthorn, honeysuckle and other woody invasive species are being cleared and gathered into brush piles; controlled burning is recommended as an efficient and effective way to manage this type of debris, reducing impacts from heavy hauling equipment. Read more...

Pretreatment Systems to Help Columbia BMPs Filter Out Pollutants

Workers installing parts of a hydrodynamic separator beneath 35th Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis.

In October 2020, Minneapolis Public Works crews installed a stormwater pretreatment unit known as a hydrodynamic separator at the intersection of 35th Avenue NE and NE Tyler Street in Minneapolis. The underground system is designed to screen, separate, and trap trash, debris, sediment, and hydrocarbons from stormwater runoff. Located just one block east of the Columbia Golf Course, it will remove pollutants from stormwater that flows through the adjacent golf course and park, helping ensure the long-term functionality of the Northern Columbia Golf Course and Park BMPs project (see above).

Similar systems are currently being installed in the Columbia Golf Course and Columbia Park. You can learn more about how the pretreatment system works, and see photos of the installation process, on our project page.

Stewardship Fund Grant Changes, Application Deadlines Announced

The MWMO is pleased to invite applications for Stewardship Fund Grants this spring. In addition, maximum dollar amounts have been increased.

Community Grants (formerly Mini Grants)

Applications due by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 2, 2021

This grant type is for short-term or small-scale water quality projects. To better reflect the purpose of the funding, the Mini Grant name has been changed to Community Grant and the funding cap has gone from $3,000 to $5,000. No matching funds are required.

Learn More

Planning Grants

Applications due by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 12, 2021

This grant type is for planning a stewardship project significant in scope and cost. The Planning Grant cap has also been increased from $10,000 to $20,000 to better reflect costs for design development in preparation for project implementation. A 25 percent funding match is required.

Learn More

Upcoming Professional Trainings

The MWMO is sponsoring the following training opportunities for land-care professionals. Participants have the option to take a test to become certified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Smart Salting Level 2 Training

Tuesday, March 2, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Online

This online, interactive workshop is designed to help winter maintenance leadership - public works managers, supervisors, business owners and other lead staff - assess their salt use and take steps to minimize it.

Learn More and Register

Turfgrass Maintenance with Reduced Environmental Impacts

Tuesday, March 23, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. - Online

The summer turfgrass maintenance training focuses on best management practices (BMPs) for lawn/turf care maintenance. These practices will help you save time and money while protecting local lakes, rivers and habitat.

Learn More and Register

MAWD Award for Sculpture Garden Video

Sculpture Garden video thumbnail image.

During its virtual annual conference in December, the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts named the MWMO’s video Sustainability at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden its “Best Picture of the Year.” The video, which was produced in-house by MWMO staff, explores the MWMO-funded stormwater management and water reuse features at the iconic Minneapolis park.

The video is among more than two dozen produced by MWMO staff in 2020. You can find them all on our YouTube channel, as well as our Facebook page.

Eco-Friendly Winter Yard Care Tips

Woman shoveling snow.

Do you want to know how to minimize your environmental impact this winter? Learn how smarter winter maintenance practices can keep your sidewalk or driveway free of snow and ice without harmful chemicals on our Snow and Ice Removal page. There, you can also learn how to find a contractor certified in smart salting practices, and download handouts and other resources to share with others.

Learn More at Our Mini Maintenance Workshops!

If you’d like to learn more and ask questions about managing snow and ice, please join us at one of our upcoming Mini Maintenance Workshops by registering here February 1 or February 3.

Watershed Management Plan Update

Work continues on our Draft 2021 -2031 Watershed Management Plan, which you can review on our website. A schedule and details on the following will be posted by the end of January:

  • Public hearing on the draft plan.
  • 90-day review period for state agencies.
  • Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources approval.
  • MWMO Board of Commissioners approval.

In the meantime, you can sign up for our Watershed Management Plan email list.