MWMO Newsletter - June 2021 - News, Project Updates, Events, and Grant Opportunities

Trouble viewing this email? Click here to view in browser.

Mississippi Watershed Management Organization


Aerial view of the MWMO Stormwater Park and Learning Center backyard.

Public Hearing on Draft Watershed Management Plan

Members of the public are invited to share their thoughts on the MWMO’s draft 2021-2031 Watershed Management Plan at the upcoming MWMO Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, July 13. The meeting will be held remotely, via Zoom.

The updated comprehensive plan will guide the MWMO’s work over the next 10 years. The current draft of the plan and related documents can be found on our plan update page.

Public input will begin at 3 p.m., when the meeting starts. After the public comments have concluded, the board will move on to its regular meeting agenda.

Board members will not be voting on the draft plan at this meeting; they will only be receiving input from the public.

Find Out More

MWMO Facility to Reopen July 1; Staff to Return to Office Part-Time

MWMO Stormwater Park and Learning Center building.

MWMO staff will begin returning to the office starting July 1, as COVID-19 restrictions wind down. Some staff may continue to work from home on a part-time basis, as the MWMO updates its COVID-19 safety protocols in accordance with federal, state, and local guidance.

The MWMO Stormwater Park and Learning Center will partially reopen to the public at this time. Meetings and events will be limited to 50 guests, and the MWMO’s second-floor offices and spaces will remain closed to visitors through September 7.

Interested in reserving our facility? You can reach out using the form on our “Contact Us” page.

See How the MWMO’s Home-Built Rain Gauge Monitoring System Works

Mayfly video thumbnail image.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” an old saying goes. The adage is certainly true for MWMO staff, who often design and build data collection equipment to meet the specific needs of monitoring water quality in our watershed. 

MWMO staff recently built and programmed their own rain gauge monitoring equipment using a data logger called the EnviroDIY Mayfly. It’s a low-cost, open-source system that is both customizable and supported by a robust community of users who share their knowledge in online forums.

In our latest YouTube video, Monitoring and Instrumentation Specialist Brian Jastram does an in-depth walkthrough of the system. Though it will mostly be of interest to professionals in the field, others might enjoy a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how we collect precipitation and water quality data.

Summer Yard Care Tips to Prevent Water Pollution

Dog with garden hose in its mouth.

Now that No Mow May is over — and the Twin Cities metro area finally got a little rain — it’s time to talk about how best to manage those ever-growing turfgrass lawns.

The MWMO has a series of videos on lawn care practices that help protect water quality, ranging from a brief overview with some tips for homeowners to an in-depth series geared toward maintenance professionals. We also have a web page with more info and downloadable brochures.

If you don’t own a yard, you can always adopt a stormdrain or check out our list of everyday activities that help protect water quality.

MWMO, FMR Plant Climate-Adaptive Trees in Gravel Bed

MWMO and FMR staff planting the gravel bed nursery.

The MWMO’s gravel-bed nursery is once again planted with climate-adaptive trees that will be used for habitat restoration, thanks to a partnership between the MWMO and Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR).

Gravel beds are a highly efficient way to grow plants. They allow young plants rapidly grow dense, fibrous root systems that help ensure their survival after being transplanted. (We made a video about the process last year.) Our gravel bed also helps manage stormwater runoff from our garage roof.

In September, FMR will plant the trees at James I. Rice Park in Minneapolis, as part of a habitat restoration project. This marks our third year of collaboration with FMR, which previously planted trees from our gravel bed in the Mississippi River Gorge and other locations.

Mississippi River Green Team Returns After COVID-19 Hiatus

2021 Mississippi River Green Team members.

We welcomed the 2021 Mississippi River Green Team last week! These Minneapolis teens (photo) will spend the summer working at Theodore Wirth Regional Park, a location that allows for plenty of work and learning opportunities while also allowing for the team to safely follow social distancing protocols. They will work to restore natural areas, remove invasive species, and explore environmental careers.

The Mississippi River Green Team is a two-year employment and conservation program for Minneapolis youth between the ages of 14 and 16. The MWMO and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board created the Green Team as an opportunity for youth to have a mentored job experience, learn about environmental careers and acquire new skills. Learn more on our website.

Poet Moheb Soliman Returns to MWMO for Book Release Event

Poet Moheb Soliman speaks at the MWMO.

Interdisciplinary poet Moheb Soliman returned to the MWMO on June 13 to launch his new book, HOMES. The book is a collection of poems written during a decade of immersion in the Great Lakes region, exploring nature, modernity, identity and belonging.

The book launch was the first public event held at MWMO since the start of the pandemic. Held in partnership with Mizna and Coffee House Press, it featured readings from fellow poets Heid E. Erdrich and Ed Bok Lee.

In 2017-18, Soliman was an artist-in-residence at the MWMO. He focused much of his time on studying the “re-creation” of Hall’s Island in the Mississippi River and explored the intersections between recreation, restoration and conservation. The chapbook, RECREATE, was a product of this collaboration.

Upcoming Events

‘Share the River Nordeast’ Returns to MWMO on Wednesday, August 18

Paddlers at Share the River Nordeast.

Share the River Nordeast is back! Join us once again for an evening of community, canoeing, and cookies on Wednesday, August 18.

The event will feature free introductory canoe rides on the Mississippi River, free cookies from Cookie Cart, and a variety of fun and educational activities at our Stormwater Park and Learning Center.

This family-friendly event is great for kids and adults of all ages. (Please note that one must weigh at least 30 lbs. in order to fit the provided life jackets.)

New Interactive Exhibit at North Mississippi Regional Park Opens June 30

North Mississippi Regional Park in Minneapolis is set to open its upgraded interpretive center next week.

The Carl W. Kroening Interpretive Center will debut its new Nature in the City exhibit when it reopens to the public on Wednesday, June 30. A ribbon-cutting event, open to the public, will mark the occasion beginning at 2 p.m.

The MWMO helped fund the redesign and even contributed some of its photographs for the exhibit.

Grant Application Reminders

Action Grants — Due Friday, November 5, 2021

Featured Project

Water Works

Water Works Park in Minneapolis.

In May, the City of Minneapolis officially opened its newest park. Water Works connects Downtown Minneapolis to the Mississippi Riverfront with a new public gathering space that offers new park amenities while recognizing the area’s indigenous and industrial past.

The MWMO helped fund a stormwater reuse system for the park that will collect rainwater from adjacent buildings and recycle it for flushing toilets in the new park pavilion, which will open later this summer.

Plant lovers will appreciate the park’s landscape design, which prominently features a variety of native plants (not funded by MWMO).