The LMPA has improving water quality/clarity as part of it’s mission while still attending to invasive species control. Lake quality and clarity have degraded one the past few years. The good news is it’s not too late to turn that trend around. Water quality in Lake Minnewashta can still be improved!
Keeping streets and other impervious surfaces clean is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce the nutrients that run off into the lake. Fortunately, Terry Jeffrey (Chanhassen Water Resources Coordinator) is leading Chanhassen’s effort toward the same goal. Chanhassen is already sweeping the streets more often (you may have noticed this last fall.). The city is researching and hopes to buy a more appropriate machine and to clean the streets every three weeks, which has been shown in recent studies to be the most efficient frequency. Chanhassen hopes to continue its current sweeping regimen for this year and to have the improved capability starting next year.
Meanwhile (SURPRISE SURPRISE), there are easy things you can do to help.
First, keep debris out of the street to start with. No matter how effective the city cleanup is, it can only get some of the nutrients. Keeping them out altogether gets 100%. The most important thing you can do in the Fall is to keep leaves and fall debris out of the street. Five bags of leaves, clippings and other organic debris can create 100 pounds of algae.
During the warmer season, if you cut your grass with a side discharge, point it away from the lake or street when you are near either one so the clippings enrich your grass instead of the lake.
If there is debris on your storm grate, pick it up. If everyone does this it can help.
Canada geese are a huge nutrient source. There favorite food is Kentucky blue grass right to the edge of the water. If you can, plant a 5 foot or wider buffer strip. that can keep them away (Both the city of Chanhassen and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District may have grants that help you do this). Even buffers that do not stretch across your entire beach line can be effective; if the geese don’t have a clear sight line where predators may be, they may not come up.
Finally, be careful with your dog’s droppings. Remember that there is no Poop Fairy so you are responsible to pick up their droppings and dispose of them in the trash..
Let’s get together and make this happen!