Plant for pollinators this fall

We may be headed into fall colors, cooler weather, and less daylight, but gardening doesn’t have to be all about preparing our garden beds for winter. There is still time to add native plants to your landscape to provide food and habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies next spring and summer. Fall is actually a wonderful time to plant native plants to give them a head start on the next growing season.

Why do we recommend planting native plants for pollinators? Native plants are well suited to Minnesota’s environment and growing season, which means they typically don’t need much water or fertilizer to do well. Talk about low maintenance! They also typically have long roots that prevent erosion by anchoring the soil and filter pollutants from stormwater runoff. This means that native plants do a great job at keeping our lakes, streams and wetlands clean.

The fact that many native plants also attract pollinators is a win-win, as butterflies, bees and other pollinators are important for food production and healthy ecosystems. As they hop from plant to plant, pollinators help ensure the reproduction of plants that supply the foods we (and other animals) eat, the flowers we enjoy, and the medicine we need to treat illnesses. Unfortunately, we are seeing fewer bees, butterflies and other pollinators because of habitat loss, invasive species, diseases and parasites, chemical use, and climate change. While these are big problems, we can all do our part by planting native plants that improve water quality and support pollinators. As more people take action, the bigger the benefit!

When selecting plants, be sure to pick plants that will do well in your soil and sun conditions. And, if you have the space, choose a variety of plants that bloom at different times of the year to provide a continuous supply of food for pollinators (and gorgeous color in your landscape) throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Check out Blue Thumb’s plant finder for ideas:

You can generally plant native pollinator plants until about mid-October (our average ground freeze is mid-November), which provides the plants a head start on the next growing season. After planting, continue to water the plants until the ground freezes to help the roots get established. Once spring comes around, the roots will continue to grow as soon as the ground thaws, giving the plants a head start on any spring transplants.

The cooler weather doesn’t have to stop you from getting out and adding beauty and function to your yard. We hope you have fun adding some new plants to your garden that will support pollinators while also improving water quality. Learn more at

An online version of this article can be found at Thanks to the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District for the contents of this article.

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Master Water Stewards Information Session on September 11th at Enki Brewing

Master Water Stewards Information Session
5:30pm – 6:30pm, September 11, 2018
Enki Brewing, Victoria

If you love your local lake or creek, you can help keep it clean by becoming a Master Water Steward! The program, which trains people how to protect local waters from pollution, is currently accepting applicants. The Master Water Steward training includes a six-session course from October through April that is taught by industry professionals. Following the training, stewards build projects in their neighborhoods that prevent polluted stormwater runoff from entering our waters. To qualify for the program, applicants must live in a participating watershed district and attend an information session. Kevin Zahler, a Lake Minnewashta resident and LMPA board member, currently serves as our lake’s Master Water Steward but he can always use more help in supporting the needs of the lake.

To learn more, join the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and the Freshwater Society at an information session at Enki Brewing, 1495 Steiger Lake Lane, Victoria on Tuesday, September 11 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.

For more details, visit or contact MCWD Education and Engagement Coordinator Darren Lochner at 952-641-4524 or

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5 Tips for Keeping Our Neighborhood Waters Clean

Watershed, Raingardens, Native Gardens

Storm drains allow stormwater runoff to flow to local lakes and rivers untreated, taking with it any pollutants, debris, and litter in its path. Stormwater runoff from both urban and rural landscapes create issues for waters in our watershed, particularly Minnehaha Creek, meaning everyone can make a difference in keeping these important natural resources clean.

Here are 5 tips that you and your neighbors can commit to:

1. Adopt a storm drain: While most cities street sweep in the fall and spring, debris flows to storm drains all summer long. By cleaning storm drains regularly, you can stop organic matter (like leaves, pine needles, and tree seeds) and litter from entering lakes and streams. Consider talking with you neighbors and organizing a neighborhood-wide storm drain cleaning to have an even bigger impact!

2. Pick up pet waste: Pet waste harbors harmful bacteria that can be washed off lawns and down storm drains directly to lakes and rivers. Immediately picking up pet waste and disposing of it in the trash means it won’t runoff, and it keeps your yard and your neighbors’ yards looking clean and fresh.

3. Sweep up grass clippings and fertilizer: When you mow your lawn (aim for mowing your grass 3 inches or higher), take a few extra minutes to sweep or blow grass clippings off the street, sidewalk, and driveway back into your lawn. Similarly, if you use lawn fertilizer, be sure to sweep up any extra that may have spilled. Doing so ensures it won’t wash down the storm drain during the next rain.

4. Water your lawn wisely: If we have a dry spell and you decide to water your lawn or garden, try to set your sprinkler or hose to ensure that water isn’t hitting hard surfaces like the street, sidewalk, or driveway. Not only will this keep water soaking into the ground, it’ll save you money on your water bill too!

5. Take your car to the car wash: While washing your car at home may be fun, all that soapy water running down the driveway drains directly to our local lakes and rivers. Water used at established car washes gets treated before it enters lakes and rivers so our waters stay healthier.

Thanks to the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District for this information.

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Lone Zebra Mussel Discovered in Lake Minnewashta at Pleasant Acres Assocation Beach/Launch

Carver County Water Management Organization
600 East 4th Street, Chaska, MN 55318
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Andrew Dickhart

Invasive species specialists with the Carver County Water Management Organization (CCWMO) and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) confirmed the presence of a single adult zebra mussel in Lake Minnewashta during a zebra mussel survey on Thursday, June 28th. Snorkelers spotted the lone zebra mussel about a hundred feet from shore in a sandy-bottom area of the lake near a private water access. Scuba-divers with the MN Department of Natural Resources also joined the survey effort by scanning the lake bottom in areas with greater depths, but only the one invasive zebra mussel was found.

Zebra mussels were first discovered in Lake Minnewashta in 2016 and again in 2017 at the public boat launch at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park. Thanks to MCWD’s and CCMWO’s aggressive aquatic invasive species monitoring programs, the mussels were discovered early enough both times for rapid response treatment to take place.

County and Watershed District staff will continue conducting surveys and utilize new techniques that monitor for zebra mussel larvae and presence of zebra mussel DNA to determine if populations are present in other areas of the lake.
Lakeshore property owners can help by checking for zebra mussels on their docks & water related equipment, and along their shorelines.

This is a reminder to boaters and anglers to follow Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:
• Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft, trailers, and equipment.
• Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting
• Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash

EDIT: Please launch your watercraft only though the Lake Minnewashta County Park where inspections are performed to prevent the spread of invasive species.

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Calendar of Events for July 4th Fun on Lake Minnewashta

Thanks to the hard work of MANY people around the lake, our July 4th plans are COMPLETE! Please join us for any or all of the fun events we have planned on Lake Minnewashta.

The best viewing area for the Water Ski show at 9:00 AM is at Kevin and Jean Ann Thayer’s property at 3421 Shore Drive. Thank you Thayer’s for allowing the fans to gather at your house! The Water Ski Show organizers include Tom Wright, Janet Quarberg, Hal Clague and Konrad Seifker.

The Lake Minnewashta Fourth of July celebration in the Minnewashta Heights Park at 11AM will include hot dogs, brats, chips and water for a donation (suggested donation is $3). We will also have over 30 awesome raffle items including wine baskets, a water plane ride, Twins tickets, kids baskets and restaurant gift cards (all baskets valued at or over $50) and raffle tickets are just $1 a ticket!!! Facebook users can find descriptions of the raffle items here . Please tell your family and friends so they remember to bring cash with them. You don’t want to miss out on the fun!! Thanks to our volunteers: Dawn Berry, Donna Bornhorst, Christy Brown, Margaret Coldwell, Kathy Dreesen, Belen Fleming, Cindy Hanson, Laurie Hanson, Deb Hollwedel, Kristin Jackson, Josey Johnson, Lynn Lee, Heather Macgowan, Kim Mortensen, Katy Mulheran, Annie Paul, Mary Pickering, Marlys Sands, Jenny Shawgo, Courtnay Suter, Jean Ann Thayer, Angie Weaver, Sarah Wells, Brandi Virgin and all of their families.

The fireworks on the lake begin at DUSK. If you are viewing them from a boat, please be sure to stay well clear of the launch area so as not to risk possible injury or fire. Also, be aware that Law Enforcement professionals will be on the lake giving tickets for improper lighting, boating under the influence, unsafe boating and other things. Please follow the rules and make it a safe event for everyone.  Thanks to Beth Ginther for pulling this together every year!

The fireworks display over Lake Minnewashta is solely funded by Lake Minnewashta area residents.  Please make your tax deductible donations payable to: KABOOM (Keep America’s Birthday Observance On Minnewashta) and send to Beth Ginther at 3611 Ironwood Rd. Excelsior, MN 55331!

Keep in touch – Be sure to give us your email address so we can add you to our electronic newsletter distribution. Or check our website at And join our Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association Facebook group! Or tweet with us @lakeminnewashta.  Or email us at 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments about things we are or are not doing. Thanks for reading and thanks for your support!

Steve Gunther
President, Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association

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Planting for Clean Water

It’s officially spring, and we are ready to hear the birds singing, see buds swelling on tree branches and watch refreshing rains that wash away the salt and grit from the landscape. But the salt and grit that has accumulated on roads, sidewalks and parking lots these last few months are a major source of pollution in our lakes and streams. Some simple steps you can take to reduce runoff are to install a rain barrel and redirect downspouts away from driveways and sidewalks so they drain to a lawn or a nearby garden. You can also incorporate native plants into your landscaping and provide areas for water to infiltrate into the ground.

“Native plants” are plants that have been in this region for hundreds of years and have evolved to withstand the local climate and ecological pressures. In general, native plants have long roots that can find water deep underground, prevent erosion, decrease soil compaction, and filter out pollutants. Because they are well adapted to our climate and soil, they typically need little water and no fertilizer or pesticides. And they add beauty and habitat and food for wildlife and pollinators.

If you would like to add native plants to your landscape, your first step is to determine where you’d like to plant them. Ideal locations are along shorelines, slopes, depressions, and areas where turf grass doesn’t grow well. Then you will need to consider the soil type and sun exposure in those spots as these factors will influence which native plants will grow best. Also consider any local regulations that may affect what you can plant where, and what will be amenable to your neighbors. Lastly, determine what kind of plants you like – do you prefer colorful flowers that bloom throughout the year, or do you like grasses or low-growing shrubs? There are a lot of native plant guides out there, and a great resource is, which is a partnership of local government units (including Minnehaha Creek Watershed District), non-profits, and private companies working toward clean water goals.

Another way to incorporate native plants into your yard is to build a rain garden. A rain garden is a bowl-shaped garden of native plants that captures runoff and allows the water to soak into the ground. The water is filtered to remove sediment and pollutants, which keeps polluted water from running off the landscape and polluting local lakes and streams. Rain gardens also add beauty to your yard, support pollinators and birds, and may even inspire your neighbors to install one too!

If you are ready to help clean water in your neighborhood by planting native plants or a rain garden, check out the workshops Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is hosting in partnership with Metro Blooms in April: Happy spring and happy planting!

Thanks to Sarah Bhimani, Communications Coordinator at the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District for this content!

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