MCWD Awarded Watershed District of the Year by the MN DNR!

Each year the Department of Natural Resources Division of Ecological and Water Resources honors one of the watershed districts in the state for their accomplishments toward water quality improvement. Watershed districts are nominated for the award by area and regional DNR hydrologists.
Jason Moeckel, DNR Inventory, Monitoring and Analysis Section Manager, presented this year’s award to the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) at the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts Annual Meeting in Alexandria, Minnesota on Friday, December 6, 2013. The MCWD was nominated for this award for its long-standing and robust partnership with the DNR and its timely and effective programs.

“MCWD actively solicits input and feedback from their many and varied stakeholders and regularly consult with the DNR Area Hydrologist on their projects and programs,” Moeckel said.  “The District successfully coordinates and integrates its various programs to systematically improve the watershed and its water resources.”

Among examples cited for 2013:

  • Restored a 3,000 ft ditched section of Minnehaha Creek to its original meander along Reach 20 in St. Louis Park;
  • Worked with 16 homeowners who volunteered to let the District remove invasive plants from 2,000 ft of their creek banks and replant with native species;
  • Purchased and began restoration on two farm properties totaling over 200 acres of rolling topography with steep slopes draining into Six Mile Marsh to help improve the water quality of Halsted’s Bay;
  • Developed a comprehensive, long-term AIS Management Plan;
  • Conducted its third year of a Zebra mussel monitoring program;
  • Held the 7th annual Minnehaha Creek cleanup which drew 1200 citizens who collected over two tons of trash.

Congratulations and Thank You to the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District! 


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Don’t forget! Metro Summit on Nov 6.

Clean Water Funding and Policy
Most of us have heard about the Legacy Fund amendment passed in 2008 that dedicates money from a sales tax  to, among other things, protect water resources in the state. Join us at the summit to hear from Steve Woods with the Board of Water and Soil Resources about how that money is accessed and used – including by citizens. We’ll also hear from a panel of folks who have worked to tap into those funds and the results they have seen – including on AIS initiatives.

After a networking dinner we’ll hear from John Tuma, a former Republican Legislator and currently a lobbyist at Conservation Minnesota, about the ins and outs of impacting water policy and what citizen groups should be thinking about in order to have an impact as well.


November 6, 2013
5-8 pm
Hopkins, MN
$10 registration
For more information go to
or contact Alex:


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MCWD seeks Outdoor Heritage Funds funds for AIS decontamination stations

On Wednesday, Sept. 4, the MCWD presented a $2 million proposal to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund Council, which distributes grant money statewide for projects that protect and improve habitat. The District’s proposal aims to stop the spread of AIS within the District and create a model that could be replicated across the state. It included four key elements:

  • Prevention — Central facilities for boat cleaning/decontamination and inspection, and improving boat accesses
  • Applied science — Containing, monitoring and cataloging detected AIS in the watershed, expanding carp management, and more
  • Public outreach — Reinforcing statewide messaging strategies, building partnerships and using social marketing principles to help people do the right thing
The Council hears many excellent proposals each year, so the District is facing tough competition. The grant winners will be announced later this fall.


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Watershed Heroes: Congratulations to Carver County and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Carver County and Minneapolis Park and Rec Board named “Watershed Heroes” for AIS efforts

Congratulations to Carver County and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, who jointly won the 2013 Watershed Heroes “Innovation in Government” award for their bold moves to prevent the spread of AIS.

Both have been actively partnered with the MCWD the past two years to develop effective AIS programs, including boat inspection stations and participation in the task force that helped create the District’s AIS Management program.

The Watershed Heroes awards honor citizens and organizations that make significant contributions to clean water within the MCWD. RSVP today for the awards gala on Thursday, October 17 at the Bayview Events Center in Excelsior.

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Another example where AIS inspections have protected our lakes!


Zebra Mussels Found in Lake Hiawatha
MNDNR has Confirmed Finding; Lake Was Declared Infested in 2010
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake Hiawatha in Minneapolis.MPRB water quality staff discovered the zebra mussels on Wednesday, August 28. Samples were delivered to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR), who confirmed the zebra mussel finding.

Lake Hiawatha was declared infested with zebra mussels in August of 2010 due to its connection to Minnehaha Creek. Minnehaha Creek flows out of Lake Minnetonka and through Lake Hiawatha, and zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Minnetonka in July 2010. Lake Hiawatha is connected to the Mississippi River, which has been designated as a zebra mussel infested water body by the MNDNR.

The MPRB has been monitoring Lake Hiawatha and other Minneapolis lakes for zebra mussels since fall 2010. Zebra mussels have not been found in any other Minneapolis lake.

In 2012, the MPRB Board of Commission took action to implement an aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention program to prevent the spread of AIS from lake to lake. Components of the AIS prevention plan include inspections at public boat launches at Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun and Lake Nokomis, ongoing public education program and placement of bait disposal receptacles at many of the MPRB’s most popular fishing spots.

The establishment of zebra mussels in Lake Hiawatha underscores the need for continued diligence in complying with the state’s laws to prevent and curb the spread of invasive species. Boaters and anglers need to be extra vigilant in ensuring their boat and equipment are clean before leaving a lake access and to contact the MNDNR right away if they find suspicious aquatic animals or plants.

Anglers, boaters and other recreationists must remove all aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species, drain water from all water equipment including portable bait containers, and drain bilges and livewells by removing the drain plug before leaving the boat landing.

More information about zebra mussels, how to inspect boats and other water-related equipment, and a current list of designated infested waters is available on the MNDNR website.

CONTACT: Robin Smothers
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Office: 612-230-6410
Cell: 612-499-9052


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Letter to the Chanhassen City Council and Mayor Furlong on AIS Prevention in Chanhassen’s Lakes

Dear Chanhassen City Council and Mayor Furlong

I am sending this letter to ask you to please support an Aquatic Invasive Species prevention plan in our city for 2013 that is effective, boater friendly, and fiscally responsible.  Your current plan is a start but not enough to prevent AIS contamination. I support a plan similar to the one Minneapolis implemented or the one that the Lotus Lake Conservation Association has proposed. Based on past results, it’s clear we can’t rely solely on an educated and conscientious boater to prevent the spread of Zebra Mussels and other AIS. There are many, many of them who are not educated as regards AIS or don’t care. We need to talk to each boater, make sure they understand the rules and comply with them, before they launch a potentially polluted watercraft into one of Chanhassen’s lakes. Once these enter the lakes, there is no remedy to correct them.

Please be aware that there are a tremendous number of citizens watching your action and we hope you will move to the side of preserving our naturally resources in a fiscally responsible but effective way. Many of these same citizens have invested significant time to help in the fight, not just asking for more money but by spending their time freely to educate and inform other citizens. In 2012, Chanhassen resident Scot Lacek and the Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association completed 10 road shows, put up signs and flyers at over 100 nearby businesses and blanketed our area with mailings and emails to get the word out. Read more about it here: We believe this is an excellent example of a citizen’s partnership with their government to address an issue that affects us all.

While you are discussing this issue, we hope you will answer the following questions:

-  Neighboring cities, like Minneapolis and Shorewood, have implemented comprehensive AIS prevention plans, including inspecting all boats.  Why isn’t Chanhassen implementing a comprehensive plan, like Minneapolis and Shorewood?

-  Minneapolis ‘s AIS program is running from ice out to December 1st, but Chanhassen’s is only running from May 24th to September 2nd.  How can this short season of inspections be expected to prevent AIS infestations?

-  Why aren’t lakes Ann, Lotus and Susan being treated the same as the other Chanhassen lakes, Minnewashta and Christmas?  At Lakes Minnewashta and Christmas, 100% of boats are inspected before they enter the water.  Don’t Ann, Lotus and Susan deserve the same treatment as Minnewashta and Christmas?

-  Why not set up an AIS task force as other cities and counties have done?  Or, why not take the plan that Minneapolis has already spent countless hours on and implement a similar plan in Chanhassen?  Or, why not implement the LLCA plan or one similar to it?  Any new plan could be run as a pilot program, and changes could be made as needed as we progress through the boating season.

-  Why has the Environmental Commission not been asked to make a recommendation to the City Council regarding AIS?

-  How can a plan that calls for inspections only three days at week at Lake Ann and Lake Susan really protect those lakes?

-  Why not take the $22,000 that was pledged but not spent in 2012, and roll it into the 2013 program?  That would allow for a significantly better program for 2013.

-  Why has Chanhassen proposed implementing a plan for 2013 that would have failed in 2012?  Last year, a trailer with zebra mussel(s) in weeds on a trailer was stopped at Lotus Lake on September 30th.  The City’s currently proposed program is scheduled to stop on September 2nd.  The threat does not end on Labor Day, so why does the program?

Steve Gunther

President, Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association


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