Minnesota “State of Water” Conference Planned for May 1st at Cragun’s Resort

Minnesota Waters Conference Now the “State of Water Conference,” and it Returns This May

A coalition of non-profits and state agencies are resurrecting the Minnesota Waters Conference that has been a pillar of the Minnesota natural resources community since 2001. Now called the State of Water Conference, the program will bring together citizens’ groups, local and state government, non-profits, and community members to discuss the most pressing issues facing our state’s most important resource – water. The event will run May 1 – 2, 2014 at Cragun’s Resort.
The planning coalition includes organizations that have collaborated on the conference in the past, and have since been at the forefront of water protection and education in Minnesota: the Freshwater Society, Conservation Minnesota, U of M Extension, Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership, MPCA, and DNR. Author and limnologist Darby Nelson, MPCA Commissioner Stine, DNR Asst. Commissioner Naramore, and BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke will speak at the event.


Last fall, they sent a survey out to a group of Minnesotans asking which issues and what themes they would like to see at the upcoming conference. After reviewing all of the detailed responses, we identified five key areas to focus our attention.  These five areas include Aquatic Invasive Species, Restoration of Aquatic Habitat, Watersheds, Citizen Group Capacity-Building, and Groundwater & Nutrient Run-off.  The conference will include four workshops and thirty-five breakout sessions dedicated to our five themes.


Your attendance is the final piece in ensuring that all ideas are shared and implemented!  We hope you can join!
Register by April 18. Registration includes all meals, as well as the Exhibitor’s Reception on the evening of May 1.
To learn more and to register for the conference, visit http://www.conservationminnesota.org/state-of-water-conference/
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Minnehaha Creek Watershed District awards grants to projects that protect or promote clean water including one at Camp Tanadoona


Seven projects that use education to protect clean water will receive grants from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) in 2014. The MCWD’s Cynthia Krieg Watershed Stewardship Grant program awards $100,000 in grants each year to local communities, schools, civic groups, non-profit groups and others for projects that help people understand the importance of protecting our water resources and learn what they can do to keep their local lakes, streams and wetlands clean.

Projects selected for funding span the entire District. They include new, hands-on water quality curricula for students and campers in the western metro, a guide for shoreline gardening on Lake Minnetonka, wetland buffer landscaping and an educational kiosk at the planned bandstand at Steiger Lake in Victoria, informative short videos about runoff produced by Minneapolis community members and a program connecting interested organizations with opportunities to participate in clean water projects across the watershed.

“The recipients of funding this year will reach a wide range of audiences with information about how to protect our water resources,” said MCWD Education Manager Leslie Yetka. “From school students and summer campers to lakeshore residents and neighborhood groups, the people reached through these projects will learn how they can participate in important clean water work.”

You can learn more about the Cynthia Krieg Watershed Stewardship Grant program at www.minnehahacreek.org/cynthia-krieg.

Project Summaries:
The Lake Minnetonka Guide to Shoreline Gardening” – reGEN Land Design ($25,000)
Creates a practical guide for combining native and horticultural plant species to create resilient shoreline gardens that add value to properties along Lake Minnetonka. Shoreline gardens add beauty and stabilize soils to protect water quality and deter geese, among other benefits. The guide re-frames common messages about “shoreline restoration” to appeal to gardeners, helping reach a new audience of potential water stewards.

Camp Tanadoona’s Water Quality Initiative” -CampFire MN ($18,650)
Allows Camp Tanadoona in Excelsior to hire a Water Quality Specialist who will develop a curriculum for campers and train  fellow staff  and counselors to integrate it into the camp’s year-round programming. This curriculum will reach 2,500 people each year through the camp’s year-round program.

A Bandstand” – Community Involvement Endowment ($15,500)
Installs wetland buffer landscaping around a soon-to-be-built bandstand to protect water quality of Steiger Lake in Victoria.  Educational kiosks at the site will focus on wetland preservation, clean-water landscaping and  how public/ private partnerships can help preserve water quality during new development endeavors.

Linking Master Water Stewards with Congregations, Neighborhoods and City Environmental Commissions for Hands-On Projects” – Alliance for Sustainability  ($14,624.55)
Connects community volunteers who are certified Master Water Stewards with congregations, neighborhoods and citizen groups to lead and participate in clean water projects throughout the District.

Outdoor Learning Center Construction and Stewardship Project – Phase I” – Minnetonka Preschool and Early Childhood Family Education  ($12,300)
Constructs an Outdoor Learning Center (OLC) for young children and their parents. The center will focus on water quality and other environmental issues. This grant will fund clean-water landscaping around the center, including the planting of native plants and removal of invasive plants.

Community-Based Viral Videos” – Houchin Brothers Entertainment ($7,000)
Produces two short, light-hearted videos about stormwater runoff — one about the hydrologic cycle and another about how surface water becomes polluted. Community members from a handful of Minneapolis neighborhoods will help create the videos during workshops and use their networks and social media to share the outcomes to a wider audience.

Water Quality and Non-Point Pollution around Minnetonka School District” – Scenic Heights Elementary 4/5 Navigators ($6,925.45)
Uses the scientific process to teach students in Minnetonka how to measure non-point pollution in stormwater runoff and assess local water quality. Students will synthesize and communicate their results and recommendations to community members and peers.


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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 www.freshwater.org
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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