You’ve probably read the recent Star Tribune commentary co-written by our Executive Director, Paul Austin. The op-ed discusses the need for a comprehensive approach to fixing our statewide water issues. More importantly, it calls for a steadfast commitment from our political leaders to make our water plan a strong and effective one. But one question that I’ve been wondering about is what local solutions to water quality issues look like. What ways are local communities already addressing water quality and what resources are available to them to expand their efforts?
I’ve been learning about a variety of innovative projects to reduce pollution from water run-off into our lakes and rivers in the East Metro cities and watershed districts I’ve been working with. For example, the city of Woodbury has created a fantastic storm water reuse system for their Bielenberg Sports Area, and Maplewood is considering an innovative project of using inert wastewater sediment to filter lead and phosphorus out of their waters. In Stillwater, the Brown’s Creek Watershed District has done wonderful work with improving the health of Brown’s Creek, one of only two trout streams in the East Metro. Did you know that there are eight watershed districts in the East Metro? And there are several more water management and conservation organizations that work with counties and cities to make our waters cleaner and healthier. Our local solutions cannot be completed without these water management organizations – nor can it be completed without funding from the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.
Local level projects are what I plan to highlight in the coming months as our State looks to solve its biggest water issues. I want to find out what goes into making these projects successful and what questions remain for the rest of the East Metro, and for Minnesota. In what ways are we able to manage water problems incrementally, and which problems require more large-scale solutions?
I look forward to diving in to this issue (pun intended) more completely in the next few months, and I hope you’ll join me in celebrating local water successes and in seeking ways we can improve. Feel free to get in touch with me to learn more about water management organizations and projects in the East Metro. I’d love to hear from you! Email me here.