Spring flooding calls for lowered lake levels & volunteer sandbagging

As Minnesota and Wisconsin brace for major flooding along the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers, many folks in Washington County have noticed that their driveways, roads and fields are already underwater. According to the National Weather Service, the St. Croix River has a 90% chance of reaching Major Flood Stage, which is 689 ft, and…

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Jump into spring with a Planting for Clean Water or Wetlands workshop

Workshops to be held in Wyoming, Hugo, Oakdale, Lake Elmo, and Cottage Grove After buying a home on Bone Lake a few years ago, Tom Furey downloaded the Score Your Shore tool from the Minnesota DNR website and set to work to learn more about his new property. From conversations with the Comfort Lake –…

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Teachers set sail with free workshops on the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers

“Backswimmer, scud, dragonfly nymph, water boatman, another water boatman…” My son had just woken up from a nap and stumbled bleary-eyed to a clearing near the Mississippi River where our group was peering intently at a bucket-full of river water. Within seconds, he was rattling off the names of aquatic invertebrates we’d found, proud to…

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Calling all Watershed Champions

Comfort Lake – Forest Lake Watershed District debuts award program & schedules workshops for the spring Seeking award nominations Do you know someone in the community who has gone out of their way to protect local lakes and waterways? Perhaps it is the neighbor who transformed their yard with native plants and raingardens to reduce…

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2019 Brings New Funding for Local Clean Water Work

In 2008, Minnesota voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to protect and support clean water, healthy habitat, vibrant arts and culture, and beloved parks and trails. Over the past ten years, a sales tax increase of 0.375% has generated more than $2.5 billion, $860 million of which has been used to fund…

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Revisiting American History through the eyes of the Buffalo Soldiers

The year was 1866. Minnesota had been a state for eight short years and the modern-day states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma and the Dakotas were still territories. That year, Hawaii was still a sovereign kingdom and Alaska was still Russia. In the wake of the Civil War, the…

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Finding ways to balance farming and clean water

A story of redemption 26 years ago, Brian Axdahl and his father bought an old sod farm near the St. Croix River and plowed the turf under with moldboard plows. The soil was compacted from years of poor management. Lakes formed in the fields whenever it rained, and runoff flowed to the river, carrying sediments…

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Designing with nature, braiding science with beauty

I was asked, “So, why do you want to study botany?” And I answered, “Because goldenrod and asters are so beautiful together, and I want to know why. I want to know why these stand together. Why do they grow together and look so beautiful when they could grow apart?” “That’s not science,” he said.…

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GreenCorps members prescribe a low-salt diet for Minnesota waters

Water softeners are a surprising part of the problem In 1961, the newly elected President John F. Kennedy launched a program to help mitigate poverty around the world and spread American ideas and goodwill. The Peace Corps program immediately captured the attention of young people around the country, and thousands of applications poured in for…

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Listening for the trees

They say that trees can speak to each other in a language we humans are too busy to hear and too self-absorbed to understand. Peter Wohlleben, a German forester who wrote the now famous book, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, has learned that trees in a forest actually live…

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