Conservation Snapshots

You know you live in a small town when it’s fun to read the Sheriff’s Report in the paper each week. A yard gnome was allegedly stolen from a home on Carriage Ave. The alleged gnome was two feet tall and wearing a red hat. A dog was reported lost at 9pm on Thursday evening. A dog was reported found at 12pm on Friday afternoon. It is strangely satisfying to read about these inconsequential crimes. “Ah,” we say, “Now I know what’s happening around here.” In the spirit of the police blotter, then, I would like to offer up the following conservation snapshots from across the east metro area: 

West Lakeland Township – Eight years ago, Bill and Nancy Callas bought a new home with several acres of land. They didn’t want to spend their spare time mowing grass, so they planted a native prairie, which is in full bloom right now and looking quite lovely.

May Township – While racing down the stairs to reach the beach at Square Lake Park, a ten-year old boy paused to read a sign about the new raingardens and porous pavement at the park. His twelve-year old sister reportedly read the same sign, although witnesses were unclear as to who finished reading first.

Dellwood – A woman called the Washington Conservation District to report a purple loosestrife sighting in a wetland off of Hwy 96 near White Bear Lake. WCD staff informed the caller that purple loosestrife eating insects were released into the wetland as a management strategy several years ago and that the area is considered under control. Local residents are urged to visit for more information about purple loosestrife management in their vicinities.

Cottage Grove – A homeowner on Hamlet Ave. planted a 210 square foot raingarden in 2008 to collect stormwater runoff. The garden captures 0.12 pounds of phosphorus and 0.23 pounds of nitrogen each year, which would otherwise flow into the Mississippi River. This action prevents up to 60 pounds per year of algae from growing in Lake Pepin and helps to reduce the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Stillwater Township – During 2009, 22,340 pounds of dirt did not go anywhere. The dirt was stabilized by a grassed waterway planted along a natural drainage path in a cornfield near Myeron Ave.

Lake Elmo – A flock of geese was prevented from landing due to a buffer of tall grasses and flowers planted along the water’s edge at a property on Lake Jane. The geese were reportedly seen later on a neighbor’s turf lawn.

Woodbury – Despite his best intentions, a sixth grade boy at Crosswinds Arts and Science School learned something during an outdoor science lesson in the school’s demonstration raingarden. The raingarden was built in 2007 with funding from the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Neither agency could be reached at press time to comment on this story.