St. Croix River impairment underscores need for continued work

Three weeks ago, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced its intention to declare a stretch of the St. Croix River from Taylor’s Falls to Stillwater impaired due to excess phosphorus. In the wake of this news, many local residents have asked who is to blame and what can be done to restore our treasured…

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Salting the Earth

Dec. 2 presentation will highlight impacts of road salt on local water resources When the City of Carthage fell at the end of the Third Punic War, 146 BC, victorious Romans pulled Phoenecian ships out of the harbor and set them on fire before moving through the city, house to house, rounding up and selling…

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Surprising sources of mercury in Minnesota lakes

DEAR WATERSHED EXPERT: What is the leading cause of water pollution in Minnesota? DEAR WONDERING WATER-LOVER: You might be surprised to learn that mercury from the air is, by far, the leading source of pollution in our lakes and rivers. Ninety-nine percent of the mercury in our lakes and rivers comes from atmospheric deposition. This…

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Tips for enjoying the outdoors with kids

The first thing you need to know is that at least one child will become ravenously hungry the instant you’re out of sight of the parking lot. Be prepared to fuel a four hour adventure in the wilderness, even if you are only taking a 30 minute walk in the park. Also, don’t imagine that…

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Underground and out of mind?

November 13 workshop will address septic systems, private wells, and other groundwater topics Nearly 140 years ago, Minneapolis first began pumping from the Mississippi River to provide drinking water for the city’s growing population. At the time, the river was a dumping ground for human sewage, garbage, and carcasses from the local slaughterhouses. Thousands of…

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What will your land look like 20 years from now?

Nov. 13 workshop will offer advice for estate planning In 1972, Bob and Marilyn Rosenquist bought themselves a piece of the American dream – 40 acres of farmland in eastern Hugo with rolling hills and plenty of woods. Marilyn came from a big farming family in South Dakota and soon the couple was raising 16-17…

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Explore new options for local farms at Oct. 22 workshop

Perennial crops, conservation grazing, and whole-farm plans Dani Dircks is a licensed general contractor, mother of four, and healthy-living advocate with an entrepreneurial spirit. “Two years ago when my oldest child was in kindergarten, he missed three days of school because he was sick,” Dircks explains. “I had three younger children at home already and…

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Lending a helping hand to Afton’s Trout Brook

South Washington Watershed District partners with Great River Greening and Vail Resorts A coldwater stream flows through the hills of Afton Alps and Afton State Park, bringing life to a valley in the woods. Over the past 150 years, Trout Brook has weathered the rise and fall of logging in region, decades of farming, and…

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Big change for a little lake

Watershed tour highlights projects on Shields Lake Once upon a time, a handsome prince ruled over the Kingdom of Bohemia. Within his family’s estates, Prince Schwarzenberg had elegant palaces, imposing castles, and 20,000 acres of carp ponds. The hardy fish were a symbol of opulent wealth and provided a steady source of delicious, nourishing food…

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A drop in the bucket

The children gathered round, watching in anticipation as Lauren Haydon, an educator with the Washington Conservation District, slowly poured water from a graduated cylinder into smaller and smaller vessels. “Only 3% of all of the water on earth is freshwater,” she explained as she poured. “And of that amount, two-thirds is trapped in glaciers.” She…

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