South Washington Watershed District celebrates 25 years of flood prevention and habitat restoration

Volunteer event scheduled for Oct. 11 in Woodbury Three years ago, volunteers gathered in a wind-swept field on a rainy spring day to plant 3000 young oak trees for a future oak savanna. The site – located on the border between Woodbury and Cottage Grove – is part of a conservation corridor created by South…

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Learning to care for your well and septic system can help to prevent catastrophe

Free workshop at Washington County Fairgrounds: Oct. 2, 5:30-7:30pm During my sophomore year of high school, my mother and I moved into a new house on the edge of town. Surrounded by thick bushy pines and nestled on a three-acre chunk of land, the amenities of the yard made up for the fact that it…

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Using models to guide water restoration efforts

Jim Almendinger, Director of the St. Croix Watershed Research Station, has spent nearly 30 years studying the connections between rain, runoff, land use, and water quality. We know that many of our favorite waterways have too much sediment and phosphorus. As a result, we see more algae blooms during the summer and fewer fish on…

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Water you waiting for?

“All operators are busy at the moment. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in approximately…60 minutes.” I was checking in on-line for a flight recently when I noticed that my name was wrong on the ticket. I called the airline and waited on hold for 1 hour, 7 minutes, and…

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Along came a loon and swam up beside her

I’m training for an Ironman triathlon and, despite my best intentions to prevent triathlon from taking over my life, triathlon has taken over my life. On a typical day I get up at 4:45am to fit in my first workout before starting work at 7am. I do my second workout over lunch, leaving the evening…

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Secrets to success: Cleaner water and healthy landscapes

It shouldn’t be a secret, but you might be surprised to learn that 49% of lakes in Washington County have improving water quality. Trout are surviving and may be reproducing in Brown’s Creek again. Woodbury has cut its annual groundwater use by nearly 35 million gallons in only one year, and Bone Lake in Scandia…

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Celebrating 50 Years of flood prevention and water quality work in Valley Branch Watershed District

Much has changed since the Valley Branch Watershed District was established in 1968. At the time, development had just begun to boom in the eastern suburbs of St. Paul, with new neighborhoods springing up in Oakdale, Maplewood, and the Tri-Lakes area of Lake Elmo. Several years of rainy weather resulted in high lake levels and…

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Lessons from a garden

Sometimes you think you have a really good idea, like planting vegetable gardens at your office. Full of enthusiasm, you put your family to work and spend an entire day tearing out sod, piecing together scrap lumber, and hauling in dirt. It is hard work but you feel proud. Then it is the next year,…

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Be the change you wish to see in your community: Become a Master Water Steward!

It’s 6:30pm on a Tuesday night and a small group is gathered inside the Scandia Pizzeria to hear neighbor Tom Furey talk about water quality in Bone Lake. Ten years ago, Bone Lake was considered to be one of the worst lakes in Washington County. The water was murky, phosphorus and algae levels were high,…

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Keeping the fish happy in 10,000 lakes

“What percentage of walleyes caught in Minnesota are born wild?” asks DNR Fisheries Chief Don Pereira, as he looks around a room filled with lake association members from Chisago and Washington Counties. A few folks call out numbers – 10%? Maybe 20%? “People talk a lot about fish stocking,” Pereira continues, “but 85% of the…

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