Master Water Stewards offers a unique “Mini-Training” opportunity in 2019

When Susan Goebel moved to Woodbury a few years ago, she began looking for opportunities to make friends and get involved in her new community. Back in West Bend, Wisconsin, where she had lived for years, she had been a Town Clerk and a Town Supervisor. She worked as a volunteer coordinator, taught classes at…

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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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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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Valley Creek flows clear on a cold midwinter’s night

As it spins through the galaxy in trajectory around the sun, the Earth leans on its axis, 23.5-degrees. That slightest lean means all the difference between warm summer days, sun on the back and toes in the soft, brown dirt – that and the cold bite of winter, frozen breath before your face and wind…

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Thankful for toilets that flush

‘Tis the season for gratitude, and this Thanksgiving I’m counting flushing toilets among my many blessings in life. What did people do before toilets were invented? Well, depending on where they lived, they either walked outside to use the outhouse in the freezing cold or did their business in a chamber pot and then dumped…

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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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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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