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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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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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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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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Mooneye, sturgeon and microplastics in trout

In the swiftly flowing waters of the St. Croix River, a federally endangered species of mussel called the spectaclecase shelters among boulders on patches of gravel and sand. It’s not easy to make babies when you’re spectaclecase. First, the male must release sperm into the river current, hopefully upstream of a lady mussel. If a…

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Like water flowing east

Clouds and mountains all tangled together up to the blue sky a rough road and deep woods without any travelers far away the lone moon a bright glistening white nearby a flock of birds sobbing like children one old man sitting alone   perched in these green mountains a small shack   the retired life   letting my…

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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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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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Upcoming water workshops highlight new resources for teachers and hands-on lessons for kids

Dear Ms. Haydon and Hong: Thank you for the field trip. I think it was ok that we got lost but everyone makes mistakes. I learned a lot about nature and where the water flows and all about different waters and rivers and lakes. I hope you have a great time and have fun exploring…

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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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