While our City has boundaries and every property has legal lines, the reality is that our environment crosses them all and what is done in one area affects another. That's why it's important that all residents understand the cause and effect of product choices and lawn and garden maintenance habits. This page offers a bounty of educational information and environmental news.
The City is committed to protecting ground water and our lakes. Working closely with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the City has developed its Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and routinely updates its municipal storm sewer system permit to meet regulatory standards.
This process is open to public comment.
Before cities and houses, the landscape of forests and meadows soaked up the rain, but with roofs, roads and concrete, rain now washes fertilizer, oil, pesticides, dirt, bacteria and other pollutants directly into our waterways and lakes. There are simple things you can do to catch and let nature absorb and filter this runoff.
- Rain Garden One is to drain tile gutters and downspouts to a rain garden. Building a rain garden into your landscaping helps balance the hardcover runoff from your home and driveway. A rain garden is a shallow bowl-shaped bed of native plants that have deep roots to stay in place and have evolved to thrive in our natural ecosystem without a lot of tending.
- Rain Barrel Another is adding a rain barrel to catch runoff from downspouts. This is an especially attractive idea for people without wells because it provides a supply of cost-free water for potted plants and landscaping. Look for a capacity of 50-gallons or more and a faucet for easy hose connection. A small pump can increase water pressure and be sure to add a screen to filter out leaves, twigs and seeds that might wash out of the gutters.
- Native Plants Lastly, add native plants to your landscaping to catch and filter runoff and prevent erosion on slopes. Blossoming natives add beauty that thrives with little maintenance and will attract bees, butterflies and birds to your yard. A band of native plants between your home and the lakeshore will filter harmful pollutants, and a band of natives at the lakeshore will prevent erosion and provide welcome habitat for pollinators and birds.
Use these links to find native plants right for your yard or to attract certain birds or pollinators:
- Audubon Native Plants Database Searchable by zip code and filter by type of plant and what birds you'd like to attract.
- Blue Thumb - Planting for Clean Water A public-private partnership providing project ideas, plant finder, and more.
Use as little salt as possible to manage snow and ice. This may mean using a bit more elbow grease to scrape or chop away as much as possible before resorting to salt to melt the rest.
As little as one teaspoon can cause irreversible damage to one gallon of water. When snow inevitably melts, most of that salt runs directly into nearby waters. Currently, salt use is not regulated, but it poses a real threat to clean water. Chloride upsets aquatic environments and can kill birds and some plants.
Many people use more salt than they need. But using more salt does not melt more ice, or melt it faster. In reality, salt only works when there is enough snow or ice for it to react with and excess crystals will eventually become a pollutant. It’s best to use less than four pounds of salt per 1,000 square feet. One pound of salt fills up a 12-ounce coffee mug.
Want to protect your local lake or stream from chloride pollution? Here are some easy ways you can help:
- Apply salt or other de-icers before snow storms, so you will need less later.
- Shovel regularly (a great form of winter exercise) to minimize ice buildup.
- Break up ice with an ice scraper before deciding if sand or a de-icer is necessary for traction – you may find that it’s not.
- Use sand instead of salt when temperatures are below 15-degrees
- Sweep up any salt that’s visible on dry pavement and use it elsewhere or throw it away.
By using salt wisely, you can save money, time, and the environment without sacrificing safety.
The Emerald Ash Borer is here and it's sadly time to start protecting our trees. This invasive tree pest has slowly been migrating north and is the most significant current threat to our tree canopy. The first step is to identify if you have any ash trees on your property and then contact an arborist to schedule assessment and treatment to protect or save them. Follow this link to great information on Hennepin County's website.
- Hennepin County Ash Tree Guide Help on identifying ash trees, finding signs of Emerald Ash Borer, and how to treat.