Green digest: ‘Weigh’d in’

Minnehaha Creek cleanup goal: two tons of trash

Organizers of the fifth-annual “Weigh’d in Against Pollution” Minnehaha Creek cleanup aim to collect two tons of trash July 10, which would nearly double the total collected in 2010.

Last year, more than 600 volunteers collected 2,280 pounds of trash. Afterward, they were invited to a barbeque provided by Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, and a few volunteers collected prizes from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Leinenkugel, a co-sponsor of the event with Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, will once again provide the noon barbeque at the end of the event (and beer for those volunteers 21 years old or older with valid ID). The event begins at 9 a.m, and the first 250 volunteers to arrive at Lake Hiawatha Park at the corner of East 46th Street and 28th Avenue South also get a free bagel breakfast.

From Lake Hiawatha Park, buses will take volunteers to various points along the creek’s route, including stops in Southwest, said Telly Mamayek, communications manager for the watershed district.

“The further we go out the more trash we get, and we’re trying to double our goal this year,” Mamayek said.

At noon, volunteers return to Lake Hiawatha Park for the barbeque and turn over their trash bags for weighing. Prizes will be awarded to the child who collects the most candy wrappers, and one lucky adult will win a Leinenkugel canoe.

Ryan, host in the 7 p.m.–midnight slot on local radio station KS95, was scheduled to help host the event.

“Klobuchar was expected to join the event in the morning, too, Mamayek said.”

Volunteers must RSVP by July 5. Register online at ks95.com/pages/promotions/leinies/.

For more information, visit minnehahacreek.org or livegreentwincities.com.

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Diamond Lake storm water project wins award

WINDOM — A public-private partnership aimed at improving the water quality of Diamond Lake was honored in June by Minnesota Environmental Initiative.

The St. Paul-based nonprofit awarded the Go Blue! Diamond Lake Community Makeover project first place in the Natural Resource Protection and Restoration category at the 2011 Environmental Initiative Awards. The awards recognize innovative environmental projects that achieved results through community partnerships.

In this case, neighbors, including the citizen-led Friends of Diamond Lake group, partnered with Hedberg Landscape and Masonry Supplies, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and area organizations to make improvements that limit the flow of polluted storm water into Diamond Lake.

The lake, located just east of Interstate 35W and north of Highway 62, has a 680-acre watershed that includes portions of the Windom and Tangletown neighborhoods in Southwest. Through the Go Blue! initiative, begun in 2009, area homeowners paid as little as half the cost for various storm water management improvements, such as the installation of rain gardens, permeable pavement and rain water reuse systems.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, which grades the quality of area lakes annually, gave Diamond Lake a “D” in 2010, which indicates it has severe algae problems and is not suitable for recreational use. But that was an improvement from several years earlier, when Diamond Lake earned a string of “F” grades in the annual report.

Volunteers reportedly contributed about 1,600 hours to the Go Blue! project. A grant from the state Board of Water and Soil Resources paid for the cost-sharing program, and Hedberg helped to complete the projects.

As a first step toward lake recovery, Friends of Diamond Lake worked with the Park Board to develop a lake management plan for Diamond Lake. More information on the project is available on their website at goblue.friendsofdiamondlake.org.

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Stop the spread of zebra mussels

A new campaign to raise awareness of the threat posed by zebra mussels is coming to Minneapolis.

The Save Our Summers campaign aims to prevent the spread of the invasive species into city lakes such as Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet in Southwest. The threat came closer to home last year when the tiny, fast-reproducing mollusks were spotted for the first time in nearby Lake Minnetonka and in Minnehaha Creek.

Minnehaha Creek doesn’t flow into the either Harriet or Calhoun, but zebra mussels can enter new bodies of water when boaters don’t take care to clean, drain and dry their watercraft after pulling out of infested waters.

The mussels are small, about the size of a fingernail, and have D-shaped shells with yellow and brown stripes. Clusters of zebra mussels can clog boat intakes, and their sharp shells are a nuisance on swimming beaches. They also can have a long-term, adverse impact on water quality, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District reported.

Look for “Clean, Drain, Dry” signs at canoe landings on Minnehaha Creek and area boat launches this summer.

Reach Dylan Thomas at [email protected]