Green Digest: New watershed district administrator assumes role

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District’s new administrator started his job earlier this month.

James Wisker began the role as district administrator March 1 after previously serving as the district’s director of planning and projects. The district Board of Managers approved his hiring at its Feb. 22 meeting.

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board and Staff

Wisker said in a press release he’s excited to continue working to advance the district’s philosophy of “meaningfully integrating natural resource improvements into the planning and development of thriving communities.”

“I am excited to work for an organization with vision, and with a talented staff that is passionate about making that vision a reality,” he continued in the statement.

Board of Managers President Sherry White said in the press release that Wisker has a long history of success within the district, noting that his expertise, dedication and hard work have made the district a model.

“He is proficient in virtually all elements of the district’s operations and is a natural choice to lead the district to an even higher level of effectiveness,” she said.

Wisker led the district’s permitting department through a community-input process during rule revisions, which the district adopted in 2011. His work on the process and his efforts to coordinate water-quality improvement projects in several communities earned him the 2011 Outstanding Watershed District Employee award from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.

The release said Wisker’s work over the past eight years resulted in the creation of the Minnehaha Creek Greenway, improvements that connect and integrate the creek into the landscapes of Hopkins and St. Louis Park. The success of that initiative laid the foundation for the district’s approach to achieve water quality and community benefits.

Also this month, the district announced its annual Earth Day photo contest, for which it will take submissions through April 13.

Pictures must be taken within the district, which includes the Chain of Lakes, Lake Nokomis and much of Southwest Minneapolis. The district is offering prizes for winners in two categories: landscape (including wildlife) and recreation. First-prize winners will receive a $200 gift certificate to The Great Frame Up, and all awardees will be featured in district publications and on social media.

People can submit photos on the district’s website at or by tagging @minnehahacreekwd on Instagram. Winners will be announced on Monday, April 23. For more information, contact MCWD Director of Education and Communications Telly Mamayek at [email protected] or 952-641-4508.

City to participate in Earth Hour on March 24

The City of Minneapolis will participate in Earth Hour by refraining from using electricity in municipal buildings, except when essential, on the night of March 24.

Minneapolis will turn shut off appliances in municipal buildings that use electricity, except for those required for life, safety or operations, starting at 8:30 p.m. A City Council resolution states the gesture is a symbol of the city’s commitment to “being part of the solution to climate change.”

Earth Hour aims to raise awareness about climate issues and encourage businesses, individuals and government to take actions to reduce their carbon emissions and their impact on the environment, according to the resolution. The event, organized by the World Wildlife Fund, encourages businesses, governments and communities to turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour on March 24 to show support for environmentally sustainable action.

Minneapolis has participated in the event for years and has a climate action plan that calls for reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions. The City Council resolution notes that more than one-third of greenhouse gas emissions in Minneapolis come from electricity.

The city is encouraging residents and businesses to participate in Earth Hour. The resolution also voices support for Audubon’s Lights Out campaign, which encourages building owners to turn off their lights during spring and fall bird migration.