Do your part to protect water quality

As Minnesotans, we’re well aware that our state has been dubbed, “The land of 10,000 lakes.” Upon hearing this nickname, it’s easy to think of images of beautiful Lake Minnetonka — one of the largest lakes in the state with 110 miles of shoreline. Or perhaps Lake Calhoun, which is a hot spot for recreation on and around the water.

But what many of us don’t think of are the many issues that threaten our lakes. For example, hundreds of lakes across the state have been infested with aquatic invasive species (AIS) like zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil — and other AIS are on their way.

The good news is, you can do something about it — and it’s as simple as sharing your thoughts with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD).

For over 40 years, the MCWD has engaged in a wide variety of activities to address clean water issues in the 29 communities it serves. Everything from infrastructure projects, education, permitting, and water quality monitoring to aquatic invasive species management and grant programs for water-friendly landscaping. But now, MCWD is turning to you, the residents of the District, for guidance on its future activities. MCWD board members and staff are asking you to weigh in on clean water issues in your community so they can better serve you and address those challenges.

Watershed districts like the MCWD are unique units of local government based on hydrological boundaries. The District spans 181-square-miles in Hennepin and Carver counties and encompasses everything from the urban density of south Minneapolis to the agricultural landscape of Watertown Township and all of the suburbs, exurbs, and lake towns in between. In short, the District includes all lands that ultimately drain to Lake Minnetonka and Minnehaha Creek and includes 129 lakes, eight major streams, and thousands of wetlands.

If you’re a resident of the District, or if you’re simply interested in what happens to the bodies of water within the Minnehaha Creek watershed, it’s your turn to speak up. MCWD is hosting three “Clean Water Open Houses.” These informal gatherings will allow you to weigh in and explain what aspects of protecting clean water are important to you, and your expectations for the MCWD including whether we should be doing more or less compared to what we are doing now. Your opinions will not only help MCWD to form a better understanding of the issues the communities in the District are facing, but also aid MCWD in better focusing its efforts to manage and protect local water resources more effectively.

The open houses will be held from 6:30-8pm and will include a short presentation at 7 p.m. Choose the date and location that is most convenient for you:

— Wed, Feb. 13, Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave S,  Minneapolis, MN 55416

— Wed, Feb. 20, Victoria City Hall, 7951 Rose St., Victoria, MN 55386

— Wed, March 13, Freshwater Society, Orono, 2500 Shadywood Rd,  Excelsior, MN 55331

Your input will be crucial as the District gets ready for the upcoming open-water season and prepares its next 10-year Comprehensive Water Management Plan.  If you cannot attend a meeting, you can weigh in online at MCWD will consider your responses as it determines its next steps, and report back once those steps are determined.

MCWD is committed to doing its best to address the watershed management and clean water issues most critical to our partner communities and the residents who live in the District. The Clean Water Open Houses will take this commitment a step further by actively seeking input from those who use and enjoy the lakes, streams, and wetlands the MCWD protects. We look forward to meeting — and hearing from —  the people we serve. Please weigh in — your opinion is worth its weight in clean water.

Jim Calkins
President, Board of Managers
Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
18202 Minnetonka Boulevard
Deephaven, MN  55391