Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 19.2

GreenStep City Best Practices: Environmental Management
Surface Water No. 19

Improve local water bodies to sustain their long-term ecological function and community benefits.

Best Practice Action 2

Conduct or support multi-party community conversations, assessments, plans around improving local water quality and quantity.

  • Successful community engagement practices apply community discussion, reflection and collaboration to influence and promote collective action and collaborative problem-solving. Community engagement practices particularly good at this generative process are promoted through Art of Hosting (AoH) and Network Weaving. Read about a spring 2012 water conversation in Owatonna sponsored by the Cannon River Watershed Partnership and other grassroots citizen groups, farm groups, the MPCA and InCommons. Using AoH techniques, the meeting explored how citizens, businesses and government can share leadership by collaborating to restore water quality in local rivers.
  • Assessment questions for cities include: What drains into the water body from inside the city (for example, a waste water treatment plant) and from outside the city and to where does the water flow outside the city? What are all the water body uses and is there public access? What land uses are in the contributing watershed and has drinking water / wellhead protection planning been done? Is the water on the MPCA's Impaired Waters list? What is the DNR shoreland classification? Is there an annual water festival?
  • Conversations may be informed in two ways. One is by understanding a community's capacity to engage in water resource issues (Univer. of MN's Mae Davenport's 2013 PowerPoint). The other is by looking at the ecological health of the watershed in which your city sits. See the Watershed Assessment Tool from the MN Dept. of Natural Resources, which has data for each of Minnesota's 81 major watersheds.
1 star A high-level elected city official or city staff person participates in at least 1 community event that includes a variety of stakeholders (farmers, other business people, environmentalists, recreation users, and other government staff such as watershed staff, one of whom has scientific expertise). The conversation should be outside of/more expansive than the TMDL process and include more than just impaired waters. Report an adopted wellhead protection plan under action 6.3
2 star The city cosponsors at least 4 water quality conversations that explicitly focus on significant water quality improvement; report on/conduct a watershed assessment.
3 star The conversations are intentionally facilitated/mediated to influence changes in public/private actions that are likely to improve local water quality, quantity and surface-groundwater interactions; residents work with city to determine specific projects within a city-established Storm Sewer Improvement Taxing District; city signs-onto an existing watershed plan or develops its own.

Who's doing it

New Brighton - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
(see attachment) The City has established Storm Sewer Improvement Taxing Districts within the City for Lake Diane and Bicentennial Pond. A Storm Sewer Improvement Taxing District is an area within the territorial limits of a municipality. The municipality may acquire, construct, maintain, and otherwise improve storm sewer systems and related facilities within the district for the benefit of the district.
The Public Works Department works with the residents of each district to determine specific projects and courses of action. The costs involved are recovered by levying tax on all taxable properties within the district.
The City has adopted similar tax levies for both districts for a number of years.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
With these funds both bodies of water have been treated to eliminate invasive species. Improving water quality, and all plant/wildlife surrounding the areas.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Craig Schlichting (City staff) | craig.schlichting@newbrightonmn.gov | 651-638-2056
Partners:
Winona - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Healthy Lake Winona group
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
John Howard (City staff) | jhoward@ci.winona.mn.us | 507-457-8273
Partners:
Albert Lea - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The Albert Lea Lakes Foundation hosted a series of talks about water quality. These sessions were held throughout 2016. Members of the Shell Rock River Watershed District, as well as the Mayor and City Manager attended these talks. Staff from the Watershed informed the community about all of the work that has been done since the group's inception as well as what the group hopes to do over the next 15 years.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jerry Gabrielatos (City staff) | jgabrielatos@ci.albertlea.mn.us | 507-377-4316
Partners:
Big Lake - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
The City of Big Lake has a community organization, the Big Lake Community Lakes Association, dedicated to preservation and promotion of Big and Mitchell Lakes. The document included outlines the plan for the funds the city received to do shoreland restoration, invasive species control, water quality studies, and public education. A variety of partners worked together on this project.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Clay Wilfahrt (City staff) | cwilfahrt@biglakmn.org | 763-251-2968
Partners: Big Lake Community Lakes Association, Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District
Crosslake - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
Land & Waters Preservation Trust was created in 2012 as a joint partnership of the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA) and the Pine River Watershed Alliance (PRWA) and is a Turn Key Fund of the Initiative Foundation. The Land & Waters Preservation Trust is a grant making endowment fund directed to preserving and protecting the water quality including the lakes in the Crosslake area. Annual grants are given with the support of donations and matching funds.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Martha Steele (Community volunteer) | steeles@brainerd.net | 218-765-4041
Partners:
Elk River - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The Lake Orono Improvement Association actively works to improve water quality, manage vegetation and educate the community about water quality concerns on Lake Orono. They have completed a Lake Orono Management Plan for long term improvements and actively seek grant funding. They meet monthly with other homeowners, city and county staff, elected officials and the broader public.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff) | ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov | 763-635-1068
Partners: Lake Orono Improvement Association
Fergus Falls - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:

The City of Fergus Falls holds an annual MS4 meeting to inform the public about the city’s local stormwater management and a public hearing is open for anyone to come and express their concerns. The mayor has appointed a citizen led commission (Beautiful Fergus Falls) who recently made recommendations that were adopted by the City Council regarding water quality issues at Lake Alice.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff) | len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us | 218-332-5418
Partners:
Hutchinson - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City has helped a group of local business and citizens to develop a local Lake/River Association known as Hutchinson Waters. The purpose of the organization is to promote the natural, biological, and recreations value of our local resources by employing grass root community effort to preserve these resources.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
John Paulson (City staff) | jpaulson@ci.hutchinson.mn.us | 320-234-5682
Partners:
Lake Crystal - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
The Annual Duck Days event hosted by the Lake Crystal Area Chamber of Commerce included an educational event about rain gardens. One June 15, 2013, a rain garden was installed at City Hall as part of the Duck Days events by members of the Crystal Waters Project. A landscape architect was on hand to explain and demonstrate the process of planting a rain garden along with the benefits. The event was attended by the Mayor, a City Council member, youth, homeowners, environmentalists and others. An October 2014 Rake for the Lake event was held and the City accepted the equivalent of over 300 bags of leaves at the City compost site. A Plant the Park Concert was held at Robinson Park in September 2014 to promote lake water quality. The Crystal Waters Project cooperated with the City for an adopt a storm drain whereby residents agree to keep the storm drains clean.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The installation of the rain garden at City Hall will showcase the benefits of a rain garden. It will be used as an educational outreach tool for the community and anyone visiting City Hall. It will also reduce the amount of rainwater that flows directly into Lake Crystal's storm drains. At the Plant the Park Concert in 2014 over 100 people completed a survey to identify ways they are willing to take action. In 2015, the Crystal Waters Project hosted a meeting on floating islands and how they can be used to help improve water quality. 2017 a storm drain adoption program is in effect with over 70 storm drains adopted. A Rake for the Lake event is held every Fall.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538
Partners: Crystal Waters Project; Lake Crystal Area Chamber of Commerce
Maple Grove - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Maple Grove has a Lake Quality Commission that meets on a monthly basis. The commission was established in 1986 and includes a City Council member as a liaison.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Continued work to improve water quality in the city's lakes.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Peter Vickerman (City staff) | PVickerman@maplegrovemn.gov | 763-494-6046
Partners:
New Hope - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
New Hope is a member of the Bassett Creek and Shingle Creek Water Management organizations, both of which work to improve water quality in both watersheds. The city has partnered with Metro Blooms to host workshops teaching residents about rain gardens. The city held two neighborhood meetings to educate stakeholders about the project and water quality issues related to Northwood Lake. The city also worked closely with the Friends of Northwood Lake Association and the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jeff Alger (City staff) | jalger@ci.new-hope.mn.us | 763-531-5119
Partners: Metro Blooms
Northfield - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city has established a wellhead protection committee, that not only looks at groundwater implications, but surface water implications. This group is comprised of several community partners. This group discusses potential surface water sources of contamination with in the City's drinking water supply management area and how to address those.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The City evaluates active hazardous waste generators annually and actively evaluates new businesses that enter the DWSMA that may contribute pollution to surface and ultimately groundwater.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Beth Kallestad (City staff) | beth.kallestad@ci.northfield.mn.us | 507-645-3074
Partners: St. Olaf, Carleton College, Cannon River Watershed Partnership, Local Residents
Rosemount - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The Mayor has challenged residents to reduce their water usage by pledging at mywaterpleddge.com
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Rosemount ranked 17th in the nation among Cities its size for the number of pledges made to reduce water usage.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Anthony Nemcek (City staff) | anthony.nemcek@ci.rosemount.mn.us | 651-322-2090
Partners:
Sartell - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2008
Implementation details:
Sartell is a member of the Central MN Water Education Alliance which is made up of MS4 permittee's from the surrounding Cities, Townships, Counties, Universities, and watershed districts. The organization meets once a month and is actively involved in numerous Community Events throughout the year like County Fairs, Water stewardship events, Rivers Edge Convention Center events, and the weekly Summertime by George Festival. City staff from the Planning Dept. regularly volunteer to help CMWEA at the numerous events.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nate Keller (City staff) | nate.keller@sartellmn.com | 320-258-7316
Partners: Counties, Cities, Townships, Organizations
Belle Plaine - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine adopted a wellhead protection plan (Phase II) in December of 2015. In addition to identifying a DWSMA, the Phase II plan includes a discussion of issues, problems, and opportunities. The plan establishes goals and an action plan to achieve those goals. The action plan includes a public outreach and education component. An evaluation program is also specified.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
Partners:
Bemidji - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
On April 23, a grease waste reduction presentation occurred on the Bemidji State University campus in which community members, restaurant managers and employees, and city staff were invited to attend. This presentation was a collaborative effort among a MN GreenCorps member, City Sewer & Water Superintendent, Wastewater Treatment Facility Co-Superintendent, as well as students from a People and the Environment Course at Bemidji State University. 20 individuals from the community attended this event as well as 2 city council members. The second half of the presentation was a question and answer forum regarding ways Grease Waste Reduction can improve water quality in our area.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Al Gorick (City staff) | al.gorick@ci.bemidji.mn.us | 218-333-1865
Partners: City of Bemidji Wastewater Treatment Facilities; City of Bemidji Sewer and Water
Bloomington - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The city is active at the annual Public Works open house and also at the every other year Home Improvement Fair in reaching out to the community to promote improving water quality. Additionally the city promotes water resouces opportunities through the website and social media. The city actively partners with local water shed districts, Clean Water MN and other agencies to provide training and community outreach events related to water resource topics ( Storm drain stenciling, Adopt-a-storm-drain program, Pop-up Education cart)
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Steve Gurney (City staff) | sgurney@BloomingtonMN.gov | 952-563-4606
Partners:
Crystal - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Crystal is a member of the Bassett Creek and Shingle Creek Water Management Organizations which both work to improve water quality in both watersheds. Crystal has coordinated several water quality improvement projects on behalf o the watersheds (639 Wetland project in Shingle Creek to reduce phosphorous run off into Twin Lake).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Anne Norris (City staff) | Anne.Norris@crystalmn.gov | 763-531-1140
Partners:
Grand Marais - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City and County have supported and received numerous Minnesota Coastal Program grants for improving water quality in Lake Superior subwatersheds and for improving shoreland areas and stormwater impacts in streams and rivers flowing into Lake Superior.


http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters/lakesuperior/sum_coe.html
306-star04-11
306-STAR07-11
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
Partners:
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Tribal members are very aware of their water quality and converse regularly about prevention, maintenance and degradation in public forums as well as private conversations.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Brandy Toft (City staff) | air@lldrm.org | 218-335-7429
Partners:
Mankato - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Mankato, as part of a multi-jurisdictionaleffort, is hosting a no-cost educational seminar regarding water quality protection requirements for businesses and other interested parties. Topics include storm and wastewater requirements, and spill response procedures. This event will be held on April 17th, 2012 at the Verizon Wireless Civic Center in Mankato. The City of Mankato's efforts in this project were overseen by Rick Baird, City of Mankato Water Quality Specialist, who has also undertaken contacting large businesses in the area to encourage attendance of their staff.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Molly Westman (City staff) | mwestman@mankatomn.gov | 507-387-8571
Partners: City of Fairmont; City of Hutchinson; City of Marshall; City of New Ulm; City of North Mankato; City of Owatonna; City of St. Peter; Blue Earth County; Nicollet County; Minnesota Department of Trasnportation; Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Pine River - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Pine River Watershed Intensive Monitoring beginning in 2012. Varied partners working to monitor water quality, connect with communities and educate on quality issues, invasives and more. Partners: MPCA, SWDCs, Cass and Crow Wing Counties, Cities, Norway Lake Association and more.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Quinn Swanson (Community volunteer) | quinn@hugllc.com | 218-587-5001
Partners:
Roseville - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city's "Living Smarter" campaign promotes water quality. The city participates in "Water Fest," an educational event of the Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District. City staff co-sponsor several water quality conversations each year.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Partners:
Saint Paul - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Saint Paul Regional Water Services (SPRWS) provides a quarterly newsletter, Customer Service Connections, for customers. SPRWS also provides frequent water conservation educational materials to its customers.

The City also has a Water Resource Working Group, and inter-departmental team to collaborate and provide guidance on city's water resource management programs. The group meets regularly.

The City has also sent its Water Resource Coordinator to national conferences around water management practices.

The Comprehensive Plan Water Chapter is itself a public information document that summarizes water issues and policy directions. It is not a technical document. Public education is one of its four purposes (p. W1; also p. W8, W12-13, W16-17.)
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kurt Schultz (City staff) | kurt.schultz@ci.stpaul.mn.us | 651-266-6590
Partners:
Victoria - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Victoria has hosted open houses on improving local water quality and protecting wetlands and ponds.

In July 2007 the City hosted it's first community open house on the topic. Since then the City has grown significantly and we have many new property owners who abut ponds and wetlands.

On May 1, 2014 the City will be hosting another open house on improving local water quality and protecting our wetlands and ponds. 547 property owners are invited to this open house to learn how to protect our natural resources. Maintaining wetlands and storm water ponds will help improve our local water quality.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District has partnered with the City to make these events possible.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Paul Moretto (City staff) | pmoretto@ci.victoria.mn.us | 952-443-4210
Partners: Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
Duluth - Pending
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Each year the stormwater utility hosts a public meeting to allow the public to review their MS4 permit and the efforts undertaken to get messaging out. This is a partnered meeting with St Louis County, MnDOT, City of Hermantown, University of Minnesota Duluth, and Lake Superior College. There are also tables staffed at different events to talk about stormwater and the fact that stormwater is not treated prior to flowing into the St Louis River and Lake Superior
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Partners: