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 wastewater 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?
A high-level elected city official or city staff person participates in at least 1 community event that includes a variety of stakeholders who provide broad community representation socially, culturally and economically (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 such as participation in One Watershed One Plan effort, wellhead protection plan, shoreland planning, or other effort for protecting local water quality.
The city cosponsors at least 4 water quality conversations that explicitly focus on significant water quality improvement; report on/conduct a watershed assessment; report on a collaborative project, such as with a Ditch Authority, that improves lake/water quality.
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
Edina - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1993
Edina's Local Water Management Plan, the Nine-mile Creek Watershed Management Plan, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed Management Plan and State Agencies all work together to verify consistent data, findings, goals and best practices to be applied to different jurisdictions. The City of Edina has worked in cooperation with these partners since the early nineties and shall continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Cooperation with our partners has helped the city release a new water resources management plan which includes related (water quality) assessments, planning strategies and details, goals, and policies that aim at effectively managing and improving local water quality.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
City Council officially amended the City of Edina's most up to date and comprehensive 'Water Resources Management Plan' (or Clean Water Plan) on December 20, 2022.
Notably, Section 03: Water Resources Management and Implementation Program, and Section 04: Policies for Water Resources Management, outline various new strategies that the City has decided upon to assist in meeting plan goals. Additionally, the current and updated policies relating to water and water quality in Edina, listed in Section 04 outline important policy rules and restrictions now effective in Edina--Dec. 2022 and thereafter.
Blue Earth County Ditch 56 flows from south of the City of Lake Crystal, through the city and then into Crystal Lake. It collects water from field drainage tile along the way. The lake has been on Minnesota's Impaired Waters list for years, with a high level of phosphorus as its chief problem. Summer algae blooms are caused by the excessive amount of phosphorus in the water.
In the fall of 2019, the City of Lake Crystal, in partnership with many others, installed an iron-sand filter, within the city limits, at the end of an agricultural tile line. This type of filter is a very efficient way to remove phosphorus. As water from the drainage ditch moves over the filter, the iron in the sand acts as a natural magnet, trapping the phosphorus. A significant portion of the phosphorus is removed by the iron-sand medium, preventing it from making its way to the lake. This will result in better water quality.
While there are other iron-sand filters in Minnesota, this is the first to be installed at the end of a field's drainage tile. The Blue Earth SWCD will be regularly collecting water samples to determine the effectiveness of the filter.
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:
Because the filter was installed in November, as winter began, data is not available. The Blue Earth County SWCD will regularly test water samples to determine if the new system is effective.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
At least one article on water quality and stormwater issues is provided in every City newsletter. The City recently partnered with the Watershed District and MnDNR to rehabilitate Sand Creek in two segments - these projects continue to offer numerous opportunities for the public to be educated on various water quality topics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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).
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.)
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.