New Illicit Discharge & Appropriations Rules Fulfill State Requirements
Monday, December 2, 2013
Minnetonka, Minn. - In response to a state
mandate by the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources and the Minnesota
Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD)
Board of Managers has approved two new rules as required by state law. The
Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination Rule and the Appropriations Rule,
which were approved by the MCWD Board of Managers at its meeting on November
21, 2013, take effect immediately.
“The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is
committed to working in partnership with property owners and communities to
protect our region’s natural resources,” said Eric Evenson-Marden, MCWD
Administrator. “In addition to providing educational, technical and financial
assistance to its partners, the District also updates and enforces rules to
protect the lakes, streams and wetlands in the MCWD.”
The new Illicit Discharge Detection &
Elimination Rule fulfills a requirement in Minnesota Statutes section 103D.335,
subdivision 16, that the District prohibit illicit discharges of pollutants to
Minnehaha Creek and other watercourses in the MCWD. The new rule also meets the
District’s obligation to the MPCA as a municipal separate storm sewer system
(MS4) owner and operator under the Clean Water Act.
The incredible energy and commitment of this year’s Watershed Heroes award recipients left me inspired and energized, and reinforced my belief in the power of grassroots action.
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) is lucky to have more than 15 lake or stream groups within its boundaries. Every lake, stream and wetland has different needs, and these groups harness citizen power to address the unique challenges faced by each water body. These associations have achieved some amazing things in our watershed, like helping inspect for aquatic invasive species, restoring shorelines and reducing polluted runoff.
Lee Keeley, who received the Lifetime Stewardship Award, has played a key role in the active citizen culture within our watershed. More than 31 years ago Lee helped found the Gleason Lake Improvement Association, which was the first lake association within the MCWD and continues as an active group. To this day Gleason Lake’s shoreline remains natural and every boat that enters is inspected for aquatic invasive species. She has helped empower many other groups, as well, through her work with the MCWD’s Board of Managers and Citizens Advisory Committee, Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations, and Citizens for Minnehaha Creek Waters.
Ken Gothberg received the 2013 Citizen Engagement award, and for good reason. He has a lifelong interest in civic engagement that he has channeled toward clean water issues during the past several years. Ken is an active leader of the Citizens for Minnehaha Creek Corridor (CMCC) group and a champion of improving access to the creek and keeping it clean. Ken and his fellow members of the CMCC have been working on efforts to provide consistent signage for paddlers and encouraging homeowners along the creek to keep their shorelines natural.
The Freshwater Society, in partnership with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, is accepting applications for a second class of volunteer Master Water Stewards. When you are accepted into the program, you will receive intensive training on how to protect the lakes and streams from pollution in your neighborhood. Everything on city streets flows to our water - oil from cars, bacteria, salt, litter, sediment, fertilizer. Each year, more polluted runoff reaches our lakes and rivers. Your yard is connected to rivers, lakes, and streams, and you can make a difference in keeping water clean and healthy.
Master Water Stewards is a partnership between the Freshwater Society and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District funded by a state Clean Water Fund grant. In 2014, the program is available at no charge to participants, and is limited to 30 residents of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.
The program works to recruit, inspire and train citizen volunteers who work in their own communities to organize and build projects to keep storm water and the pollutants carried by storm water from flowing into lakes and streams. This fall, members of the first class of Master Water Stewards have been installing rain gardens, rain barrels and water-permeable walkways in neighborhoods around Minnehaha Creek and the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes.
Two percent levy increase is the first in five years
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) Board
of Managers set the District’s levy and budget for 2014. At its meeting on
September 12, the board approved a $7,897,095 levy for 2014. This is a two
percent increase from 2013, but a significant reduction from the preliminary 4.78%
levy increase that had been under consideration. This is the first time the
District has increased its levy since 2009.
“The District has been able to manage its levy
by leveraging partnerships with member communities and the private sector,”
said Jim Calkins, MCWD Board President. “By working together on water quality
improvement projects, we’ve been able to provide taxpayers the best value for
The District’s $13,019,231 budget for 2014 is
a 2.56% increase from the previous year. The bulk of the budget increase is
attributed to the District’s capital projects planned in 2014, which include
ongoing efforts to clean up Long Lake Creek, which drains to Lake Minnetonka’s
Tanager Bay, and stormwater management in Hopkins and St. Louis Park where the
District has been working with these cities to clean up one of the most highly
polluted stretches of Minnehaha Creek.
What does Ordinary High Water (OHW) stand for and what is the OHW of
Lake Minnetonka? The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides a techinical definition of OHW. The OHW of Lake Minnetonka 929.40.
Where can I view past lake levels? You can view lake levels from 1906 to 2012 either as an Excel Spreadsheet or a graph.
How is the Gray’s Bay Dam operated?
The dam was built in 1979 to help regulate
flooding on Lake Minnetonka and Minnehaha Creek.
The operating plan was developed by MCWD and
approved by local municipalities and the DNR.
The dam is operated by the District in
accordance with the limitations set forth in the Headwaters Control Structure
Management Policy and Operating Procedures and Minnesota DNR Permit #76-6240.
For much of the first half of the 20th Century, Minnehaha Creek
was ignored and treated like a ditch for polluted rainwater flowing off the
landscape. Later, during the post-World War II building boom, urban expansion
did not mix well with the meandering creek. Wetlands were drained and filled
and the creek was moved out of the way. The result was a straightened waterway
that’s polluted, prone to flooding and lacks sufficient public access for
But there’s an effort to carefully restore the creek to its
former state by redirecting the water through a series of curves, rebuilding
wetlands and wildlife habitat and incorporating opportunities for public
access. When the work is done, Minnehaha Creek will look and function more like
it did decades ago and is destined to become a regional attraction.
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) employs researchers, planners, monitoring teams, water quality experts, educators, and others who work collaboratively with residents, their communities, and state and local governments to maintain and sustain water quality and management.