Volunteer Profile - Peter Rechelbacher

January 31, 2017

Peter Rechelbacher - Wayzata

Community Involvement

  • Give to the Earth Foundation: 1992 – 1996 Board Member
  • Mooney Lake Association (MLA): 1998 - 2017 Board Member, President (2008 - 2015)
  • City of Medina Appointed Volunteer Representative to MCWD: 2011 – 2015
  • Orono Thunder Soccer Coach: 2007 - 2011 & 2016
  • Coalition of Minnehaha Creek Waters (CMCW): 2013 - 2015 Board Member
  • MCWD Citizen Advisory Council: 2012 – 2017 Vice Chair (2013 - 2017)

Why do you volunteer in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District?

I want to make a difference in helping protect and restore our environmental surroundings for future generations to come.

In 1997, I bought a beautiful property on Mooney Lake in Medina. I was drawn to the property as it reminded me of my many childhood summer days on Lake Minnewashta. I soon discovered Mooney Lake was a lot different than the clear waters of Lake Minnewashta during my youth. Mooney Lake experienced lake wide curlyleaf pond weed in the spring making boat use impossible. Heavy spring and summer rain events brought on blue green algae blooms and subsequent rotting egg smells was also a common occurrence. Additionally, long and cold winters produced significant winter fish kills.

When I joined the Mooney Lake Association, we had limited funding to help treat curly leaf pond weed and summer algae blooms. Every year we experienced the same issues. This was because we were treating the effects of high phosphorus in the lake and not the cause. I decided to learn more about lake ecology, and when I became President of the association, we reorganized MLA into a 501(c3). This allowed our organization to apply for grant funding, an opportunity that lead to working with the MCWD in developing a lake management plan for our lake. Preparing a lake management plan was key to identifying lake ecology issues and causes. Consequently we were able to develop systems and strategies to help to begin to restore Mooney Lake.

Why do you think someone should volunteer their time?

I think volunteering helps bring a sense of purpose beyond your day to day life. It brings joy to me to help others in need, or supporting worthwhile causes.

What is your favorite memory or experience in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District?

My proudest moment is when my son, who was resistant to attended a Mooney Lake Association meeting, heard about the need to clean up storm drains and decided to volunteer for the project (and volunteered a bunch of his friends). The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District awarded him and his friends for their efforts with the 2102 MCWD Youth Engagement Hero award. Due to scheduling conflicts with the MCWD ceremony that year, the award presentation was conducted at my son's school in front of the entire student body, influencing even more youth and faculty to help with similar efforts. 

What is your favorite outdoor place or natural area in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District?

I would have to say the Long Lake Creek restoration project and the Six Mile Marsh Prairie Restoration conducted by the MCWD.

Do you have any other experiences in Minnehaha Creek Watershed District you'd wish to share?

I'm in the process of building a new home on an old farm in Medina. With technical assistance from MCWD, I'm in the process of restoring several degraded wetlands on the property\as well as planting a prairie in the old farm fields to help restore the water resources that drain into Lake Katrina.