MCWD Announces 2012 Watershed Heroes Awards

“Heroes” to be Honored at October 18 Ceremony
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Deephaven, Minn. – On Thursday, October 18, 2012, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) will honor citizens and organizations that have made significant contributions to clean water at its annual “Watershed Heroes” awards celebration. The awards recognize the important role we all have in improving and protecting our water resources. The MCWD also will celebrate its 45th anniversary at the event, which is planned at the Bayview Event Center in Excelsior.    

“Since it was established in 1967, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District has worked with all levels of government, businesses, non-profits and residents. This year’s award recipients are all prime examples of the collaborations needed to provide and protect clean water in the District,” said Jim Calkins, MCWD board president. “Each of the 2012 Watershed Heroes has gone out of their way to ensure we maximize the results of the District’s work across the watershed and truly make a difference in the community.”

The 2012 Watershed Hero Award Recipients are:

Excellence in Development Award:  Woodland Cove, LLC and The Bancorp Group, Inc.
Woodland Cove, LLC and The Bancorp Group, Inc. had numerous design requirements to meet in planning the Woodland Cove housing development on the shores of Lake Minnetonka’s Halsted Bay in Minnetrista. Through a participatory planning process, they arrived at a design that significantly reduces runoff volume, sediment and phosphorus into the bay, which is impaired for nutrients. Their work demonstrates a significant commitment to reducing the project’s impact on the natural resources.

Innovation in Government Award:  City of Shorewood
The City of Shorewood has established itself as a leader on water quality issues. In 1999 it became the first city in the United States to pass an ordinance regulating the use of phosphorus fertilizer, which contributes excess nutrients to local water bodies when used improperly. More recently, it has been taking an active role in preventing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). It has partnered with the MCWD and the Christmas Lake Homeowners Association to increase protections at Christmas Lake. In 2012 it became the first city in the state to pass an ordinance requiring boaters to have an inspection before launching a boat on Christmas Lake.  Shorewood’s proactive approach is a model for other communities to follow.

Outstanding Partner Award:  City of Hopkins

Within the District, the City of Hopkins’ name is synonymous with “partnership.” It is currently working with the MCWD on a plan to restore Minnehaha Creek at Blake Road. The effort will improve water quality, expand a park that was formerly a magnet for crime and help the City redevelop an industrial site. In addition to cleaning up the water, the project will provide public access to the creek, add green space to the neighborhood and boost the city’s tax base with new development and enhanced property values. 

Youth Naturalist Award:  Youth of Mooney Lake Storm Drain Project
Evan Rechelbacher, a fourth grade student at Blake Elementary School in Wayzata, recruited six of his classmates for a water cleanup project in June 2012. Inspired by a recent meeting of the Mooney Lake Association, Evan organized a storm drain stenciling and cleaning effort in his neighborhood. The boys swept up 100 pounds of debris from 17 storm drains that empty directly into Mooney Lake, which is impaired due to excess nutrients. They also glued permanent stickers to the storm drains that say “No Dumping, Drains to Lake.”

Citizen Engagement Award:  Lake Minnetonka Association Bay Captains
The Lake Minnetonka Association Bay Captains have put in countless hours advocating for their bay. The 15 Bay Captains that represent Carman, Gideon, Grays, Phelps and St. Albans Bays have shown tremendous commitment to enhancing the quality of life for residents and users of the resource. They developed and implemented a milfoil management financing program that raised nearly 60 percent of the $1 million in project funding. They‘ve also educated residents about the benefits of native plants and created a website for native plant identification.

Outstanding Contribution Award:  Dr. Peter Sorensen
Dr. Peter Sorensen, a renowned carp researcher at the University of Minnesota, has spent years studying the behavior of common carp, an invasive species that has disrupted the ecosystem of lakes across the country. In 2012, he was instrumental in securing state funding for a new AIS Institute at the U of M. The Institute’s initial work will focus on increasing our understanding of zebra mussels, Asian and common carp and Eurasian watermilfoil. 

Lifetime Stewardship Award:  Herbert J. Suerth, Jr.
Herbert J. Suerth, Jr. is a longtime advocate for water quality issues and a passionate fighter against AIS. He represented the City of Woodland on the board of the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District for 17 years before retiring in December of 2011. He also served as chair of the LMCD’s AIS Task Force.  

The public is encouraged to attend and join in the Watershed Heroes celebration. Tickets are $35 and must be reserved on line or by mail prior to October 4. To register or learn more, visit  

Telly Mamayek, Communications Director

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District               

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District covers approximately 181 square miles, including Minnehaha Creek, Lake Minnetonka, the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes and Minnehaha Falls. The District is charged by state law to protect, improve and manage water resources. It does so through scientific research and monitoring, public education, cost-share grant programs, permitting and collaborative efforts with the 27 cities, two townships and two counties (Hennepin and Carver) that are in the District. For more information, visit