Skip to main content

2015 Watershed Heroes Award Recipients Announced

"Heroes" will be honored at October 1 ceremony
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

People are working every day, and in all kinds of ways, to improve the quality of the lakes, streams and wetlands within the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD). The District recognizes some of those exemplary stewards of our water resources at its annual Watershed Heroes awards. This year's recipients will be honored at the 2015 Watershed Heroes awards ceremony on Thursday, October 1 at the Bayview Event Center in Excelsior. WCCO TV's Bill Hudson is emcee. RSVP online here.

The accomplishments of the 2015 Watershed Hero award recipients run the gamut of clean water work: water-friendly design in large scale development, private landowners preserving and restoring their property, partners fighting to get rid of zebra mussels, and residents educating their neighbors on how to protect our lakes, streams and rivers.

"While it is easy to get caught up in all of the challenges facing clean water, the Watershed Heroes awards offer a great opportunity to remember how many people are making a real positive impact," said Sherry White, MCWD Board of Managers President. "Each of these Heroes approaches an issue from a different angle and each sets an example for others to follow." 

The public is invited to join in the Watershed Heroes celebration. The event begins at 6:30pm with a reception featuring hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar followed by a 7:30pm program. Tickets are $35 and must be reserved by September 18. To register or learn more, visit

The 2015 Watershed Hero award recipients are:

Excellence in Development Award:  Presbyterian Homes – Promenade of Wayzata

Presbyterian Homes redeveloped a 14-acre site near Lake Minnetonka's Wayzata Bay into a mixed-use residential community, and included a variety of innovative stormwater management features to minimize its impact on Lake Minnetonka. Those features include underground filtration and infiltration systems and green roofs. Heated streets and sidewalks mean that no salt is used to melt ice, saving 32 tons-per-year of salt, much of which would make its way into the lake. 

Innovation in Government Award:  City of Minnetrista

The City of Minnetrista showed leadership and creativity in helping the MCWD and a private landowner on a development plan that achieves multiple goals. The City and MCWD worked with the Mader Family Trust on the Trust's plans to sell a plot of land for re-development, which includes a large wetland complex on the site. The project protects and restores 42 acres of wetland and upland, increases the city's tax base, and maximizes the family's return on the sale. The project also would create the first "wetland bank" within the MCWD. 

Outstanding Partner Award:  Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, City of Shorewood, Christmas Lake Homeowners Association
These groups played key roles in the response to the August 2014 discovery of zebra mussels in Christmas Lake. Working together with the MCWD, the organizations acted swiftly to coordinate a multi-pronged treatment plan that utilized all known tools in the battle against zebra mussels. The collaborative response exemplifies the significant impact of working together toward a common goal. 

Citizen Engagement Award:  Master Water Stewards Program of the Freshwater Society
The Master Water Stewards Program is an innovative and successful experiment operated by the Freshwater Society in partnership with the MCWD and with a grant from the state's Clean Water Fund. Modeled after the Master Gardener and Master Naturalist programs, the Master Water Stewards Program brought together interested residents to learn about clean water, build their own projects, and educate their neighbors on what they can do to help provide and protect clean water. During its three-year pilot phase, the program trained 80 Master Water Stewards from across the watershed.   

Outstanding Contribution Award:  Florian and Linda Mae Kerber and Dr. Glen Nelson
Both recipients showed commitment to protecting lakes in MCWD's upper watershed by using their land to protect clean water. The Kerbers conserved 10.2 acres of their farmland in Laketown Township, significantly reducing the amount of sediment and phosphorus entering Pierson Lake. Dr. Glen Nelson is restoring 5.6 acres of uplands and wetlands on his and his neighbor's property in Orono near Lake Minnetonka. The project will provide excellent habitat for plants and wildlife and treat polluted stormwater runoff before it enters the lake.

Lifetime Stewardship Award: John Barten
John Barten recently retired from Three Rivers Park District (TRPD) after a long career of protecting clean water within the regional park system. Hired as TRPD's first Water Quality Manager in 1989, Barten developed and implemented a water quality management plan to protect the Park District's surface and ground waters while increasing public awareness about water quality. He also took leadership roles on regional efforts to combat the spread of aquatic invasive species and the passage of a state law in 2002 restricting use of phosphorus fertilizer on residential lawns. Minnesota was the first state in the nation to pass such legislation and it became a model for other states to follow.

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