Minnehaha Creek Watershed District celebrates 50 years

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Lake Minnetonka is the location of two of the nine events (Adam Quandt/ The Laker).

By Nicole Brodzik
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The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MWCD) has been helping keep Minnesota waters clean for 50 years. To celebrate, the district is hosting a number of events all over the metro through the end of the year. They’re calling the series, “Jump in and make a splash.”

“This is an opportunity to engage with people across the watershed,” MWCD Communications Director Telly Mamayek said. “Our goal is to get people involved  with their lakes, streams, trees and wildlife and foster that connection.”

The first event will take place on April 29 at Pamela Park in Edina for storm drain stenciling. Other events will be in St. Louis Park, Carver Park, Minneapolis, Minnetrista and on Lake Minnetonka. Events will cover everything from fishing clinics to lake clean ups to seed collections. The final event will be MCWD’s Sunset Celebration at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis. The Sunset Celebration will feature food, drinks, live music and information on how Minnesota’s water ecosystems. People who attend at least five of the nine scheduled events will get into the 50th anniversary celebration for half off the $40 ticket price and those who attend all nine get in for free.

“We’re encouraged by the continued awareness of water quality issues,” Mamayek said. “People are understanding that it takes people to make it happen. We’re really seeing people connect with their local ecosystems, which helps them feel obligated to do their part to keep it healthy.”

The first local event will be taking place at Lord Fletcher’s on May 6, where there will be a kid’s fishing clinic from 10 a.m. to noon. Other local projects include a shoreline garden tour on Lake Minnetonka in July and a prairie seed collection in September at the Six Mile Marsh Prairie in Minnetrista.

Mamayek said people don’t always realize how the watershed district is working for them, but said that once they do, people tend to want to get involved.

“We’re treating run off, restoring lake and stream areas, creating and cleaning up trails near the lakes, creating new canoe launches– you name it,” she said. “When people see us out there doing things that help them enjoy their environment, they want to help.”

And it’s not always in big ways. Mamayek said that helping the watershed area can be as simple as minimizing the amount of salt you use in the winter or how much fertilizer you use in the summer or redirecting gutter runoff to your lawn instead of sending directly to the storm water system, which flows untreated in rivers, lakes and streams.

For more information on the MCWD or this year’s “Jump in and make a splash” events, visit http://www.minnehahacreek.org/