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Hello East Metro & Lower St. Croix Water Education partners –


Spring, spring, spring! It’s finally here and we’ve got lots of program updates to share.

Workshops and Events

  • MAY 2022

    • Twins Game – Adopt a Drain meet-up (Sun, May 15, 1pm) – In celebration of recruiting *almost* 10,000 storm drain adopters in Minnesota, the Watershed Partners will be hosting a meet-up event at the May 15 Twins Game. Volunteers can purchase discounted tickets and we will also get to do a mid-game parade on the field. Angie Hong will be there with intern Elizabeth Trevathan.

    • Lake Friendly Landscapes (Mon., May 16, 5:30-6:30pm) - Local experts from Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District will share tips and tricks for incorporating native plants, dealing with invasives (like buckthorn), and what additional resources may be available to you such as grants, landscape planning assistance, and equipment rentals. RSVP is encouraged:

    • Wildflower Walk on Brown’s Creek Trail (Wed., May 18, 6-8pm) - Led by Brown’s Creek Watershed District citizen advisory committee. Park and enter the trail at Alder street, just north of the bridge over 95.

    • Glacial Valley Park walking tour – (Tue., May 24, 6-8pm). Learn about this 250 acre protected open space on the border of Woodbury and Cottage Grove and how volunteers can help to restore habitat and develop future programming in this new community park space. RSVP at Angie Hong will be co-leading with Tony Randazzo (South Washington Watershed)

    • Volunteer planting events (Sat., May 21) - in Marine on St. Croix (9-11am) and Lake Elmo Park Reserve (10am-2pm, lunch included) Brett Stolpsted and Cameron Blake (WCD) will be leadinge

    • Belwin Bison Release in Afton (Sat., May 21, 10am-2pm) – Experience a spring day on the prairie, filled with fun activities for all ages including the release of the 2022 Bison Herd from NorthStar Bison. Enjoy live music, interactive eco-arts, prairie activities, native plant sales at the event tent, and food trucks. Amanda Herbrand (WCD) will be attending. More info here.

    • Washington County Master Gardener Plant Sale (Sunday, May 22, 11am-3pm) at the Washington County Fairground in Building B. Shop for a wide array of annuals and perennials, native and prairie plants, monarch and pollinator plants, grasses, shade plants, heirloom tomatoes, herbs and vegetables.

  • JUNE 2022

    • Landscape Revival (Saturday, June 4, 9 am-1 pm) at Oakdale Fire Station #1, 5000 Hadley Ave N, Oakdale and Saturday, June 11, 9 am-1 pm at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, North Parking Lot, 3920 Victoria St N, Shoreview. Shop from local native plant growers and find advice on sustainable landscaping for wildlife, pollinators, habitat restoration, and clean water.

    • RWMWD WaterFest in St. Paul (Sat., June 4, 11am-4pm) – Enjoy this free, family-friendly event at Lake Phalen. Activities include Voyageur canoe and sailboat rides; paddleboats, canoes, and kayaks for checkout; fishing lessons and a fishing contest with prizes; water games, climbing walls, a jump castle, arts and crafts, face painting and lawn games; a Water Bar featuring water flights from our communities; the Passport Odyssey; performers; and food trucks. More info here. Mitch Moris will be attending.

    • Lake Critters (Tue., June 7, 9:30am-noon) at Big Marine Park Reserve. Barbara Heitkamp will lead a hands-on learning event, including macroinvertebrate identification, in partnership with Hardwood Creek Library.

    • Habitat Restoration Tour in Stillwater (Wed., June 15, 6-8pm) at Brown’s Creek Park in Stillwater. Led by Brown’s Creek Watershed District.

    • Turf Talks (Sat., June 18, 10-11am) at Hardwood Creek Library in Forest Lake. Local turf grass expert and Minnesota Water Steward Jack MacKenzie, will walk attendees through the top 10 most asked questions related to residential lawn management. RSVP is encouraged:

  • JULY 2022

    • Chisago Lakes Appreciation Night (Wed., July 6th) at Lion's Park in Lindstrom. Barbara Heitkamp will be attending.

    • Washington County Master Gardener “Learn and Grow Garden Tour” (July 16) - This self-guided tour features seven gardens designed, created, and maintained by Master Gardener volunteers. Learn about topics including, watering wisely; landscape design; composting; vegetable growing; crop rotation and companion planting; pollinator-friendly and native plants; tree and shrub pruning; prairie plants, and much more. Purchase tickets here. Angie Hong will be attending.

    • Sally Manzara Nature Center: Water Play Summer Day Camp – (Wed., July 20, 9am-3pm ) Angie Hong will be leading programming for kids.

    • After buckthorn – what next? (Wed., July 20, 6-8pm) Join Brown’s Creek Watershed District volunteers to learn next steps and get your hands dirty as we complete ongoing restoration in a previously infested buckthorn area. We will identify herbaceous weeds and plant native species. Info here.

    • Water Explorations at Ojibway Park, Woodbury (Monday, July 25, 10-11am) Amanda Herbrand will be leading programming for kids

  • AUGUST 2022

    • Forest Lake Arts in the Park  - (Tue, Aug. 2, 5-8pm) Barbara Heitkamp will be attending

    • Washington County Fair (Aug. 3-7) – EVERYONE who is anyone will be there J

    • Stormwater Tour in Stillwater (Sat., Aug. 13, 10am-noon) Join Brown’s Creek Watershed District for a walking tour of new developments in Stillwater, with a focus on stormwater management. Info here.

    • Newport Pioneer Day (Aug. 14, 4-5pm) – Mitch Moris will be leading a hands-on presentation called “Love that dirty water: Protecting the Mississippi River.” 

Adopt a Drain Updates

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To date, nearly 10,000 Minnesotans have adopted 17,762 storm drains, and those volunteers have reported collecting 474,096 pounds of debris that would have otherwise ended up in our water. 


When checking on the latest statistics, I was chagrined to discover that Anoka County residents have adopted 1039 storm drains, compared with only 821 in Washington County. It isn’t necessarily a competition, but I do want to win. Now, this month, Chisago County is joining the Adopt a Drain program, which means that the unofficial competition is officially on. Between now and May 15, Watershed Partners and Hamline University are offering an additional incentive to recruit more storm drain volunteers. All storm drain adopters, new and old, are invited to purchase Twins tickets at a discounted price of $15 for a special May 15 Adopt a Drain meet-up event. In addition, new adopters will also receive a canvas tote bag.


Contact Angie Hong or Barbara Heitkamp for resources to help promote Adopt a Drain in your community.

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Lower St. Croix Watershed Partnership, Education Programming

Project lead: Barbara Heitkmap, 


Farmer Outreach: Jennifer Hahn is planning three field days and a small acreage workshop this summer. She and Barbara are also working with local partners to develop short videos highlighting conservation practices. In addition, we are developing a contact database, using information from the 2019 Farmer Survey and will be working with local partners to send targeted mailings for workshops and programs. Jennifer Hahn can be reached at or 651-485-7848.

Workshops for Local Decision Makers: Mike Isensee (Carnelian Marine St. Croix Watershed District), Jay Riggs (Washington Conservation District), and Jay Michels (EOR) led an informal workshop for local partners to learn about Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS) on April 21st. Barbara and Angie are planning two St. Croix River Workshops on the Water this summer – one out of Taylors Falls and one out of Hudson. Dates TBD.


Lakes Outreach: Barbara has been attending lake association meetings throughout the watershed and is working with Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates to create a Shoreline Landowners Guidebook, adapted from Itasca County, and promote the Lake Stewards Program. We are also helping Blue Thumb to create a statewide shoreline workshop. In addition, we are planning a workshop for realtors selling shoreline property, targeting communities in the northern half of the watershed. Contact Barbara if you would like a copy of the new "Living on a Small Lake" brochure for distribution to shoreline landowners.


Knickpoints: Read the latest articles published in the blog -

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Climate Impact Corps – Community Forestry Program


Beginning this August, EMWREP / Washington Conservation District will host an 11-month long Community Forestry position through a new AmeriCorps program focused on preparing communities for climate change

This position will help to conduct tree inventories; develop emerald ash borer (EAB) management plans; design, construct and manage nursery gravel beds; work with volunteer groups, including Master Gardeners and Minnesota Water Stewards, on tree planting, habitat restoration, and climate projects; develop education materials for forest landowners; and conduct educational programming at community events.


If you would also like to host a Community Forestry member at your organization, you can learn more by talking to Dylan Kelly or apply to be a host here. The program offers members a stipend of $1,100 paid every 2 weeks + Individual health insurance + Child care assistance + Federal student loan forbearance and interest repayment+ Up to $6,495 for tuition or student loans. There is no cost to host a Climate Impact Corps member, but host organizations do need to provide professional support and project management.

NACD Grant with Big River Farms


Good news! We have received a $10,000 Planning Grant from NACD (National Association of Conservation Districts) to establish new relationships with Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) led farming groups. With this funds, EMWREP staff will be working with Big River Farms in May Twp. to conduct listening sessions, provide training, and identify opportunities for future collaboration.


Big River Farms is a nonprofit organization that offers land access and education in organic agriculture for immigrants, refugees, people of color, and others who have historically faced discrimination in accessing farmland, markets, education and other farming support. The farm has been in operation since 2005 and provides beginning farmers with mentorship and guidance in managing their own 1/8 to 6-acre plots of certified organic land. 


Located within the Wilder Forest in May Township, Big River Farms, the surrounding forest, and adjacent land owned by Manitou Foundation are part of the largest tract of undeveloped land in Washington County and have been identified by Washington County and the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District as a high priority for habitat and water quality protection.

MS4 Education: 5 Easy ways to protect water in less than 1-hour


East Metro Water:

Read the latest articles published in the blog and local newspapers


10,000 Storm Drain Adopters in the Land of 10,000 Lakes - May 3, 2022

“To date, nearly 10,000 Minnesotans have adopted 17,762 storm drains, and those volunteers have reported collecting 474,096 pounds of debris that would have otherwise ended up in our water.”


Using goats to control buckthorn and other invasive species – April 21, 2022

“To learn more about managing invasive species with goats, join the East Metro Water Resource Education Program, Washington County Parks, and The Munch Bunch for an outdoor workshop on Tuesday, May 3, 6-7pm at Big Marine Park Reserve.”


Help save monarch butterflies – April 14, 2022

“USFWS estimates that there is a 96-100% probability that western monarch populations will collapse within 50 years and an 80% probability that eastern monarchs will as well. But, people can prevent that from happening by planting more milkweed.”


Help create the new Glacial Valley Park in Woodbury-Cottage Grove – April 8, 2022

“South Washington Watershed District’s conservation corridor is the result of two decades of work to create habitat connections and protect land-locked portions of Woodbury and Cottage Grove from flooding.”

TikTok: Watch some of our most popular recent videos @mnnature_awesomeness

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