September 10, 2019
Has your doctor cautioned you (or a family member) to reduce salt intake? Sadly, despite your best efforts to scrutinize food labels, you may not to avoid some of the salt in your diet unless community-wide efforts are taken to reduce winter over-salting. Surprisingly, some of your salt intake may be coming from your water, not just your food. Thirty percent of metro area drinking water supplies have levels of salt (aka chloride) that exceed water quality standards. These chlorides reach our water supplies through storm water runoff. As snow and ice melt off hard surfaces, salty water runs into storm drains that flow into lakes, streams, wetlands, and seeps into groundwater. Once the salt is dissolved in water, there is no practical way to get the salt out of the water. That means, the best remedy for keeping our drinking water clean is prevention.
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September 4, 2019
Would you consider volunteering 15 minutes, twice a month, for cleaner waterways and healthier communities? Perhaps it sounds like a commitment that small couldn’t make a big impact, but, surprisingly, the simple act of keeping a storm drain clear of debris has a significant impact on our waters. Amazingly, just one pound of phosphorus—locked up in leaves in grass clippings—creates 500 pounds of algae when it gets washed to our lakes and creeks through storm drains! So, it’s easy to understand the significance of this small task.
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August 26, 2019
​In the middle of the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary, a 10’ by 10’ meter plot of ankle-height vegetation is bursting with life. This small section of the 510-acre sanctuary is home to nearly 100 species of plants, including rare and state-endangered species such as lance leaf violets, sundews, and twisted yellow-eyed grass. Thanks to the foresight of Jason Husveth from Critical Connections Ecological Services, the City of Blaine has embarked on a long-term wetland restoration project that’s reviving a landscape nearly lost to time.
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July 19, 2019
​Problems with home sprinkler systems often go unnoticed. Sprinklers are timed to run early in the morning when residents aren’t likely to see a broken or misaligned sprinkler head. Automated systems usually run every other day, regardless of a rainy forecast. The cumulative effect of inefficient and overzealous watering is taking a toll on our water supply.
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May 13, 2019
The foundations of the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission began in the late 1960s, when cities in the watershed came together to work on flooding problems.
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March 27, 2019
​Adopt a Storm Drain, a new program aimed at protecting area lakes, rivers, and wetlands, has just launched in the Twin Cities. Residents in the seven-county metro area and Rochester are invited to “adopt” a storm drain by committing to keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris. The simple act of sweeping up around a storm drain protects local lakes and rivers by preventing pollution from entering our shared waterways.
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February 13, 2019
Making sure kids are safe at school has always been a top priority for Craig Nordstrom. A Bloomington resident since 1975, Craig joined the facilities staff at Bloomington Public Schools in the early ’90s. Throughout his career, he focused on finding cost-effective ways to ensure the safety of students and staff across the 17 buildings that comprise the Bloomington Public School system.
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January 10, 2019
Salty water is a growing problem in Minnesota that affects aquatic life and our drinking water. You might not realize that your use of a water softener or sidewalk salt contributes to a build-up of chlorides in our shared waterways. Fortunately, a new generation of Minnesota GreenCorps is hard at work raising awareness of chloride issues around the state.
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December 2, 2018
Printmaking and environmental education might seem like an unlikely combination. After all, printmakers have historically used many toxic chemicals in the name of art. Acid baths, mineral spirits, and screenprinting emulsion are just a few of the chemicals commonly found in print shops. But Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis is taking a more environmentally responsible approach to the art form.
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October 23, 2018
Mercury accounts for one-third of the “impaired waters” listing for Minnesota—1,670 of the 4,603 lakes and rivers. As the word “impaired” implies, it is defined as body of water that is not meeting state water quality standards. Elevated exposure to mercury can harm the nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) and the kidneys. It can cause illness or, in extreme cases, death, and it is a special concern for fetuses, infants and children, according to the Minnesota Health Department. Exposure to mercury during the time the nervous system is developing can affect a child’s ability to learn and process information.
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