Protecting waterways means doing more with … more

Often the catch phrase “doing more with less” is used to show efficiency. However, in the world of managing lakes and rivers, to be effective sometimes requires more.

Lakes and rivers are dynamic and complex systems. Protecting and restoring them takes time, a lot of technical expertise and money. The finances and technical needs can be a lot for one agency to absorb. So partnerships are extremely valuable as groups or agencies can combine funds, expertise, and resources. Partnerships mean ideas turn into projects on the ground. Here are three projects that would not have been completed without such partnerships.

In Chaska, a severely eroded ravine was washing large amounts of sediment to the rare and protected Seminary Fen. Five partners pooled financial and technical resources to restore the ravine, protecting the fen from sediment pollution, including City of Chaska, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Lower Minnesota River Watershed District, Carver County Water Management Organization and the state agency Board of Water and Soil Resources.

If you visited Iron Tap or HEI Collision in Waconia this summer, you may have noticed spiffy new parking lots. These parking lots previously consisted of gravel that sent a slew of sediment into Lake Waconia whenever it rained. Thanks to a great partnership between the businesses, Carver County Water Management Organization, Carver Soil & Water Conservation District, Board of Water and Soil Resources, and the City of Waconia, each business now has porous pavement parking lots, which allow rainwater through to soak into the ground below, reducing sediment and phosphorus pollution to Lake Waconia.

One of our current projects in the planning process is a wetland restoration in Watertown. It has a number of partners involved including multiple departments at Carver County, the Carver Soil & Water Conservation District, and the City of Watertown. All are working together to restore a wetland in a low area near Co. Rd. 10 and 30th St. When completed, this wetland will hold back a large volume of water preventing flooding, treat runoff before it reaches the Crow River, and provide wildlife habitat.

Having healthy lakes and rivers benefits many so it’s important the responsibility is also shared by many. Partnerships and the collective and efficient use of funding and technical expertise allow us install projects that make a difference to the health of our waters.

Madeline Seveland is education coordinator with Carver County Water Management Department.