Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Pilots New Water Education Program
During the first year of the pilot in 2013, the program will focus on the Minneapolis neighborhoods surrounding Minnehaha Creek and the Chain of Lakes. In the second year, the program will expand to additional neighborhoods in Minneapolis and suburbs.
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD), in partnership with the Freshwater Society, has announced a new clean water educational resource for local communities: The Master Water Stewards program.
Applications are now being accepted for the three-year pilot program which will recruit and train volunteers to work with individuals and organizations in their communities to protect and clean up local lakes, streams and wetlands.
Polluted stormwater runoff is one of the greatest threats to the health of our surface waters. In addition to educating their neighbors about reducing runoff, the Master Water Stewards will work on runoff prevention projects, such as rain gardens and water-permeable driveways. They also will coordinate community activities such as leaf and grass clean-ups to reduce runoff.
The Master Water Stewards program is modeled after the successful Master Gardener and Master Naturalist programs, which are resources of knowledge and expertise for local communities.
The program has received a $321,945 Clean Water Assistance Grant from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.
“This innovative program is based on a model of community support and engagement that has been very successful in Minnesota,” said Peggy Knapp, Director of Programs at the Freshwater Society. “Not only will communities benefit from the Master Water Stewards’ expertise, the program creates a pool of volunteers that communities can use to meet water quality, education and outreach goals.”
During the first year of the pilot in 2013, the program will focus on the Minneapolis neighborhoods surrounding Minnehaha Creek and the Chain of Lakes. In the second year, the program will expand to additional neighborhoods in Minneapolis and first-ring suburbs, including Edina, St. Louis Park, Hopkins and Richfield. In the third year, the program will expand to the rest of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.
“We’re excited to partner with the Freshwater Society on this new program,” said Leslie Yetka, MCWD Education Manager.
“The Master Water Stewards will provide much-needed support of the District’s work to engage local community members in water quality protection.”
Following the three-year pilot in the MCWD, it’s hoped the Master Water Stewards program will be expanded metro-wide.