Citizens Monitoring Anoka County Waters (Thank You)

Anoka County communities owe citizen volunteers our gratitude for monitoring and reporting water quality data. Resident volunteers collect periodic water clarity information for the Minnesota’s Citizen Stream Monitoring and Citizen Lake Monitoring Programs.

The data collected by citizens is entered and maintained in a Lake and Stream Database  used by residents, lake associations, schools, community organizations, watershed management organizations, and city and county agencies (parks, utilities, environmental and health departments) to determine current conditions and trends in the quality of our shared water resources.

Become a citizen lake or stream monitoring volunteer to gather vital information about the quality of our water resources.

Become a citizen lake or stream monitoring volunteer to gather vital information about the quality of our water resources.



VOLUNTEERS WANTED. There are lakes and streams that the Water Monitoring Program is encouraging volunteers to monitor including:

  • PRIORITY: Cedar Creek at Co. 9 (Oak Grove);
  • PRIORITY: Seelye Brook at Co. 7 (Oak Grove);
  • PRIORITY: West branch of the Sunrise River near Co. Rd. 19 (Linwood);
  • Amelia (Lino Lakes);
  • Baldwin (Lino Lakes);
  • Cedar (Lino Lakes);
  • Centerville (Centerville);
  • Crossways (Columbus);
  • Deer (East Bethel);
  • Fish (East Bethel);
  • George (Oak Grove);
  • George Watch (Lino Lakes);
  • Howard (Columbus).
  • Minard (East Bethel);
  • Mud (Oak Grove);
  • Neds (East Bethel);
  • Reshanau (Lino Lakes);
  • Rice (Circle Pines);
  • Rice Creek Marsh (Lino Lakes);
  • Rondeau (Centerville);
  • Round (Anoka);

Secchi Disc Water Clarity Measurement (image)To learn more about the Citizen Science Water Monitoring Program visit the MPCA’s Citizen Water Monitoring web page or view the videos: MPCA Citizen Science Program (MPCA YouTube; 3:46); EPA Volunteers Make Citizen Science Work (EPA YouTube; 2:12) or call the MPCA at 651-296-6300 and ask to speak to the Citizen Water Monitoring program coordinator.

To sign up to become a Citizen Lake Water Monitoring volunteer visit the CLMP sign-up web page.

To sign up to become a Citizen Stream Monitoring volunteer visit the CSMP sign-up web page.

The Minnesota DNR logo and branding strategy is a fresh and cohesive look to identify state government as an enterprise working on behalf of all Minnesotans.

Monitoring and maintaining oxygen levels in area lakes

Over the winter, lakes experience a decrease in dissolved oxygen (DO) levels that can lead to reduced numbers of fish that survive until spring. The concentration of DO in lake water varies from year to year based on winter conditions including when the lake freezes over and how soon (and how long) it is covered by a thick (sun blocking) layer of snow that prevents the natural processes of lake plants to generate dissolved oxygen through photosynthesis.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducts periodic tests of DO level and water temperatures in Centerville, Coon, Martin and Peltier lakes to determine if the lake environment supports its fish. The DNR Fisheries Manager monitors the DO levels, deciding when to commence aeration of lakes to support aquatic life.

DNR Fisheries Specialist Jim Levitt angering a hole in lake to collect samples and monitor water quality.

DNR Fisheries Specialist Jim Levitt angering a hole in a lake to collect samples and monitor water quality.

The goal of the DNR Lake Aeration Program is to ensure the safe winter operation of aeration systems and to ensure the appropriate use of aeration technology. In most cases, the use of aerators is to maintain existing populations of fish. It is important to realize that aerators are not the best option in all lakes. To view a brochure on how aeration may prevent winter-kill of fish, or to obtain a DNR aerator system permit application visit the DNR Lake Aeration Program (webpage).

DID YOU KNOW Cenaiko Lake (located at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park) is a designated trout lake and closed to fishing until the trout season (January 14, 2017 to March 31, 2017). See the fishing regulations for more details on designated trout lakes. DNR fisheries monitors and maintains Cenaiko Lake:

  • 4,000 Rainbow Trout were stocked in December (size: 8-14 inches)
  • 181 Adult Rainbow Trout were stocked in December (size: up to 5 pounds)
  • Possession limit (5 combined – not more than 3 over 16″)
MnTAP - Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (logo)

Great summer intern opportunity – Water Conservation

The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) is looking for six metro businesses to host science and engineering interns focused on water conservation projects.

MnTAP is an outreach program at the University of Minnesota that helps Minnesota businesses develop and implement industry-tailored solutions that prevent pollution at the source, maximize efficient use of resources, and reduce energy use and costs to improve public health and the environment.

In a 2016 MnTAP project Tanner Glaza (Byproducts and Biosystems Engineering student) researched the Anoka-Hennepin Independent School District’s 35 properties (243 acres of landscape) water use to analyze and prioritize water conservation opportunities. The project was able to reduce watering of general areas (by half); eliminate water added to general use areas; reduce over-watered areas; and improve turf conditions by including moisture sensors and smart irrigation practices for improve landscapes.

Tanner Glaza's MnTAP project reduced annual water use of over 4.8 million gallons at the Anoka-Hennepin School District properties.

Tanner Glaza’s MnTAP project reduced annual water use of over 4.8 million gallons at Anoka-Hennepin School District properties.

MnTAP provides free, industry-tailored technical assistance. By reducing waste and increasing efficiency, businesses can save on disposal and raw material costs and decrease regulatory compliance burdens. And a company will, also, create healthier and safer working conditions for your employees.

Established in 1984, MnTAP is funded primarily by a pass-through grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Resource Management and Assistance Division to the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences. As part of the University, MnTAP has no regulatory responsibilities or obligations.

For more information contact the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program at (612) 624-1300.

Rice Creek Watershed District

Proving Stormwater Reuse a Possibility

Collecting and reusing stormwater for irrigation is gaining attention. By reducing stormwater pollution runoff directly into creeks, rivers and lakes – we are preserving our swimming, fishing and drinking water resources. Another benefit is to help reduce increased groundwater withdrawal, by wells, for irrigation of lawns, gardens and landscape.

The Rice Creek Watershed District (RCWD) has recently released its Stormwater Reuse for Irrigation Assessment Methodology. The Methodology provides guidelines for locating, installing and operating a stormwater reuse facility at parks, golf courses, schools, businesses and residential developments.

The Oneka Ridge Golf Course and the City of Hugo successfully reused stormwater for irrigation at the golf course. It was part of the Bald Eagle Lake Restoration Project that resulted in the RCWD’s development of the watershed-scale assessment Methodology. The Bald Eagle Lake Restoration Project ultimately won the Minnesota Association of Watershed District’s 2016 Project of the Year.

Irrigation of Parks, Golf Courses, Schools, etc.

The Methodology is a step-by-step, repeatable planning process for identifying sites that would be suitable locations for reuse projects. Technical criteria are used to evaluate the feasibility of locations, and qualitative criteria are used to prioritize those technically feasible sites. The methodology was developed with the intention to be used by others. Qualitative criteria can be modified to meet different community goals.

The RCWD will be holding a workshop for potential users on March 9th for decision makers and technical staff. Individuals interested in this training should contact Beth Carreno (763-398-3073,

The Rice Creek Watershed District is committed to building and promoting projects that provide our residents with multiple benefits such as improved water quality, flood protection, and reduced reliance on groundwater for landscape irrigation. RCWD Administrator, Phil Belfiori, stated that this project was significant and timely, “because as interest in water reuse grows so does the need for a way to systematically identify areas that are best suited for these practices.

This Methodology was developed with Houston Engineering Inc. (HEI) serving as the engineering consultants for the project. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) provided funding for the development of the methodology through the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.

Rain Barrel (image)

Stormwater reuse is as easy a rain barrel.

Nominate your natural resources hero for the 2017 Public Health Award

You can’t separate people and their health from their environment. And those that help protect and manage our natural resources are not only heroes preserving land, wildlife and water in our communities; they are preserving the natural processes that maintain healthy environments and clean water.

Anoka Co 2017 Public Health Award (capture2)

Consider nominating an Anoka County resident or organization for an Anoka County 2017 Public Health Award. Nominations must be submitted to Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services by January 30, 2017. Awards will be announced during Public Health Month (April, 2017).

City of Blaine

Blaine Wellhead Protection Plan is progressing

A Public Information Meeting was held at Blaine City Hall (Wednesday, January 4, 2017) where Part 1 of the Wellhead Protection Plan was discussed.

Blaine is amending its Wellhead Protection Plan for its drinking water supply wells. The Minnesota Department of Health approved the amendment of Part 1 of the city’s plan. Part 1 (of 2 parts) includes information pertaining to:

  1. The delineation of the wellhead protection areas,
  2. The Drinking Water Supply Management Area boundaries, and
  3. An assessment of the vulnerability of the wells and DWSMAs.
Stefan Higgins (Blaine Assistant City Engineer) indicating the Drinking Water Supply Management Area for wells in the northwest quadrant of the City.

Stefan Higgins (Blaine Assistant City Engineer) indicating the Drinking Water Supply Management Area for wells in the northwest quadrant of Blaine.

A complete copy of the Part 1 plan amendment containing the technical information used to delineate the wellhead protection area, drinking water supply management area, and aquifer vulnerability used by City wells is available at Blaine City Hall.

What is wellhead protection? Wellhead Protection is a way to prevent drinking water from becoming contaminated by managing potential sources of pollution in the area which supplies water to the City’s well. Much can be done to prevent pollution, such as the wise use of land and chemicals. Public health is protected and the expense of treating polluted water or drilling a new well is avoided.

What is a wellhead protection area? A wellhead protection area is a zone around a public water supply well managed to keep pollutants from rapidly reaching the community’s water supply.  The area that is managed uses easily identifiable landmarks as boundaries (e.g. streets, property lines, ditches) called the Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA).  The wellhead protection area is based on the minimum time (ten years) for a pollutant to reach the well.

Who’s Impacted?
A wellhead protection area includes hundreds to thousands of properties. Residents and businesses within a wellhead protection area are asked to cooperate with your water supplier to effectively protect our water supply without establishing additional ordinances or regulatory programs.

For more information about Blaine’s Wellhead Protection program contact Stefan Higgins at (763) 717-2722.

MN Master Naturalist Program

Become a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer

Discover the wonders of our natural resources and lead others by becoming a Minnesota Master Naturalist (MMN). Who can become a Minnesota Master Naturalist? Any adult who is curious and enjoys learning about the natural world, shares that knowledge with others, and supports conservation. If you enjoy hiking, bird watching, following tracks, or identifying wildflowers, you’ll love being a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.

The Minnesota Master Naturalist training courses consists of in-classroom training and field trips. Courses are designed to be a general overview of Minnesota’s three biomes: Big Woods, Big Rivers (BWBR); Prairies and Potholes (PP); North Woods, Great Lakes (NWGL); plus advanced training (ADV). The courses locally available are:

  • Feb. 25th to April 1st, 2017 BWBR – Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (East Bethel, MN) Instructor Caitlin Potter (email). Dr. Potter is the education and outreach coordinator at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Her background is in wildlife ecology, and she holds a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology as well as a masters and Ph.D in ecology and evolutionary biology. She studied wildlife and animal behavior all over the world (mostly monkeys in Ethiopia) before finding her true passion doing environmental education! Now, she runs school field trips and public events at CCESR, works with scientists to get their results into the hands of students, and organizes several citizen science projects. The course cost is $275* and includes course manuals and supplies.
  • May 30th to June 13th, 2017 BWBR – Field Biology (Anoka-Ramsey Community College) Instructor Joan McKearnan (email).  The course cost is $275* and includes course manuals and supplies.

*If the course cost is a hardship, please fill out the scholarship application and send (MMN).

Master Naturalist are trained to be stewards of our natural environment and to teach these skills to others.

Master Naturalist are trained to be stewards of our natural environment and to teach these skills to others.

Master Water Stewards

Waterspot on Master Water Stewards

The Master Water Stewards program is a volunteer education and outreach program designed to equip citizens with the knowledge and skills needed to help improve water quality within a community.

Stewards are certified by participating in a broad training curriculum led by experts in the fields of hydrology, stormwater management, water policy, community-based social marketing, landscape assessment, and installation of clean water practices. Classes run from mid-October to mid-April each year but applications are accepted year round. Stewards are sponsored by their local water management organization or municipality and attend classes with a cohort of other prospective Stewards in their region. Participating partner organizations in Anoka County are the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (video 3:19: MWMO 2016 Year in review) and the Rice Creek Watershed District.

At the end of the certification process, all Stewards must complete a capstone project in community leadership and outreach that captures rainfall and allows more clean water to soak into the ground. Stewards then become a point of knowledge and influence in their communities.

Master Water Stewards are volunteering their time for watershed districts and environmental groups, participating in city and local government boards, influencing policy, and changing the health of our waters.  The first Stewards have had dramatic impacts on the quality of their community’s local water resources (

The Master Water Steward program was developed by Freshwater Society in 2013. Interested volunteers are encouraged to contact the Freshwater Society ( for more information about the program.

Master Water Stewards Ian Lamers & Liz Reiser installed a stormwater treatment train at a Northeast Minneapolis home that include three rain barrels, three rain chains, and a raingarden.

Master Water Stewards Ian Lamers & Liz Reiser installed a stormwater treatment train at a NE Minneapolis home that includes rain barrels, rain chains, and a raingarden.

Anoka County Water Task Force

Tips to reduce salt pollution of streams, lakes and groundwater

How can we maintain water quality of our local lakes, streams, groundwater and drinking water but keep driving conditions safe in the winter? There are no practical alternatives to applying salt to remove ice from roadways, driveway, sidewalks and parking lots. BUT, we can apply less salt through efficient smart salting (S2) strategies. Anoka County and community public works are adopting S2 methods that save money as well as reduce the damage to infrastructure, vehicles, grass/plants, and water supplies.

Residents, businesses and organizations can do their part to prevent salt/chloride pollution by following some simple tips:

  • Shovel (or snow-blow) first. The more snow and ice you remove manually, the less salt you will have to use and the more effective it will be.
  • Work together with neighbors, businesses, schools, churches and non-profits to find ways to reduce salt use in your community. Speaking up starts the process of working together.
  • Know the right temperature. 15 degrees F is too cold for (sodium-chloride) salt. Most salts stop working at this temperature. Use sand instead for traction, but remember that sand does not melt ice.
  • Slow down. Drive for the conditions and make sure to give plow drivers plenty of space to do their work. Consider purchasing winter (snow) tires.
  • Be patient. Salt doesn’t work instantly. Just because you don’t see whitish salt on the road doesn’t mean it hasn’t been applied. These products take time to work.
  • Apply less. More salt does not mean more melting. Use less than 4 pounds of salt per 1,000 square feet. One pound of salt is approximately a heaping 12-ounce coffee mug. Leave about a 3-inch space between granules. Consider purchasing a hand-held spreader to help you apply a consistent amount.
  • Sweep up extra. If salt or sand is visible on dry pavement it is no longer doing any work and will be washed away. Use this salt or sand somewhere else or throw it away.
  • Watch a video, Improved Winter Maintenance produced by the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (including Columbia Heights and Fridley) that shows efficient snow and ice removal.
  • Use a certified Smart Salting contractor. Certified individuals have attended training, passed a test, and agreed to use practices that reduce salt impacts on the environment File (spreadsheet of Smart Salting Level 1 certificate holders). 
  • Be part of the Year of Water Action – Governor Dayton’s initiative to protect the quality of our natural resources. Download and sign the Water Stewardship Pledge!

Did you miss the 2017 Boats of Coon Lake Calendar?


The Coon Lake Improvement Association’s 2017 Boats Of Coon Lake calendar sold out early. But with enough requests (orders) for the calendar you can still get it when and if it is reprinted. To request reprints call Denise (763-434-9761) or Bev (763-434-9811). Proceeds are used to support Coon Lake preservation projects.

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