State fish art contest is open to K-12 contestants

The STATE-FISH ART Contest is open worldwide to all children in grades K -12 in any public, private or home-school, any youth group, after-school program, youth camp, scout troop, art class, etc., or just an individual kid that wants to enter!

Learning and creating through art

Essentially any child of K-12 age is eligible as long as a responsible adult reads, agrees to and signs their entry form. Only one entry per child will be accepted. “Every year, there are one or two very disappointed students because they, their teachers or their parents did not follow our simple requirements (rules). The unfortunate result is disqualification by the judges…very, very sad indeed.” ~ Karen R. Hollingsworth, Manager, STATE-FISH ART

Deadline to submit your entry is March 31st. Wildlife Forever’s STATE-FISH ART Contest is an exciting, multimedia conservation education program designed to increase awareness of and respect for aquatic resources creating stewardship.

Freezing problems and septic systems

According to many septic system professionals, a winter of cold temperatures and little snow can cause freezing of onsite systems.

Even in a normal Minnesota winter, freezing can occasionally be a problem. Identifying and correcting a potential freezing problem is far easier than dealing with a frozen system. Here are a few common causes of onsite system freeze‐ups.

  • Lack of snow cover – snow acts as a insulating blanket over the septic system.
  • Compacted snow – will not insulate as well as uncompacted snow.
  • Lack of plant cover – this often occurs with the instillation of a new septic in fall. A vegetative cover (grass) insulates the system and hold snow.
  • Irregular use of the system – When homes or cabins are unoccupied for long weekends no warm sewage is entering the system to help maintain temperatures above freezing.
  • Leaking plumbing fixtures and furnace drips – the slow moving water can freeze in sewer empty pipes that freeze over time.
  • Cold air entering the system – broken and uncapped riser pipes and manhole covers and allow cold air to enter the system.
  • What should you do if you septic system freezes – Contact a septic system professional. Unless the cause of the freezing is corrected, the system will refreeze next cold winter day. There are many wrong ideas about how to address a frozen septic system: Do NOT add antifreeze, salt or septic additives. Do NOT pump sewage onto the ground surface. Do NOT start a fire over the system Do NOT run water continually to try to unfreeze the system.

What should you do if you septic system freezes. Contact a septic system professional. Unless the cause of the freezing is corrected, the system will refreeze next cold winter day. There are many wrong ideas about how to address a frozen septic system:

  • Do NOT add antifreeze, salt or septic additives.
  • Do NOT pump sewage onto the ground surface.
  • Do NOT start a fire over the system
  • Do NOT run water continually to try to unfreeze the system.

To learn what you can do to prevent your septic system from freezing see the University of Minnesota’s Freezing Problems & Septic Systems fact sheet.

Register for the 2019 Metro Area Children’s Water Festival

ATTENTION 4TH GRADE TEACHERS. Registration is open to attend the 2019 Metro Area Children’s Water Festival that will take place on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The Festival will include over 1,400 metropolitan area students (plus home-school students) to learn a most important lesson: WATER CONNECTS EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING ON EARTH.

The purpose of the festival is to raise participants understanding of how water makes everyday life possible. Through understanding the water cycle, and its importance to natural resources, participants learn to appreciate our natural environment and apply conservation measures for sustained water resources. Classes will be selected from the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

The 2019 annual Metro Area Children’s Water Festival is the 22st festival that is held on the last Wednesday of September. Over twenty-eight thousand students have attended previous festivals. Many have children of their own. The sponsors of the Festival intend to develop a metropolitan community that recognizes the importance of clean and sustainable water resources.

4th Grade Standards. This festival is geared to fourth grade students to match the Minnesota Science Standards for water lessons that are part of the education benchmarks.

Parents of homeschool children are encouraged to register for the lottery drawing that is open to all 4th grade level students.

To register for the 2019 Metro Children’s Water Festival please fill out the on-line Registration Form. Classes will be selected through a lottery drawing. The deadline for registration is March 15, 2019. For more information contact Bart Biernat (763-324-4207,

MARCH 15, 2019

Watch the Metro Children’s Water Festival (YouTube; 4:47) to see what happens at the festival

Poster contest open to all ages

Learn, engage and advocate! Design a 9×12 poster about how or why all Minnesotans should conserve and protect our sources of drinking water.  What happens upstream affects the waters downstream in Minnesota and beyond. It’s up to all of us to keep it clean and safe, now and in the future. For award details and official rules, visit:

Rules:  All posters must contain the phrase “Upstream, Downstream…Clean, Clean, Clean!” to be eligible. Size of poster must not exceed 9”x12”.  Entries must be postmarked by March 1, 2019 and follow all contest guidelines for consideration. All submissions become the property of H2O for Life and and the MN Department of Health, and will not be returned.  Submit all entries to H2O for Life Poster Contest, 1310 Highway 96E, #235, White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Fridley’s drinking water protection plan revised and ready

The Fridley City Council held a Public Information Meeting (Monday, January 28, 2019) where the updated Part 2 of the Fridley Wellhead Protection Plan was presented for public review and discussion.

The City of Fridley is amending and updating its ten-year Wellhead Protection Plan to protect city drinking water supply wells. The City has completed Part 2 (of two parts) of the Wellhead Protection Plan that includes information pertaining to:

  1. The inventory of potential contaminants of concern within the Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA);
  2. The data that was considered in this portion of the plan;
  3. Issues, problems and concerns within the DWSMA;
  4. Goals, objectives and action strategies to address issues of concern;
  5. A Plan evaluation strategy; and
  6. A contingency strategy in the event of water system disruption.

A copy of the draft Part 2 Plan is available to be viewed at City Hall. The hearing permitted the public to ask questions and comment on the draft Part 2 Plan before being accepted by the Council.

For more information contact Jim Kosluchar, Fridley Public Works Director/City Engineer at 763-572-3550.

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 wells. 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.

Upper Rum River seeking coordinator services

The Upper Rum River Watershed Management Organization has the objective of properly and efficiently managing natural resources for the long-term good. The URRWMO is seeking a person or agency that will provide watershed management coordinator services through a Request for Proposal (RFP) (link).

Submission and Questions. All Applicants who wish to respond to this RFP must do so by February 15, 2019. All responses should be in writing and one copy should be mailed to: John West, URRWMO Chair, Oak Grove City Hall, 19900 Nightingale Street NW, Oak Grove, MN 55011-9204. In addition, an electronic version should be emailed to

Current and draft URRWMO Management Plans and Reports can be found at: All questions related to this Request for Proposal shall be directed to John West at (612) 414-3513.


Lunch with a scientist, naturalist, or maybe dinner

Who would you prefer to lunch with? A Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve scientist? A Wargo Nature Center naturalist? Or maybe you’d prefer dinner at Springbrook Nature Center to discover what’s new and happening in science, nature and our community.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Albert Einstein

Lunch with a Scientist at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (East Bethel, MN) on the second Tuesday of the month at 11:30 am. (Free, bring your lunch)

  • 1/8/2019 – Eyes on the wild, Caitlin Potter
  • 2/12/2019 – RESCHEDULED – 4/8/2019
  • 3/12/2019 – Winter climate change, Sam Potter
  • 4/8/2019 – Radio telemetry, Dave Mech
  • 4/9/2019 – Prescribed burning, Troy Mielke and Jim Krueger
  • 5/14/2019 – Red-headed woodpeckers, Jim Howitz
  • 6/11/2019 – BioCON, Sarah Hobbie
  • 7/9/2019 – Bison and savanna restoration, Chad Zirbel
  • 8/13/2019 – Soil science, Linda Kinkel
  • 9/10/2019 – Oak savannas, Rebecca Montgomery
  • 10/8/2019 – Biodiversity research, Forest Isbell
  • 11/12/2019 – Nutrient network, Elizabeth Borer and Eric Seabloom
  • 12/10/2019 – Wildlife survey project, Jon Poppele

Lunch with a naturalist at Wargo Nature Center (Lino Lakes, MN) on the second or third Wednesday of the month at 11:30 am. (Free no registration required, bring your lunch)

Discovery Dinner (5:00 pm, $25 per person) at Springbrook Nature Center (Fridley, MN). Lively educational programs with a catered meal for the perfect night out.  Leave the kids at home and enjoy the night with friends or a date.  Registration is required and space is limited.  Call Springbrook at 763-572-3588 to sign up or for more details.

  • 1/12/2019 – StarWatch Party, Mike Lynch, WCCO Radio
  • 2/9/2019 – Electric Vehicles, Jukka Kukkonen, Plugin Connect
  • 3/23/2019 – Reinventing Minnesota’s Bell Museum, Denise Young, Executive Director

Natural Resources Field Trip

Registration is open now for all 4th and 5th Grade Classrooms to the Natural Resource Field Trip where youth can engage in environmental education in a natural, outdoor setting.

When: April 29 – May 3, 2019

Where:  Bunker Hills Regional Park, Andover

How: Visit our informational flyer (PDF) to register online or mail us your registration by filling out the provided registration form: 550 Bunker Lake Boulevard NW, Andover, MN 55304. Email Kim Ferguson or call at 763-324-3495 with registration questions. More registration details provided below. Registration deadline is February 15.

Field Trip Objectives

  • Provides a fun environmental experience in a natural, outdoor setting.
  • Includes information about Minnesota habitat and wildlife at different stations out in nature.
  • Educational topics may include: birds, honey bees, animals, plants, trees, recycling, fish families, reptiles, animal skulls and skeletons, wildlife control and more.
  • If time allows, classes may participate in up to 12 stations.

The Natural Resources Field Trip is coordinated by Anoka County 4-H and funded by an Anoka County Ag Preserves Grant and student fees. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Jy Xiong, 4-H Program Coordinator, or email Kim Ferguson, Support Staff, or call 763-324-3495.

Order Trees and Shrubs Now for Spring Planting

The Anoka Conservation District is accepting preorders for the annual Tree and Shrub Sale.  The District offers a wide variety of native stock, including black cherry trees, mixed oak trees, red maple trees, and white pine trees. The trees and shrubs are sold in bare root seedlings or transplants and most are 10″ to 24″ in height. They may be purchased in bundles of ten for $17, or twenty-five for $30 not including tax.  Native prairie seed and tree aids are also available. You do not need to be an Anoka County resident to order.

The Anoka Conservation District is now accepting preorders for the annual tree and shrub sale.

The Anoka Conservation District is now accepting preorders for the annual tree and shrub sale.

The Tree and Shrub Sale website also contains information about the kinds of trees and shrubs to plant in your particular situation along with planting directions.

You may purchase these trees and shrubs by:

  1. Online ordering,
  2. Mail in an Order Form, or
  3. Order by phone (763-434-2030 x10).

Anoka Co. highway presents its stormwater pollution prevention plan

Jack Forslund (Anoka County Highway Planner) and Meghan Litsey (WSB Environmental Scientist) presents Anoka County’s stormwater pollution minimum control measures

The Anoka County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) outlines how the County will reduce pollution in storm water runoff from highways and county properties. The Plan was presented at a public information meeting (December 4, 2018) where public feedback was welcome and planning staff were available to respond to questions.

A copy of the SWPPP is available for public review a the Anoka County Highway Department Offices (1440 Bunker Lake Blvd. NW, Andover, MN 55304). Written comments may be directed to the “Anoka County Highway Engineer” at the Highway Department offices.

For more information, please feel free to call Meghan Litsey (WSB & Associates, Inc.) 763-287-7155 or Jack Forslund (Anoka County Highway Department) at 763-324-3179.

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