Protect lakes and streams with an Aquatic Invasive Species grant

Anoka County Parks and Community Services wants to partner with lakeshore owners, lake associations and communities to protect our lakes, streams and rivers from aquatic invasive species.

The Anoka County Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Grant application window will soon be closing on June 30, 2017. It is a first come, first serve grant and once the funds run out the grant program no longer accepts applications.

Anoka County fights aquatic invasive species

Grant requests are allowed for up to $5,000 per lake within Anoka County. Each grant requires a cash or in-kind match of 25% of the total grant request. Grants will be available upon a first come – first serve basis until the 2017 grant funds are depleted. If all grant funds are not used following the first round of applications, a second round of grants will be offered until the grant funds are depleted.

See the Anoka County 2017 AIS Grant Information Sheet. The Anoka County 2017 AIS Grant Application must be submitted by June 30, 2017. For more information contact Jessica Leverty, Anoka County Parks Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator (763-324-3333).

See the Anoka County Aquatic Invasive Species YouTube video (Anoka County; 2:00) to see how the County is working to keep invasive species out of our lakes and rivers.

Plans for a better future for the Rum River

Rum River Dam (City of Anoka)

The rum river at the Anoka City dam.

A pair of water quality studies are good news, bad news for the Rum River watershed that starts at Lake Mille Lacs and flows through Anoka County where it meets the Mississippi River in the City of Anoka. While most of river is in good shape, some waters are in trouble. Six streams have high bacteria or low dissolved oxygen levels, meaning they may not be fishable and swimmable at times. Ten lakes, mostly in the southern half of the watershed, have high levels of phosphorus that causes algal blooms.

Data, going back several years, shows that many pollutants in the river have decreased significantly, probably due to wastewater treatment improvements. However, nitrogen and chloride levels have increased. Nitrogen and chloride can be toxic to fish and other aquatic life. In addition, the river’s nutrient levels are close to being high enough to fail the water quality standard.

Water bodies in the northern part of the watershed, which is mostly forests and wetlands, are generally in great shape. As the Rum River flows south, the land is more developed and pollutant levels increase. This increase in pollutants with increase in development is a trend documented in the surrounding Upper Mississippi River basin.

The two reports by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and local partners include:

  • The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, which establishes the amount of each pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards, and allocates reductions to different sources of pollutants.
  • The Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS), which identifies strategies for restoring and protecting water quality in the watershed.

Some recommended strategies for this watershed include protecting existing forestland, creating buffers in existing agricultural and developed areas, restoring wetlands that have been altered, discouraging additional drainage, promoting agricultural practices to reduce livestock waste in lakes and streams, and ensuring septic systems are working as intended throughout the watershed.

The reports are available on the Rum River watershed webpage. The Anoka Conservation District is leading the Rum River WRAPS project. For more information contact Jamie Schurbon at 763-434-2030 (x12).

Watershed approach videos. This four-part video series offers a great overview of our watershed approach to protecting and restoring our lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

Contest to protect pollinators is good for water too

Announcing the Andover pollinator friendly garden/landscape contest (enter by July 10th). See if your Andover property is the garden/landscape that pollinators love most! Then, take a tour around the city and see the various types of landscapes that are “pollinator-friendly” and an example of ways to bee in harmony with nature.

Andover has established, by  proclamation, recognizing the need and benefits of pollinators with an overall goal of working to protect the natural processes that are carried out by pollinators. The recent decline in pollinators due to factors including habitat loss, disease, parasites and pesticides has spurred the creation of the Andover Pollinator Awareness Project (APAP).

But pollinators are in every community. And, proper use of insecticides and smart conservation of plants and landscapes will not only benefit pollinators but our water resources too. Check out Pollinating New Ideas (UofM website) and Raising Bees at Wargo Nature Center (NMTV; 2:54)

Remember: Hundreds of varieties of Minnesota-native bees, honey bees, butterflies, a large assortment of insects, birds and mammals all work in perfect harmony to pollinate plants that we rely on as our food source; and directly impact our environment.

Sprinkling restrictions are going into effect

Irrigation - lawns, golf courses, and crops

The average person uses 80 to 100 (90) gallons of water per day (USGS data). For Anoka County that adds up to 30.8 million gallons a day or over 11 billion gallons per year.  The trick is to use water wisely so that our combined water demand doesn’t exceed our local water resources supply. During the summer months water use increases for lawn sprinkling. A homeowners water use in July can be six (6) times greater than January.

Residents and businesses throughout Anoka County should take note of city watering restrictions:

Lawn Watering Tips (from Don Taylor, University of Minnesota Extension Service Horticulturist): (1) Consider whether lawn irrigation is necessary in your situation; (2) Lawn irrigation would normally be minimal in spring until June; (3) Add 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week (minus any rainfall) during the summer months; (4) Keep the intervals between irrigations as long as possible; and (5) Water in early morning hours for greatest efficiency.

Contact your water utility for more information about water conservation, leak detection and water fixtures that conserve water.

Drinking water test reports available

Annual Water Report. Each year, community water suppliers prepare a report on the results of water quality tests of their water system in the previous year. The 2016 water quality reports summarize testing results for Jan 1 to December 31. The reports describe where the drinking water comes from and what’s in it. Groundwater, from wells, is the source of drinking water for community water suppliers in Anoka County (except Columbia Heights and Hilltop).

Municipal Wellhead Protection.  Community water suppliers are implementing wellhead protection programs to manage potential sources of soils and groundwater pollution near their wells.  Residents and businesses within a Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA) – near municipal wells – are in a unique position to protect the source of the community’s drinking water – the groundwater below. Find out if you are in a DWSMA by going to the Anoka County Wellhead Protection DWSMA map application.

Sealing Unused (Abandoned) Wells. Municipal wells are typically deep wells that use the natural protection of geologic layers to prevent pollution from reaching their community well. If old unused wells are near the municipal wells – pollution may pass through the natural protective layers down an unsealed well – contaminating the drinking water for the community. To learn more contact your municipal water utility department and view the Sealing Your Unused Well video (MDH, YouTube; 4:36)

Do you have a home well? Anoka County Environmental Services recommends that you test the safety of your drinking water annually. Go to the Well Water Testing webpage for more information.

Customers that want a copy of their water system’s annual report (normally published before July) may check the utility website or request a copy from their water supplier:

2016 Citizen Water Monitoring Reports Ready

With the many lakes, streams and creeks found throughout Anoka County – how can we tell if our water resources remain clean? It’ll take a lot to monitor and track trends in the quality of our water resources. Volunteers make the difference by collecting and sharing water quality information. And that data is shared through the Citizen Water Monitoring web page.

You can now view the 2016 Citizen Lake and Stream Monitoring Program data! To access the 2016 data, go to the Citizen Monitoring Program Individual Site Report website. From there you can navigate to the data on specific lakes, creeks or streams.

You can also link to water quality assessment information for your lake or stream and review trend results to find out if transparency is improving or declining over time on your favorite waterbody.

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); Can Citizen Science Save Us? (TEDxStanford YouTube) or call the MPCA at 651-296-6300 and ask to speak to the Citizen Water Monitoring program coordinator.

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

Circle Pines drinking water protection plan making progress

A Public Information Meeting was held by the Centennial Utilities Board of Commissioners at Circle Pines City Hall (Wednesday, May 17, 2017) where the updated Part 1 of the Circle Pines Wellhead Protection Plan was presented for public review and discussion.

Circle Pines is amending its Wellhead Protection Plan for its drinking water supply wells. The Minnesota Department of Health approved the amendment of Part 1 (of 2 parts) of the city’s plan. Part 1 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.

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 Circle Pines City Hall.

Circle Pines / Centennial Utilities Meeting 20170517

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.

Centennial Utilities provides the services of natural gas, water, sewer, garbage and recycling to Circle Pines customers and provides natural gas services to Lino Lakes and Blaine customers. Centennial Utilities derived from the “cooperative lifestyle” of the City of Circle Pines forefathers. Centennial Utilities was formed to provide the community with its own utility needs.  Centennial Utilities has a Board of five Commissioners who meet monthly on the third Wednesday of the month at 4 p.m.

For more information about Circle Pines Wellhead Protection program contact Patrick Antonen at (763) 231-2605.

Minnesota’s 25x’25 public engagement initiative

25BY25 (image) 590x250

Governor Mark Dayton has set forth an ambitious goal of achieving a 25% improvement in Minnesota’s water quality by the year 2025. The Governor’s office, with the support of state agencies and local partners, is launching a public engagement process from June through November 2017 to gather input across Minnesota on reaching the 25 x ’25 goal. The objectives are to identify regionally-specific priorities, create a shared vision for what a 25% improvement will look like for different parts of the state, and develop strategies to get there.

25BY25 meetings will be held throughout the state July – October.  The Governor is planning 3 meetings in the Metro area: Minneapolis 9/26, Burnsville 10/4, and Maplewood 10/5.  All from 6 – 8pm. Updates and information will be posted on the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board’s 25BY25 webpage.

The Anoka County Community Health Board has determined that water quality and sustainable drinking water is a most important community health issue. Addressing water challenges involve the participation of community leaders, organizations, residents and businesses working together. Each community in Anoka County has prepared plans and is collaborating in the protection and management of their water resources.

Residents need safe drinking water. The source of Anoka County’s drinking water is found within its communities through the use of public and private water wells (ground water). Businesses need an adequate and sustained supply of good quality water. Communities need natural resources that are managed well. For more information see the “Water Management in Anoka County” brochure or contact Bart Biernat (763-422-6985,

Well Water Wise (3W) week (May 8-12, 2017) test your home/cabin well

(Update, May 11, 2017) Springbrook Nature Center (Fridley) has joined to distribute kits for well water testing and to promote safe drinking water for all Anoka County residents. 

(UPDATE, May 7, 2017) Wargo Nature Center (Lino Lakes) has joined to distribute kits for well water testing and to promote safe drinking water for all Anoka County residents.

The Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services (CHES) Department, in cooperation with 15 municipalities and county agencies, is sponsoring the 18th annual Well Water Wise (3W) week promotion May 8-12, 2017 to encourage residents to check the safety of their private well water. For information on private well testing go to the Anoka County Environmental Services Well Water Testing webpage or call 763-422-7063.

County residents may pick up a well water test kit at participating city and township offices (listed below) or in the Environmental Services Unit, Suite 600 of the Anoka County Government Center, 2100 3rd Avenue in Anoka. Water samples can be submitted to the county’s Environmental Services Unit for analysis every Monday from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to noon.

During 3W week, samples can be submitted Monday through Thursday (8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.) and Friday (before noon). The well water testing kit includes details about water collection and submission. A laboratory fee of $30.00 will be charged for coliform bacteria and nitrate-nitrogen analysis.

Unlike public water utilities, private well water is not treated with chlorine to prevent bacteria growth. Simply looking at the appearance of drinking water is not a reliable indicator of whether it is safe to drink. An annual coliform bacteria test is a good way to ensure that your drinking water continues to be free of bacteria.

Nitrate-nitrogen occurs naturally in groundwater and wells at concentrations below one milligram per liter (mg/L). Nitrogen can seep into private wells from a variety of sources including septic systems, nitrogen fertilizers, animal feedlots, and landfills. The Minnesota Department of Health has established a Health Risk Limit (HRL) for nitrate-nitrogen at 10 mg/L. Levels above that point may pose an immediate risk to infants and pregnant women.

The testing of private wells used for drinking water is the responsibility of individual owners. There are an estimated 25,000 private wells in service throughout Anoka County. Only a small percentage of them are tested annually. For more information about well water testing, call the Environmental Services Unit at 763-422-7063.

Pick up a well water testing kit at participating communities and agencies:


Cube At Springbrook NC

Andover will defend it’s 2016 first place victory for water conservation

Andover Mayor Julie Trude has accepted the challenge to repeat Andover’s 2016 win in the Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. Andover placed first in the nation for water conservation pledges made by residents and businesses in April 2016. Mayor Trude said that Andover is currently second in the 2017 pledge standing, but there is a long way to go.

The Wyland Foundation held the kickoff of the 2017 National Mayor’s Challenge at the Mall of America (April 3, 2017). Do your part this Earth Month (April 1-30) by taking 1 minute to go to MYWATERPLEDGE.COM and make your pledge to conserve water and energy on behalf of your neighbors, your community and yourself.

Waylaid Mayor's Challenge Kickoff at MOA (20170403)

Andover Mayor, Julie Trude, accepts the challenge at the official kickoff of the 2017 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation at the Mall of America.

Wyland and its partners are giving away over $50,000 in prizes like an all-new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime and a $500 home improvement shopping spree.

Once you’ve made your water pledge at tell your friends to do the same and you’ll be entered into a daily eco-prize drawings for $1,000’s in prizes. In fact, if your friend makes a water conservation pledge after using your referral link and happens to win a daily prize, you’ll be made a winner for that day too!

Wyland is giving away up to $100 in cash prizes, an Apple iPad mini and more eco-friendly prizes so make your pledge and start sharing today! The earlier you make your pledge and share, the more chances you have of winning!

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