Drinking water protection grants for small public systems

ANNOUNCEMENT (link). The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announces the availability of funding to support the protection of drinking water at noncommunity transient public water system (PWS) that include water wells that serve a restaurant, hotel or office building. Non-community transient systems serve at least 25 people at least 60 days of the year, but do not serve the same 25 people over that period of time. Source water protection activities that are funded under this grant program must support measures that address a potential contamination source that presents a high risk to a source of drinking water as determined by the Minnesota Department of Health.

GRANT AWARDS (link). The total amount of funding that is available under this notice is $75,000. The minimum amount for any grant is $250 and the maximum amount is $10,000 and requires an equal cost share. However, when more than one qualifying non-community transient PWS apply under the same grant request, the cap amount will be increased by as much as $10,000 for each additional PWS up to a maximum grant amount of $30,000.

ELIGIBILITY. A source water protection non-community transient competitive grant is intended to support implementation of the source water protection measures that address a potential source of contamination exhibiting a high risk that is recognized by MDH either 1) in a sanitary survey or 2) through corrective actions relating to monitoring for a contaminant that may result in an acute public health concern.

Applications for this grant program are accepted between Friday September 1, 2017 8:00 a.m. and Friday March 30, 2018 at 4:30 p.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT. Kris Wenner, Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator (Health.SWPgrants@state.mn.us) subject line of email:  Attention Kris Wenner.

25BY25 top concerns for water quality improvement

Governor Mark Dayton has released a report of the 25BY25 town hall meetings, held last year, that asked Minnesotans what are their top concerns about the state’s water quality. The report identifies nine main themes:

  • Education, communication and engagement
  • Reducing runoff by holding more water on the land
  • Working together across levels of government and with the public
  • Locally led watershed planning
  • Pollutants and drinking water
  • Salt pollution
  • Septic systems
  • Funding
  • Incentives and regulation

The Know The Flow website is a coordinated effort of Anoka County agencies, Cities, Watershed Management Organizations and non-government organizations to address local water challenges. Our water resources supply us with safe drinking water; healthy fish; and safe swimming beaches. The coordination of local agencies through these collaborative efforts improve the efficiency of the various programs by encouraging residents and landowners to use best methods to prevent water pollution and keep local water resources sustainable for the next generation.

Register for the 2018 Metro Area Children’s Water Festival

Attention Twin Cities 4th grade teachers!

Registration is open to attend the 2018 Metro Area Children’s Water Festival that will take place on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 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 2018 annual Metro Area Children’s Water Festival is the 21st festival that is held on the last Wednesday of September. Over twenty-six 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 2015 Metro Children’s Water Festival please fill out the Registration Form and submit according to the instructions. The deadline for registration is March 16, 2018. For more information contact Bart Biernat (763-324-4207, Bart.Biernat@co.anoka.mn.us).

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

International Day of Women & Girls in Science

International Day of Women and Girls in ScienceA gender gap persists in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world. Women have made tremendous progress increasing their participation in the science and engineering fields. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science inspires all women that they can be the scientist that changes the world.

Whose your favorite female scientist? In Anoka County, the women making our communities a safer and better place to live, work and play includes:

  • Caitlin Barale Potter (Outreach Coordinator, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Res.)
  • Beth Carreno (Communications Coordinator, Rice Creek Watershed Dist.)
  • Justine Dauphinais (Water Quality Coordinator, Coon Creek Watershed Dist.)
  • Dawn Doening (Information & Education Coordinator, Coon Creek Watershed Dist.)
  • Kate Drewery (Hydrologist, Anoka area, MN Department of Natural Resources)
  • Melinda “Mindy” Erickson (Hydrologist, US Geological Survey – MN)
  • Kaci Fisher (Environmental Compliance, Hakanson Anderson Inc.)
  • Lisa Gilliland (Supervisor, Wargo Nature Center – Anoka Co. Parks)
  • Jessi Gurr (President, Iceberg Web Design)
  • Diane Hankee (Engineer, City of Lino Lakes)
  • Rebecca Haug (Water Resources Manager, City of Blaine)
  • Kathryn Jones (Project Manager, HDR, Inc)
  • Jean Keeley (Engineer, City of Blaine)
  • Sarah Lloyd (Engineer, Bolton & Menk)
  • Joan McKearnan (Science Instructor, Anoka-Ramsey Community College)
  • Lauren Sampedro (Water Resources Specialist, Rice Creek Watershed Dist.)
  • Carley Schmidt (Environmental Health Specialist, Anoka County)
  • Laura Schmidt (Hazardous Waste Specialist, Anoka County)
  • Colleen Sinclair (Recycling Coordinator, City of Coon Rapids)
  • Carrie Taylor (Nature Restoration Specialist, Anoka Conservation Dist.)
  • Amy Ulbricht (Commercial Waste Specialist, Anoka County)
  • Laurel Woodruff (Research Geologist, US Geological Survey – MN)
  • Becky Wozney (Wetland Specialist, Anoka Conservation Dist.)

Check out the Women’s Environmental Network for information on local events for women scientists.


Coon Creek Watershed Board of Managers Vacancy

The mission of the Coon Creek Watershed District (CCWD) is to manage groundwater and surface water drainage systems to prevent property damage, maintain hydrologic balance and protect water quality for the safety and enjoyment of citizens and the preservation and enhancement of wildlife habitat.

The CCWD is administered by a five (5) member Board of Managers. Manager Westlund’s term of service will expire on May 27, 2018. Persons residing within the CCWD (please review the notice and map) may submit their name for consideration to fill the vacancy by March 28, 2018.

If you are interested in serving, you may wish to contact your City Clerk to request to be placed on a list of nominations submitted by your City to the Anoka County Board of Commissioners, the appointing authority.

If your City is not nominating candidates, persons interested in being appointed to serve may submit their names for consideration directly to the Anoka County Board of Commissioners (Commissioner District Map).

A nominee must also be eligible to vote in the district and not be a public officer of the county, state or federal government.

The Water Bar is open to the community for water

Water Bar & Pubic Studio

(featured in the Minnesota Department of Health WATERLINE)

Water Bar – a combination of water, art, and social infrastructure that has been a hit across the state – is located in a new storefront at 2518 Central Avenue NE in Minneapolis.  With watertenders serving water from various cities, Water Bar has been on site in many locations, including the State Fair and the annual conference of the Minnesota Section of American Water Works Association.

Every Saturday the Water Bar is open and serving free tap water from around the metro and beyond.

Stop in, slow down, really taste water, think about where it comes from, and our connection to it. Volunteer Water Tenders answer questions, ask questions, and help make connections. Spend time with the current exhibition or spread out your supplies and make some art of your own. You never know who you’ll run into at Water Bar.

What Water Bar Does

ARTS & CULTUREcollaborate with other artists and arts-based organizations to develop public art projects and programs at the intersection of culture and environmental education, engagement and advocacy.

ENVIRONMENTcollaborate with water and environmental advocacy organizations to host and staff Water Bar pop-ups, and to develop other creative strategies for engaging existing and new environmental advocates.

EDUCATIONwork with educators, administrators, and students to create transformative learning experiences. We emphasize methods drawn from arts-based community development, participatory research, and service learning.

BUSINESSwork with a range of businesses to develop their understanding and commitment to water quality and environmental protection, designing engagement projects with and for employees, customers and communities.

COMMUNITY BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONSdevelop projects that engage local residents in community-based planning, policy and education for environment and community resilience.

Find out how you can:  Volunteer  –  Invest  –  Partner  –  Create

Wargo Nature Center photo contest

Wargo Nature Center would like to display creative photography involving the natural world around us. This contest will run from January 27th – April 30th. All submissions will be online and winners will be notified May 8, 2018.

Enter online. You must be a MN resident. Submit up to 2 digital color photos. Must be your original photo, no copyrighted photos. Photos must be taken in Minnesota; Anoka County preferred but not required. All Ages (parent must sign for minors). Categories Include: Nature scenery, Wildlife, Wildflowers, People enjoying nature (you will be responsible for permission) Any submissions including the following will be disqualified: Captive wildlife or domestic animals, inappropriate content.

at Wargo Nature Center will review submissions. The top six photos will receive a Wargo Nature Center T-shirt, water bottle, and have their photo displayed at the Center.

Many opportunities to serve your community and protect natural resources

ANOKA COUNTY Citizen Advisory Boards and Commissions support County government by involving citizens in the decision-making process, meeting requirements of state law, helping to define community norms and standards, providing technical expertise, serving as advocates, offering feedback, and reflecting the diverse interests of County clients and residents. The Anoka County Board of Commissioners appoints members to these Citizen Advisory Boards and Commissions such as the Coon Creek Watershed District and the Rice Creek Watershed District. Current open positions:

The CITY OF ANOKA is accepting applications for the openings (announcement): Parks & Recreation Board, Charter Commission, Economic Development Commission, Heritage Preservation Commission, Human Rights Commission, and Utility Advisory Board. For more information, please contact the Administration Department at 763-576-2740 or via email at: aoehlers@ci.anoka.mn.us

The CITY OF ANDOVER maintains six (6) Commissions & Boards to advise the Council. The City is seeking individuals to serve 3-year terms on the Park & Recreation Commission. For more information, contact Todd Haas, Assistant Public Works Director at (763) 767-5131. Also, the City is seeking individuals to serve 3-year terms on the Open Space Advisory Commission concerning preservation of open space. For more information, please contact Dave Carlberg, Community Development Director at (763)767-5140. Commission members are compensated.

The CITY OF BLAINE seeks to fill Board & Commission vacancies for 2018: Park Advisory Board (recommends policy pertaining to the park and recreation function), Planning Commission (advises on long-range community planning goals and policies), Natural Resources Conservation Board (advises on the acquisition and management of public open space, trails, natural resources), Special Board of Review (provides a fair and objective forum for property owners to appeal their property valuation or classification). For more information contact Stacy Dellich, Deputy City Clerk (Email, Phone: 763-785-6122).

The CITY OF CIRCLE PINES maintains three (3) Commissions or Boards: Utilities Commission, Park Board, and Planning Commission. Volunteers play an important role in providing democratic government for Circle Pines. Serving on a commission or board is an excellent way to share citizen input and put individuals’ talents to use.

The CITY OF COLUMBUS is accepting applications for residents to serve on the Park Advisory Board and the Sunrise River Watershed Management Organization Board. The Park Advisory Board discusses park acquisition and development. The SRWMO is a multi-city board that collaborates in the management of local water resources. If you have questions about this opportunity, please call the City Offices at 651-464-3120 for more information.

In the CITY OF COON RAPIDS, citizen participation on Boards and Commissions is vital to the progress of the City. The City Council appoints citizens who serve voluntarily on advisory boards and commissions in the City including: Sustainability (research ideas for sustainable living), Parks and Recreation (maintain comprehensive park plan), Arts (promote and present cultural activities), Historical (monitor matters of historical significance), Planning (review issues involving zoning, the Comprehensive Plan and land use), Safety (review public safety issues). If you are interested in becoming a member of an advisory board, please fill out the Commission Application (PDF).

The CITY OF EAST BETHEL has several Authorities, Boards, and Commissions. Limited-term committees are also sometimes formed to address specific issues. The authorities, boards, and commissions provide a way for the city to benefit from the expertise and experience of those who live and work in the city, as well as providing a way for residents to meet new people, learn new things, develop leadership skills, be of service, and make a difference. If you are interested in serving as a member please contact us at 763-367-7840.

The CITY OF FRIDLEY has six Commissions. These community volunteers help advise the City Council on important aspects of the city. The City Council seeks residents interested in serving on City commissions as vacancies arise: Charter Commission, Planning Commission, Appeals Commission, Environmental Quality and Energy Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, and Housing and Redevelopment Authority. For information on current vacancies, see the Commission Vacancies webpage. For further information about current openings, the duties and responsibilities, meeting dates and times of the commissions, fill out a Commission Application or contact Roberta in the City Manager’s Office at (763) 572-3500.

The CITY OF HAM LAKE has three (3) Commissions that monitor their community and advise the City Council on important issues in Ham Lake: Planning Commission (makes recommendations to the City Council regarding growth and development in the City), Park and Tree Commission (makes recommendations regarding the use, maintenance and development of all city parks, and supervises the oak wilt control plan), Charter Commission (the City Charter, approved by voters and issued by the State of Minnesota in 1982, allows the City, in some instances, broader powers including the right to initiative and referendum).

The LINO LAKES City Council is assisted in its decision-making process by several advisory boards and committees: Economic Development Advisory Committee, Environmental Board, Park Board, and Planning & Zoning Board. Vacancies on advisory boards and committees can be found under the jobs & volunteering webpage. Generally, openings occur when terms expire, on December 31 of each year, unless a member must resign before his/her term has expired.

The CITY OF NOWTHEN has three (3) Committees or Commissions (Parks and Recreation Committee, Planning and Zoning Commission, and Upper Rum River Watershed Management Organization) that participate in the planning and implementation of City programs, services and management of local water resources. For more information contact the City Offices at 763-441-1347 or contact the City Council directly.

The CITY OF RAMSEY maintains 5 Commissions and Boards to make specific recommendations to the City Council. Ramsey is accepting applications for its advisory commissions that include the Environmental Policy Board, Parks and Recreation Commission, Economic Development Authority, and the Planning Commission. Applications are being accepted for all commissions and will be kept on file for one year in the event of an unexpected vacancy. Online applications and additional information are available on the City’s Boards and Commissions webpage or call Human Resources at 763-433- 9867.

The CITY OF SAINT FRANCIS has four (4) Commissions or Boards that monitor their community and advise the City Council on important issues: Planning and Zoning CommissionEconomic Development Authority (established in 2011 to encourage, attract, promote and develop economically sound industry and commerce within the City) – Charter CommissionUpper Rum River Watershed Management Organization.

Columbus residents: apply for the Sunrise River WMO Board to protect local water resources

The City of Columbus is accepting applications for two (2) residents to fill vacancies on the Sunrise River Watershed Management Organization (SRWMO) Board (announcement) . If you or someone you know is interested in this opportunity, please visit the City of Columbus Jobs & Volunteering web page to print out an application and submit to the Columbus City Clerk.

The Sunrise River Watershed Management Organization (SRWMO) is a joint powers special purpose unit of government composed of member cities collaborating to manage water resources. This arrangement is based upon the recognition that water-related issues and management rarely stop at municipal boundaries. The SRWMO’s boundaries are defined by the West Branch of the Sunrise River’s watershed to the West and South Branch of the Sunrise’s watershed to the south. To the north and east the boundaries are defined by the Anoka County border.

The SRWMO is involved in many aspects of water management including planning and regulation, water quality, flooding, shoreland management, recreation, wildlife, and erosion control. The WMO has a state-approved watershed management plan which outlines their policies and plan of work. Cities’ and townships’ local water management plans must be consistent with the WMO’s plan. The SRWMO Board does not have employees. Instead, it works through cooperative efforts of the member cities and townships, or contracts with the Anoka Conservation District or other consultants.

January is Radon Action Month

Governor Dayton has proclaimed January 2017 as Radon Action Month to emphasize that every home should be tested for radon as 2 in 5 homes still have dangerous levels (see Unity Hospital Hosts Community Forum on Radon, YouTube video, CTN Studios; 2:07). Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable, by testing homes and fixing radon problems.

Radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths are attributed to radon each year in the U.S.

The number of homes fixed (mitigated) has doubled over previous years due, in part, to a new state law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2014. The law requires information to be provided to buyers about radon during a home sale. During the first nine months of 2014, at least 2,389 homes had work done to reduce radon levels; the average for the previous two years was 1,279.

The Minnesota Radon Awareness Act requires sellers to inform buyers whether their home has been tested for radon and if so, what the levels are and whether the home has been mitigated for radon (see Radon in Real Estate Transactions). In addition, sellers must provide a warning statement and a two-page publication to the buyer.

Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils. It can enter into all kinds of homes through cracks or openings in walls or foundations. The only way for residents to know if their home has radon is to test.

Anoka County Community Development provides radon test kits for homeowners. For more information go to the Radon Information webpage or call Community Development at 763-324-4650.

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