ACD's 2024 Tree Sale a Success!

ACD wrapped up another successful tree sale! 26,800 trees were purchased as bare root seedlings in bundles of ten or twenty-five. The district offered a variety of species including black cherry, mixed oak, maple, lilac, pine trees and a variety of native prairie seed mixes were available. We had perfect weather on pick-up day and staff loved getting the chance to meet and engage with the 354 tree sale customers. If you purchased trees from us this year we want to send out a big thanks you! If you missed the tree sale this year you can start planning for 2025!

For more information contact Kathy Berkness, Office Administrator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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2023 Progress on ACD's 10-Year Stewardship Plan

ACD identified several keystone endeavors for each of the foundational natural resources: Surface Water, Ecological Resources, Groundwater, and Soils as well as Community and Operation. We also recognize the foundational knowledge provided by monitoring, inventory, analysis and planning. As we make progress on these endeavors, we'll have a positive impact on the quality of life in Anoka County. Listed below are achievements from 2023. Each year, it's important to take stock in how well we progressed in the prior year. 

Foundational Knowledge
Monitor - 123 monitoring sites including lakes, rivers, wetlands, groundwater, and precipitation involving quantity, quality and biology.
Inventory - Photo inventory of Rum & Mississippi rivers, Oak Glen Creek, and Martin, Linwood, and Coon Lakes. Aquatic plant inventory of Lake George and Highland Lake. Restorable wetlands and buffer law compliance inventories.
Analyze - Completed Centerville Lake Stormwater Retrofit Analysis (SRA). Advanced Rum and Mississippi SRAs. Completed Subwatershed Analysis (SWA) for Ford Brook and Rum River drainage areas.
Strategize - Annual work plans for ACD, local WMOs, Rum and Lower St. Croix watersheds. Participate in regional planning initiatives.

Surface Water
Stabilize Riverbanks - 3,041 ft. of Rum Riverbank.
Improve Quality of Priority Waters - Martin and Typo Lakes improving. Projects on Lake George, Golden Lake, Mississippi and Rum Rivers.
Stabilize Lakeshores - 180 linear ft. of lakeshore on George and Golden Lakes.
Enhance Hydrologic Function - Pond modification treating 86.8 acres for water quality and stormwater attenuation.
Remove Pollutants - 123 lbs Total Phosphorus and 117 tons Total Suspended Solids reduced.
Treat Urban and Rural Runoff - Enhancing treatment of 97 acres of urban runoff.

Ecological Resources
Protect Priority Ecological Corridors - Two RIM conservation easements totaling 52.4 acres including 3,750 ft. of Rum River frontage. Assumed management of 126 acre wetland bank.
Restore and Enhance Wetlands and Uplands - 50 acres-Prairie, 29 acres-oak savanna & woodland, 29 acres-wetland, 10,000 ft²-riparian habitat, and 2,000 ft²-lakeshore habitat.
Rescue Rare Species - 900 rare plants rescued and planted into 5 protected sites.
Control Invasive Species - 41 acres-buckthorn, 2.6 acres-non-native Phragmites, 5 acres-wild parsnip, 1 site-round-leaf bittersweet, 1 site-golden creeper, 10 sites-knotweed, 1 site-tansey, 0.5 acres-spotted knapweed.
Maintain Projects and Practices - 74 sites inspected.

Improve Rural and Urban Habitat - 12,015 ft². of riparian and shoreline buffers. 

Provide Leadership and Coordination - Serve on metro groundwater sustainability workgroup. Pursue funding for Groundwater Specialist. Pass MASWCD resolution for groundwater conservation funding from DNR user fees.
Reduce Use - Comment on DNR water appropriation permits to reduce waste.
Reduce Contamination - 6 failing septic system fixed, 15 wells sealed.

Inspire Behavior Change - 71 projects installed.
Engage Residents - 167 site consultations, 38 project designs, 5 volunteer events, 354 tree sale customers.
Increase Awareness - Completed Our Riverbank Connection video and accompanying online quiz, 26,507 views of Our Connection video series, presentations to 400+ participants on a variety of topics, workshops, monthly snapshot, quarterly newsletter, active blog, and social media.
Assist with Regulatory Compliance - 99.9% buffer law compliance, Wetland Conservation Act guidance.

Promote Agricultural Soil Health - Cost share funding promotion, 1 project-10 acres.

Deliver Commitments On Time and On Budget - Closed out 8 grants.
Recruit, Train, Retain Expertise - Added P.E. licensure, no resignations.

For more information on ACD's 2023 activities check out the full 2023 ACD Annual Report or contact Chris Lord, District Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Rain Guardian Pretreatment Chamber Visits Austin, TX

Rain Guardian pretreatment chambers were on display at the 2024 Operations and Maintenance of Stormwater Systems Conference in Austin, TX. The Rain Guardian booth provided conference attendees with an effective solution for bioretention system pretreatment. Conference attendees included stormwater managers, municipal and county government employees, engineers, contractors, and designers. This is the first time Rain Guardians have been on display at a conference in Texas, and many attendees expressed an interest in Rain Guardian products.

See for additional information or contact Mitch Haustein, Stormwater & Shoreline Specialist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Congrats to Jonn Olson, Friend of Martin Lake!

Friend of Martin Lake 2024 recipient Jonn Olson (center) with Martin Lakers Association President John Mattila (right) and Vice President Mike Smith (left).

Jonn Olson was the recipient of the annual "Friend of Martin Lake" award at the May 2024 annual meeting of the Martin Lakers Association. Jonn, along with the Linwood Township maintenance crew, was instrumental during spring 2023 flooding. They helped ensure water continued to flow when bogs were threatening to clog water structures. Jonn is a Linwood Township Supervisor and member of the Sunrise River Watershed Management Organization. The Friend of Martin Lake award originated in the early 2000's, when ACD presented it to the Martin Lakers Association. It has been a traveling annual award ever since.

For more information contact Jamie Schurbon, Watershed Project Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Monitor Monarch Butterflies and their Habitats with ACD!

ACD is looking for volunteers to participate in upcoming Monarch and Monarch habitat monitoring efforts. ACD will host a number of volunteer events this summer in natural areas across Anoka County. We will provide all the training and materials you will need. Your work will contribute to a national dataset helping conservationists better understand and protect the Monarch. 

As a volunteer you will be trained to:
- Identify blooming prairie plants which provide Monarch habitat resources
- Find and observe Monarch eggs and larvae
- Record activities of adult Monarchs

Join us for this fun opportunity to explore natural areas of Anoka County while learning about Monarch conservation! You can indicate your interest in volunteering this summer by completing a quick google form. For more information contact Logan Olson, Restoration Technician, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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ACD Welcomes Aviva Meyerhoff!

Aviva joined the District in April of 2024 as the Outreach Coordinator. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and Geography from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. Aviva supports communication and outreach efforts to promote District programs and activities while fostering partnerships, collaboration, and engagement across the District. Aviva can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 763-434-2030 x120. 

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Volunteer Opportunity

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Seven Options for Replacing your Ash Trees

Adapted from: Matthew Russell is a Minnesota Extension specialist in forest resources.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) has left a wake of dead ash trees throughout 4.3 million acres across the state. Minnesota forests are home to three native ash species. Unfortunately, all of these ash trees are susceptible to EAB. Here are seven native tree species that you can research for replacing your ash. Each species has its own unique characteristics and are adapted to different environmental conditions.

American Elm (disease-resistant elm varieties) Like ash, elms can tolerate wet conditions. Elms are slightly different in that they require full sun for the best growth.

Quaking Aspen Aspen sprouts vigorously, a form of reproduction without using seeds. It is often one of the first species to come back to an area after a timber harvest or fire.

Northern White Cedar In its natural habitat, it can form dense stands and survives well in moist soils. Northern white cedar trees will attract wildlife. Cedar trees are a favorite of white-tailed deer.

Swamp Oak This species can tolerate heavy and wet soil, which makes it a good replacement for black ash. While native only to southeastern Minnesota, swamp white oak is known as a climate change "winner" and has been planted with success in research trials in northern Minnesota.

Hackberry It can survive heat and drought or wind and ice, making it suitable for Minnesota's climate. In its native habitat it can be found in floodplains and along rivers in the central and southern portions of the state.

Silver and Red Maple are common in southern Minnesota and grow into the north-central part of the state, typically along rivers. These maples are widely planted as a shade or ornamental trees. Silver maples leaves are are green on top and "silvery" on bottom and red maple leaves turn a brilliant red in the fall, giving the trees their names.

River Birch can thrive in floodplains and near stream banks. River birch can be a single or multi-stemmed tree, making it a great tree to consider for the landscape around your home. Its copper-colored bark makes it stand out from other common trees.

Diversifying the types of species you plant in your yard or woodland gives you reassurance that your landscape can survive future insect and disease outbreaks. For more options, Extension's replacement trees for ash page can help you figure out which trees will grow well in your plant community. Consult an arborist or forester for more advice to make sure you plant the right trees in the right spot.
For more information contact Becky Wozney, Wetland Specialist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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ACD Receives Fish & Wildlife Funds to Conserve Pollinators

ACD was recently awarded National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Funds to increase habitat for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. ACD is collaborating with Sherburne County Parks and Great River Greening to restore and enhance habitat and create pollinator corridors within the Anoka Sand Plain region. This funding will help support and expand state programs such as the Anoka Sand Plain Partnership and the BWSR Habitat Enhancement Landscape Program. 

Anoka Parks had a record-breaking start date to prescribed burns. After the burn above, ACD staff overseeded the prairie with 68 different native species.

Sherburne County Parks will coordinate restoration and enhancement activities at Bdé Heḣáka, Omashkooz Zaaga'igaans Regional Park, a new park in coordination with Tribal Historic Preservation Officers from the Upper and Lower Sioux Community and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe to restore land through traditional cultural methods. Great River Greening will coordinate projects to enhance large habitat corridors in Sterns, Sherburne, Chisago, Wright, Anoka, Benton and Morrison counties. ACD will coordinate projects within Anoka County.

Unused lots, agriculture fields that are out of production and turf will be restored to create new habitat by planting native milkweed and wildflowers. Degraded lands that have little to no milkweed and forbs will be enhanced by controlling invasive species and conducting prescribed burns. ACD will be hosting events to plant, collect seed, and participate in a national Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program. Details on volunteer opportunities are coming soon! For more information contact Carrie Taylor, Restoration Ecologist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Support Spring Ephemerals by Pulling Garlic Mustard

Spring is upon us! Some of the first plants to emerge are woodland wildflowers known as spring ephemerals. These short lived gems take advantage of the spring sunlight by completing their life cycles before the forest canopy leafs out for the season. In addition to their beauty, spring ephemerals provide critical resources for pollinators as they emerge in the early spring. Common ephemerals include Hepatica, Trout Lily, Bloodroot, and Trilliums. 

Among the first plants to green up in spring, garlic mustard outcompetes native spring ephemeral wildflowers, diminishing early season resources for pollinators and degrading forest health. Garlic mustard has a two year (or biennial) life cycle, producing a short basal rosette without flowers in the first year and a tall "bolting" stalk in the second year. It's important to pull these weeds before they produce seed in the second year. Treat garlic mustard by pulling the whole plant and the roots by hand. If you pull garlic mustard before it flowers, leave the material on the ground to decompose. If you pull it after flowering or seed production, bag it and dispose of it properly so that no seeds are spread.

Learn tricks to help identify and treat garlic mustard from the MN Dept of Ag and Friends of the Mississippi River. Help us protect the beautiful and diverse forests of Anoka County by pulling garlic mustard! For more information contact Logan Olson, Restoration Technician, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Funding Available for Cedar Tree Revetments!

What is a Cedar Tree Revetment?
Cedar tree revetments use Eastern red cedar trees to serve as soft, natural armor, providing protection along eroding riverbanks. This protection decreases erosion and allows silt and sand to be deposited overtime. The deposited material forms a bed in which the seeds of riverbank plants such as sedges can grow. By the time the trees have decayed, the bank should be stabilized by the root systems of new plant growth and accumulated sediment. Revetments are ideal for riverbanks experiencing mild to moderate erosion. For riverbanks more than 5 ft. tall or areas with high water velocity, a revetment practice may be inadequate to properly address the issue.

Why Install a Cedar Tree Revetment?

Cedar tree revetments are a low cost, environmentally friendly option to address eroding streambanks. Revetments will slow or stop erosion during the project's lifespan and reduce the likelihood of a much larger and more expensive corrective project in the future. Riverbank erosion contributes sediment and other pollutants into waterways, reduces riparian habitat, and results in property loss. Stabilizing your eroding riverbank will provide water quality benefits to the Rum River as well as protect your property. 

This program is being funded through a Conservation Partners Legacy grant and there is currently funding available to eligible properties. If you live along the Rum River in Anoka County and are interested in learning more about installing a cedar revetment on your property, contact Kris Larson, Water Resource Specialist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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Lawns to Legumes Grants Available

Dreaming of warmer weather and gardening season? Applications are now open for Fall 2024 individual Lawns to Legumes grants! Minnesota residents are eligible to apply for $400 reimbursement grants for creating native pollinator habitat on their properties. Projects can take the form of small pocket plantings, larger pollinator meadows, or pollinator friendly lawns. Grant recipients are selected by a lottery system. The application closes on May 15th. Check out the MN Lawns to Legumes page for a plethora of resources on pollinator garden design, selecting native plant species, and maintaining pollinator habitat.

Note: Individual Lawns to Legumes grants are distributed at the state level, not by ACD. You can find contact information for assistance with these programs at the links above. For more information contact Logan Olson, Restoration Technician, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Anoka Riverfront Easement Rum Riverbank Stabilization

Erosion along 400-feet of Rum riverbank at a City of Anoka riverfront easement is causing sediment loading and tree loss, and has washed out a highly used walking trail. The design features three primary protection measures detailed below. 

1. The toe of the bank, mostly below the water line, will be armored with a rock. The rock will be installed up to the two-year flood elevation (50% of years it will be completely covered). This lowers the top of the rock by two feet compared to the standard approach. This allows habitat friendly approaches above.

2. Above the rock, the bank will be seeded with a native plants, and staked with willow and dogwood. Native vegetation provides habitat benefit and root structure to anchor the soil in place. We may grade the bank back to a flatter, more stable slope. Alternatively, we may use a series of wrapped soil lifts called a "vegetated reinforced soil system" to maintain a steeper slope that is still stable and vegetated. The final decision will be based on bids received.

3. There is a heavily used informal access point at the upstream end of this site. This area gets beat down by heavy foot traffic. We will use one roll of articulated concrete block to offer stable footing and reduce the erosion caused by that foot traffic.

For more information contact Jared Wagner, Water Resource Specialist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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Comprehensive Plan Progress Through 2023

ACD staff recently reflected on 2023 to take stock in how well we've been doing to implement our 10-year Natural Resources Stewardship Plan. We looked at 24 Keystone Endeavors across four priority natural resources, our human resource (community), and internal operations. We also considered foundational knowledge gained through monitoring, inventory, analysis and planning. Grades reflect the following:

A - Ahead of plan
B - On track
C - Progressing slower than anticipated
D - No progress

F - Neglected 

10-year Goals

A prerequisite to gauge success is to define our 10-year expectations and aspirations for each keystone endeavor based on our current and anticipated staff and financial capacity. Some goals are easily quantified while others are more subjective. 

For more information contact Chris Lord, District Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Agricultural Lunch & Learn

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