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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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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Pursuing Levy Authority in 2024

The elected Board of ACD is moving forward with legislation to have the ability to levy property taxes for residents of Anoka County. With the levy limits included in the bill (HF3701) and ACD's other revenue streams, the anticipated levy increase for the average single family home in 2025 through 2029 is around $0.67 per year. Why bother pursuing legislation for such a small levy? That's a long story, but here's the gist of it.

  • ACD has been around since 1946 serving the public by providing financial and technical assistance to private landowners who want to be good stewards of our lakes, stream, wetlands, drinking water, wildlife, etc.
  • ACD submits a budget to Anoka County to request funding to support our mission. The County has the option to fund all, some or none of the request.
  • ACD's requests to the County compete for limited funding against transportation, public safety, social services, economic development, and parks and recreation.
  • For 20 years, when population growth and inflation alone grew Anoka County's budget by 83%, ACD's allocation grew by 8.4%.

"So what you're saying is that if ACD gets its way, a family of four in Anoka County will have to give up one fancy cup of coffee every four years for cleaner lakes and rivers, better fishing, improved habitat for wildlife, and safer drinking water?" Well, when you put it that way…

For more information about ACD's pursuit for levy authority 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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AI Helps Tell Anoka County's Groundwater Story

I've been dabbling with how to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to improve productivity at ACD. Using ChatGPT, I've found a tool that can help generate an outline to serve as a jumping off point when starting a report or project plan. Recently, groundwater contamination problems have been popping up in the news. Within two Andover neighborhoods, residents with contaminated private wells are reduced to only using bottled water until they can hook up to city water. The plume of contamination below their homes, now plaguing them, will certainly continue its journey, ominously passing under neighborhoods in its path. Those hooked up to city water supplies will be fine. Those on wells, may be in for an unsettling surprise.

Where does AI come in? I asked ChatGPT to write a short somber poem about groundwater pollution. Here you go…

Beneath the soil, where secrets flow,
Groundwater whispers, tainted below.
Pollution seeps, a silent intrusion,
Nature's tears in liquid confusion.
Once pure, now stained with human's trace,
A solemn grave for life's embrace.
Quietly it suffers, unseen and still,
Groundwater mourns, a poisoned rill.

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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New Video Highlights the Ups and Downs of Growing Communities

"When Development Comes to Town" is an animated video directed toward local decision makers that tackles some of the challenges and opportunities presented by growth in our small communities. Developed by the Lower St. Croix Watershed Partnership and East Metro Water Resources Education Program, this fast-paced video runs through a gauntlet of topics in about ten minutes, introducing the viewer to concepts ranging from shoreland ordinances to Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS). This video masterfully weaves together complex insights and downhome practicality with just the right amount of visual interest and is a 'must watch' for new, or even experienced, elected officials, staff and planning commission members for local governments. Click the link and enjoy! When Development Comes to Town

Contact Chris Lord, District Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions. 

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