ACD Staffer Appointed By Governor to Water Advisory Committee

The Anoka Conservation District's Watershed Projects Manager, Jamie Schurbon, has been reappointed by Governor Tim Walz to the Metropolitan Water Supply Advisory Committee (MAWSAC). He was first appointed in 2012 by Governor Dayton. The committee advises the Metropolitan Council on regional water supply management. Topics addressed include groundwater contamination, protecting the Mississippi River as a drinking water source, water infrastructure, and water supply.

The committee represents diverse interests, with Schurbon as the only member from a local natural resources agency. Other members include public water supply managers, county commissioners, and state agency experts on health, pollution, and agriculture. Anoka County Board Chair Scott Schulte noted the need for balanced perspectives in his recommendation of Schurbon, noting Jamie "has an understanding of the need for both natural resources and community growth to support quality of life in Anoka County."

"I appreciate being part of regional efforts," noted Schurbon. "It's impossible to manage most water issues within one city or county. Groundwater, water supply pipes, and waterways all connect across communities."
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Lake George Shoreline Stabilization Projects Selected

Seven properties totaling 540 feet of shoreline will be stabilized at Lake George in the coming months. The projects are part of efforts to reverse a trend of declining water quality in the lake and enhance near shore habitat. All of the project sites are on private properties with active shoreline erosion. The work will reduce sediment entering Lake George by 8 tons/yr and phosphorus by 12 lbs/yr.

The seven sites were chosen from all around the lake, and the places where ACD staff determined the greatest pollutant reductions could be achieved with the greatest certainty. We used existing shoreline inventories to identify 35 properties with actively eroding shoreline. Of those properties, 25 expressed interested. ACD staff visited each property and heard first-hand from those landowners about their shorelines. Finally, each shoreline was scored relative to erosive forces, current erosion, benefits of upland buffers to filter runoff, pollutant reduction calculations, and likelihood of success.

$70,000 in grant funds is available for construction. That dollar amount limits work to approximately the top seven projects, however more will be done if construction bids are low. Funding is from a Watershed Based Implementation grant from the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources. The programs for this grant were selected by a team of local partners including city, watershed organization, and soil and water conservation district representatives. Collaborators on the Lake George shoreline program include the Upper Rum River Watershed Management Organization and Lake George Conservation Club.

Shoreline stabilization measures will vary. All include rock or natural fiber protection at the water's edge, as well as a native plant shoreline buffer. Some will include regrading to a stable slope.

Owners of properties selected for shoreline stabilization are being notified now. Surveying, design, and construction bidding will occur in 2021.Projects will be installed in spring 2022.

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New Survey Gear for Conservation Projects

The Anoka Conservation District is excited to have new survey gear. A survey-grade GPS unit has been added to our existing robotic total station survey unit. This gear increases the speed and accuracy (sub-centimeter) of our designs and our as-built checks of projects during or after construction. It will be used for riverbank stabilizations, rain gardens, and many other kinds of projects.

The survey gear was purchased by the Metro Conservation Districts, a coalition of soil and water conservation districts in the metro. This gear is shared with the Isanti and Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation Districts. ACD staff have taken a lead role in setting up and learning the new gear, and will be training the other SWCDs.

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Thanks to Outgoing ACD Supervisor Steve Laitinen

ACD thanks Steve Laitinen for his service on our board of supervisors since 2016. Steve's term ends at the end of 2020. His passion for natural resources management has been an asset and contributed to numerous projects.

Steve has represented District I. This area includes Anoka, Coon Rapids, Nowthen, Oak Grove, Ramsey and St. Francis. It also includes several natural resources, such as the Rum River, that are of particular importance to Steve and the residents he represents.

Steve's passion for the Rum River is particularly apparent in his work at the ACD. Within Anoka County, he has sought collaborative water quality efforts as our liaison to the Upper and Lower Rum River Watershed Management Organizations. Beyond Anoka County, he has been ACD's representative on the Policy Committee for the Rum River One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P). That Policy Committee consists of elected officials from 18 counties, SWCDs and watershed organizations from Lake Mille Lacs to Anoka.

During Steve's leadership, ACD has prolifically completed projects for the Rum River. Accomplishments include 31 riverbank stabilizations and six projects that treat stormwater that previously drained untreated to the Rum River. ACD will continue or increase this pace with recently secured grants for over $1.5M in riverbank stabilizations, stormwater treatment, public outreach, and other projects.

"I'd describe Steve as engaged and helpful," says Jamie Schurbon, ACD's Watershed Projects Manager. "As an example, Steve often has arrived to board meetings early, then used the time to come to my office to chat about projects. He wasn't 'checking up' on me, but rather was 'checking in' so that he could make informed decisions in his role."

"We'll miss Steve's broad knowledge base and analytical skills," states ACD District Manager Chris Lord.

We wish Steve all the best in his next community service endeavors! 

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Water Quality Improvements Constructed for Coon and Martin Lakes

One rain garden and two stormwater pond renovations were completed in November to treat stormwater before it reaches Martin and Coon Lakes. The projects will collectively treat 39 acres of residential development that previously were draining to the lakes with little or no treatment. They will keep 2,100 pounds of sediment and 5 pounds of phosphorus from reaching the lakes each year.

These waterbodies were priorities because both lakes are surrounded by homes and heavily used for recreation. Martin Lake is nearing the criteria for being removed from the State's list of impaired waters. Coon Lake has good water quality but is under pressure.

The rain garden was constructed in cooperation with a residential landowner along Hupp Street. Their property is a key location where drainage from 8 acres converged and entered a catch basin that piped stormwater to Coon Lake. Curb cuts on each side of the catch basin now intercept that water, allowing it to soak into the ground within the rain garden. Pollutant removal is estimated to increase by 52% compared to the pre-project condition. Mulching and planting of the gardens will be delayed until spring 2021 due to cold temperatures early in fall 2020. The property owners will maintain the garden.

The stormwater pond projects are redesigns and renovations of older ponds. Both ponds are on Martin Lakeshore within township-owned property. Both basins had filled with sediment over time and were providing little water quality treatment. Now, the basins are even larger than originally constructed to maximize pollutant removal. Pollutant removal is estimated to increase by 84% and 104%, respectively, at the two ponds. Linwood Township will own and maintain the basins.

These projects are part of a State Clean Water, Land and Legacy grant to the Sunrise River Watershed Management Organization. The Anoka Conservation District is managing the projects. Additional funds remain and will be used for similar projects in 2021.

Collaborators on these projects included the ACD, SRWMO, Martin Lakers Association, Linwood Township, and the City of East Bethel.

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