Rum River Watershed Partners Decide on Projects to Fund

The Rum River is a focus for new grant funds aimed at protecting water quality and improving habitat.

Local entities with a role in managing the Rum River watershed in Anoka County recently decided on a new slate of grant-funded projects. The group was charged with allocating $371,157 in state Watershed Based Implementation Funding grants. The dollars can be used for water quality projects in approved local plans. From an initial menu of 19 projects the group selected five:

  • $176,000 Projects identified in subwatershed studies. This includes urban stormwater and agricultural practices that have been identified, ranked by cost effectiveness, and which drain to one of these priority waterbodies: Rum River, Mississippi River, or Ford Brook.
  • $30,000 Trott Brook riparian corridor restoration study. This stream is impaired for low oxygen and poor aquatic life. The study is aimed at finding out why, and what might be done to address it. Trott Brook is primarily in the City of Ramsey.
  • $65,000  Septic system fix ups for low income homeowners. This will supplement an existing $25-40K per year that the state provides to the Anoka Conservation District. Demand exceeds funding. Properties near priority waterbodies are the focus.
  • $65,175 Critical shoreland area planting. Plantings will improve habitat, prevent erosion, and filter runoff near waterbodies.
  • $35,000 Wetland restorations.

The group selected the Anoka Conservation District to manage the projects. Required 10% grant matching dollars will come from landowners where projects are completed, and the Upper and Lower Rum River Watershed Management Organizations. Work will begin in late 2022.

The group that worked collaboratively to select these projects included the Upper and Lower Rum River Watershed Management Organizations, Anoka Conservation District, Anoka County, and a city representative from Andover.

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Elected Officials Tour Water Management Projects

This month the Sunrise River Watershed Management Organization (SRWMO) hosted a public official's tour of water quality projects. The tour was to show cities who financially contribute to the SRWMO how their dollars are used. It was also an opportunity for multi-city discussion. Thirteen people were present including city council members, town board supervisors, a county commissioner, and SRWMO board members.

Tour visits included a stormwater pond enhancement, curb cut rain garden, lakeshore restoration, and infiltration basin. At three of the sites the owner was present to talk about the problems they had been experiencing and how the project has worked for them. Key information shared included costs, funding sources, and measurements of success.

The Anoka Conservation District (ACD) coordinated the tour. ACD is contracted to coordinate administration and projects for the SRWMO, which otherwise has no staff. The SRWMO and ACD have a 20+ year collaborative relationship that has resulted in dozens of water quality projects. The SRWMO is one of six watershed organizations that cover Anoka County.

Photos:

Top – Linwood Elementary School's principal and teachers describe a rain garden at their school entrance.

Middle – ACD staffer Jamie Schurbon describes how a stormwater pond at Martin Lake was enlarged to better capture pollutants form 24 acres of neighborhood.

Bottom – County Commissioner Jeff Reinert asks Coon Lakeshore owner Rhonda Scheiderich about a lakeshore stabilization and plant buffer (outside of image).

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