Six curb-cut rain gardens were installed approximately one-year ago and have been capturing runoff and its associated pollutants ever since. With each rainfall, runoff flowing in the street gutter is redirected into the rain gardens via a cut in the curb. Following a rain event, the water that enters the rain gardens is able to soak into the ground, which better mimics the natural hydrology before impervious surfaces (e.g. roofs, driveways, roads, etc.) and storm sewers directed runoff directly to Rice Creek. The rain gardens are able to store water and are filled with native species that were carefully selected for the site-specific conditions (e.g. light, soil type, and moisture).
Cumulatively, the six rain gardens are estimated to infiltrate 455,000 gallons of water, as well as remove 605 pounds of sediment and two pounds of phosphorus loading to Rice Creek annually. The native plants help to maximize infiltration and provide the co-benefit of pollinator habitat. One additional rain garden is located adjacent to a trail entrance into Locke County Park, providing an excellent public education opportunity.
These rain gardens were installed in partnership with the landowners, the City of Fridley, and the Rice Creek Watershed District. ACD provided design services and construction oversight.
The rain garden shown in the pictures below was planted last summer and as you can see, it didn't look like much at the time. Now, it looks beautiful and is full of flowers which pollinators love! This rain garden captures curbside runoff from 6.5 acres of neighborhood which previously went untreated to the Rum River. The native plant's roots create channels through the soil and reduce compaction, ensuring a maximum amount of water can infiltrate into the ground. The homeowners who worked with ACD to make this rain garden a reality, kept weeds at bay, and provided irrigation for the new plants during drought conditions!
Project funding was from the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy amendment, and the Lower Rum River Watershed Management Organization. To see other rain gardens installed throughout Anoka County, please see the virtual project tour on ACD's website.
For more information on rain gardens in Anoka County contact Mitch Haustein at
A design has been finalized to stabilize 650-feet of eroding Rum Riverbank at Dellwood River Park in St. Francis. Erosion of the riverbank is causing numerous trees to fall into the river and is threatening a popular walking trail. The project design, currently in the permitting phase, features three primary protection measures;
For more information contact Jared Wagner at 763.434.2030 ext.200 or
The Anoka Conservation District (ACD) currently has a number of grant opportunities available for addressing shoreline erosion along streams and lakes in Anoka County. If you have noticed your lakeshore migrating backwards over time, or perhaps you once had a low walkable area along your river frontage that is now gone, ACD may be able to help design and even fund a project to protect your property.
The first step is a site visit to your property by ACD staff. Now is a great time to reach out to the district and plan a site visit for the spring. ACD staff will assess erosion problems, provide professional advice, and determine if your shoreline might qualify for financial assistance through one of our various grant programs. Shoreline restorations don't just benefit your property but also help improve water quality in your lake or river and enhances habitat for wildlife.
For more information contact Jared Wagner, 763.434.2030 x200,
- Carp are an invasive species that degrade water quality. ACD coordinated the removal of 14,518 carp from Martin and Typo Lakes to improve habitat and water quality. Project partners included the Sunrise River WMO, the Martin Lakers Association, and Linwood Township.
- Twelve rain gardens were installed to improve water quality by reducing volume and pollutants in stormwater runoff before it reaches priority waterbodies. Project partners included landowners, the Cities of Anoka, Fridley, and Ramsey, the Lower Rum River WMO, and the Rice Creek Watershed District.
- 14 lakeshore stabilization projects were installed throughout Anoka County. The projects reduce shoreline erosion and provide wildlife habitat. Partners included landowners, the Sunrise River WMO, the Rice Creek Watershed District, and the Upper Rum River WMO.
- Eleven streambank stabilization projects were completed on the Rum and Mississippi Rivers. These sites have had significant and accelerating erosion issues due to sustained high water and increased recreation on the rivers.
- Over 5,000 linear feet of Cedar Tree Revetments were installed along the Rum River. These projects were in partnership with the Anoka County Parks Department and Conservation Corps, MN.
- ACD partnered with landowners to provide funding assistance for the replacement of 4 failing septic systems and the sealing of 20 wells which present a threat to surface and groundwater resources.
Unused wells can serve as direct conduits for surface contaminants to reach our aquifers. The Anoka Conservation District was awarded a grant in 2020 through the Clean Water Fund to help eligible landowners seal unused wells located within Anoka County, targeting vulnerable groundwater areas such as Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMAs). This program has been extended to run through 2023 in order to continue to help local residents with the cost of sealing an unused well on their property!
A well is defined as "not in use," when the well is not functional, cannot readily pump water, or has not been operated on a daily, regular or seasonal basis. A "not in use" well has not been sealed by a licensed well contractor. A well that is "not in use" (i.e., "abandoned") must be repaired and put back into use, permanently sealed by a licensed well contractor, or the owner must obtain a maintenance permit for the well. In many cases, placing an old well back into use is not practical.
If your house was built before public water was available, the property may have one or more wells. Wells can be located either inside or outside a residence.
Indoors look for:
Outdoors look for:
Visit the ACD website today to get more information or to download an application to apply. If you are unsure if you have a well on your property or questioning if you would qualify for funding simply contact our office.
ACD Contact: Kris Larson,
When projects are installed, ACD staff calculate and document the benefits produced by them. Measurable benefits for water resource improvement projects include metrics such as nutrient and sediment reductions to local waterbodies. For ecological projects, the total area restored or enhanced is quantified. Until recently, these numbers lived in project-specific documentation, but they can now be viewed altogether in ACD's new interactive projects dashboards.
With dashboards, you can explore the cumulative benefits produced through projects such as habitat restorations, streambank stabilizations, pollinator plantings, and stormwater best management practices. Many projects have multiple benefits; for example, rain gardens trap and filter polluted stormwater while also providing habitat for pollinators. Altogether, these tools provide a user-friendly way to track achievements within and across years.
You can apply filters based on location, date range, and project type. For example, selecting the "Last Year" option in the date range dropdown will give you a summary of all conservation benefits achieved in 2022. Pan throughout the map and click on the points to learn more about individual projects. The gauges will adjust to summarize the benefits produced by the projects you're viewing.
ACD Contact: Breanna Keith,
This past year, ACD was again busy installing projects that benefit water quality in Anoka County! In total, 33 individual water quality projects were installed in 2022, including:
Collectively, these projects will reduce annual pollutant loading to the receiving waterbodies by 94.9 tons of total suspended solids, and 88.6 pounds of total phosphorus. To see all of our projects, watch for our new Water and Ecological Project Dashboards, coming soon to our website!
ACD Contact: Jared Wagner,
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:
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.
The Mississippi River fulfills the water resource needs of millions of people and provides hydrological and habitat benefits of national significance. It is a powerful waterbody that has shaped the U.S. landscape for millions of years. Erosion is a naturally occurring process in flowing water systems such as the Mississippi River, but it can become exacerbated with increases in extreme weather events and in developed landscapes where stormwater drainage networks contribute to increased surface water volumes. Bank erosion can threaten adjacent urban and agricultural infrastructure and contributes to sediment and nutrient loading that impacts local water quality. Thus, riverbank stabilization practices that minimize erosion serve as mechanisms to combat these environmental challenges.
Using 360° photos captured from a watercraft on the Mississippi River, ACD identified the location and severity of eroded banks spanning from Coon Rapids to Fridley. Altogether, nearly 50 separate stretches of moderately to severely eroded banks were identified, collectively contributing to an estimated 8,517 tons of sediment inputs to the river each year. These stretches were present along both private and public properties ranging from dense residential areas to expansive county parks. A recommended stabilization approach and corresponding project cost estimate was applied to each eroded bank, thus providing cost: benefit scenarios for each potential stabilization project and facilitating the strategic pursuit of those which maximize environmental benefits.
These findings are detailed in a comprehensive report located here, which also includes further details on ACD's erosion inventory methodology, profile pages for each potential stabilization project, and information on a variety of riverbank stewardship and stabilization approaches. To view examples of completed stabilization projects identified through previous erosion inventories, view our interactive projects map here. For more information please contact Breanna Keith,
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently released their update of the State's impaired waters list, which occurs every two years. Among the success stories was the West Branch of the Sunrise River in Anoka County and Chisago County. This stretch of river has officially been removed from the impaired waters list, thanks in large part to efforts of the Anoka Conservation District!
The portion of the river from Martin Lake to Pool 1 was listed as impaired for high pH. High pH was due to high nutrients and algae in Martin Lake just upstream. ACD's work Martin and Typo Lakes has led to pH returning to acceptable levels.
Work at the upstream lakes has been ongoing for more than 10 years. It has included rain gardens, stormwater ponds, and carp management. Both Martin and Typo Lakes have improving water quality trends, and Martin Lake has on average met state water quality standards for nutrients the last five years. With additional upcoming work, ACD hopes that Martin Lake is delisted in 2023. Partners in that work have included the Sunrise River Watershed Management Organization, Linwood Township, the Martin Lakers Association, and others.
Other Anoka County waterbodies being delisted include Howard Lake and the Mississippi River from the northwest city limits of Anoka to the Rum River. Howard Lake was impaired for excessive nutrients, and the Rice Creek Watershed District has led implementation of projects to improve it. The section of the Mississippi River was impaired for fecal coliform bacteria. There, improvements may be due to a variety of work by many who care about the Mississippi, and the City of Anoka's efforts to treat stormwater locally. For more information contact Jamie Schurbon,
The Metro Conservation Districts (MCD) received a Clean Water Fund Accelerated Implementation Grant to conduct analyses that identify cost-effective water quality improvement projects for priority waterbodies.The Subwatershed Analysis (SWA) process includes protocols for both rural and urban subwatersheds.Anoka Conservation District (ACD) employee Mitch Haustein provided training on the urban protocol and modeling process to over 30 staff from counties, soil and water conservation districts, and watershed districts throughout the 11-County Metro.
Since the SWA program began in 2010, over 60 analyses have been completed throughout the 11-County Metro that have identified more than 4,000 projects and resulted in the installation of hundreds of cost-effective water quality improvement projects.
The $200,000 grant awarded to MCD, which requires a $50,000 match, will result in the completion of an additional 15 SWAs.Previously completed SWAs in Anoka County are available on ACD's website (www.AnokaSWCD.org).