Skip to main content

August 12, 2015 CAC minutes

August 12, 2015

The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Citizens Advisory Committee was called to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District offices.

Bill Bushnell, Colin Cox, Peter Rechelbacher, Jerry Ciardelli, Steve Mohn, Richard Manser, Cristina Palmisano, David Oltmans, Marc Rosenberg, and Neil Weber

Dick Miller

MCWD staff - Darren Lochner, Brett Eidem, Heidi Quinn, Becky Christopher and Matt Cook
Guest – Rich Nyquist

The agenda was approved.

4.1 July 8, 2015 minutes
Rechelbacher moved to approve minutes of the meeting as amended and seconded by Ciardelli.  Motion carried, none opposed.

Upcoming Events:

September 15 – Clean Water Summit – MN Landscape Arboretum
October 1 – MCWD Watershed Heroes Event - Excelsior
October 7 – NEMO Chloride Training - Minnetonka

-  CAC members attending the NEMO workshop on the water provided an overview of the content.  It was good to network with other elected officials and committee members from the west metro.
-  An AIS Research and Management Showcase will be held at the University of Minnesota – St. Paul Campus on September 16th with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. 

Manager Miller thanked the CAC members for their involvement with the MCWD budget discussions.   

8.1 MCWD Comprehensive Plan Update – Becky Christopher
An update was provided on the MCWD comprehensive planning process.  The plan is an update to the 2007 plan.   It will be focused on improving the MCWD implementation approach, improve how the District and communities work together and position the District as a partner rather than regulator.   The plan will also have a two-track approach:  1. Focus - High need areas and concentrated effort and;  2. Flexibility - Program services and opportunistic projects.   The CAC will be updated and involved in the plan development over the next two years.   A presentation will be included along with the minutes.

8.2 Cost Share Interactive Map – Heidi Quinn
Heidi Quinn recently completed her one year of Green Core service with MCWD.   A core function of her position was working with and supporting the Cost Share program.   A highlight of her contributions was the development of an interactive map that shows cost share projects throughout the watershed district.   Each project marker allows the user to pull of information such as:  photos, water quality data, project description, etc.   The map will be continued to be supported by the cost share and other MCWD programs.

8.3 Cost Share Projects – Brett Eidem
Staff received 8 Cost Share Grant applications in the month of July. Staff has reviewed the applications and has been working with the applicants to obtain all needed materials to make a funding recommendation. There are other projects that will be reviewed in August that met the June 30 homeowner deadline for stormwater BMP projects and were planned to be presented at a future CAC meeting for consideration of cost share funding. Staff intends to present 10 projects at the August CAC Meeting, for review and approval of funding by the full CAC. This month staff is asking for the consideration of 1 Community Engagement project, 1 Green Infrastructure project and 8 homeowner projects. Staff will meet with a subcommittee of the CAC the Monday before the August CAC meeting to review all of the applications, and will make a recommendation for the full CAC at the August meeting.
Below are the descriptions of the projects. Because of the large number of projects, staff has not attached the associated design plans, only the Cost Share Evaluations. The plans will be presented as we review each project at the sub-committee. The major projects will also be presented at the full CAC meeting.

Project #1- Shir Tikvah Synagogue, 1360 W Minnehaha Parkway, Minneapolis
-Recommended 50% funding, not to exceed $10,731.50

Shir Tikvah seeks funding to install several rain gardens and a rainwater collection cistern as part of a comprehensive plan to transform their grounds into a model of sustainable land use. The total project which they are calling "Gan Tikvah," or "Garden of Hope" will further our sustainability efforts while having a direct environmental impact and engaging congregants in volunteering. The project offers the opportunity to educate our members and the broader community about our role in promoting healthy waterways and ecosystems. Site design will be completed by Field Outdoor Spaces. The project proposes a rain cistern will reduce runoff and provide a sustainable source of water for our vegetable garden and fruit trees. It also includes four raingardens that will capture runoff and provide habitat for wildlife, including pollinators. The Gan Tikvah project will have a positive impact on the health of Minnehaha Creek, which flows just yards from the grounds. The project captures a large amount of the site's impervious runoff, with existing overflow drains that currently connect to the city storm sewer system. With larger perennial gardens, they will also be dramatically reducing the amount of sod and further promoting infiltration of runoff and expanding pollinator habitat. They will also be including vegetable gardens, grape vines through lattices, and other sustainable practices throughout the building like energy efficiency techniques. 

The total cost of the project is $38,363. They are also receiving a $10,000 Gendler Grapevine Grant to help with implementation. They are requesting funding for design, 2 rainbarrels, materials and labor as they pertain to the stormwater management of the site, which comes to $21,463. Staff recommends funding the project at 75%, not to exceed $16,097. 

Project #2 City of Mound Street Reconstruction Project, Mound
Recommended Funding

The City of Mound is proposing to install 5 sump catch basins in strategic locations throughout their fall 2015 street reconstruction project. The project is located in fully developed residential neighborhoods around Dutch Lake, Phelps Bay, and Cooks Bay on Lake Minnetonka. The city has identified areas where they can exceed the District's stormwater management rules, and is proposing these water quality improvement sumps to capture pollutants from the streets and separate them from the water that will pass on into the storm sewer system. The District's LID program used to fund these types of projects for cities like Mound, Wayzata, Excelsior, etc. The city has proposed educational signage at each of these storm drains to promote water quality. Before final approval, staff will make sure all sumps are in excess of the Districts stormwater management rule requirements, and would like to have control over the design of the signage that will be installed. The sumps will eliminate a large portion of the pollutants that are draining in, anywhere from 50-80% reductions covering over 35 acres of drainage, with yearly total suspended solids drainage of over 2,500 lbs of total suspended solids removed from the system annually. This project is a very cost effective solution in areas where above ground BMPs are not a very feasible with tight site constraints. This project is an opportunity for the District to stay responsive to the city of Mound without having any capital projects planning to be installed in the near future. Staff sees opportunities for future partnerships with the city, and this project will help strengthen District and city collaborations.

The total costs related to the design, materials and construction are $64,200. Staff recommends funding 50% of the project, not to exceed $32,100.

Project #3 Mary Alden,  4517 Brookside Terrace, Edina  
Recommended Funding, NTE $3,000

Mary has a large sloped yard down to Minnehaha Creek in Edina very close to 50th and Hwy 100. There is minimal erosion to the existing streambank, but it is currently mowed down to about 10? from the streambank, and then overgrown with invasive reed canary and shrub thicket. This project will be a great addition to existing sustainable practices on the property. The owners were the first home in this area of Edina to have bee hives and will be installing a 40 ft vegetated buffer along 92 ft of shoreline with pollinators integrated throughout. The project should not only filter, but infiltrate almost all of the site (.75 acre) runoff draining towards the creek. There is some great outreach potential with an elementary school teacher living at the home to include site specific techniques to be integrated into already ecological oriented curriculum. Homeowner has been in conversation with neighbors and there may be an opportunity to expand buffer to both properties. Homeowner is willing to host open house, and promote project on Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers group and on neighborhood NextDoor web blog.

The total project cost is $10,340.85, which includes design, materials, install and two years maintenance. This project is replacing existing vegetation on a streambank that has negligible erosion. It has potential for expanding into neighbor's property, but not completely convinced that a 40 ft streambank buffer is necessary. Staff recommends 50% funding of the project, not to exceed the cap amount of $3,000.

Project #4 Denise and Gary Perrin, 6216 Red Oak Rd, Mound
Further Develop

Norby and Associates was hired to prepare a plan to help improve the drainage along the east side of Denise Perrin's property at 6216 Red Oak Road in Mound. The area is currently bare dirt or stands of turf in poor condition. She described the area after large rain events as a river. Their sump pump and the neighbor's sump pump discharge into this area as well. The project has almost a 9,000sf drainage area, 2,500 being impervious from roof and driveway runoff. The project proposes a long-term drainage plan that incorporates slowing the flow of the runoff and promoting infiltration through a raingarden and vegetated swale. This area is actually a city owned utility outlot for the street storm sewer that outlets here as well. That infrastructure is staying separate from this project, but the city has given the homeowner permission to install the project on the property as long as they take on the long term maintenance of it and as long as none of the city infrastructure will be at risk. The project has some great outreach proposed with it, including outreach to the Dutch Lake Association and city support with more of these types of projects in the future.

The total project cost is $15,552. Staff recommends funding the project at 50%, not to exceed the homeowner cap of  $2,500.

Project #5 Elizabeth Andrew and Emily Hughes, 4244 24th Ave S, Minneapolis
Uncertainties with Design

This is a homeowner stormwater retrofit that adds a new initiative to District funded projects in ways of connecting people to water. This project includes directing ½ of the roof runoff, garage runoff, and entire backyard into raingardens. The home is located within a block of Lake Hiawatha (across the street from the Hiawatha Golf Course), which has been identified as impaired for excess nutrients. With the front yard heavily landscaped, this project will help the property nearly negate any roof runoff in a 1 inch rain event. This project is a great demonstration of how to maximize the function of the green space on a .12 acre lot where the house/garage take up most of the property.

Emily leads Healing Waters QiGang, and is active in connecting dance and healing with water.  She proposes to lead a special session in yard in celebration of raingardens.  Emily and Elizabeth announce raingardens on blog and mailing lists reaching a total of over 1600 people.  Raingarden will be in backyard, but they are willing to promote clean water through educational signage and by showcasing the rain gardens in block events. The raingardens will be visible from the steadily trafficked alley.

The total project cost, which includes some yard regrading, redirection of downspouts and plantings for the raingardens  is $8,315.45 (estimate from EnergyScapes). Staff recommends funding 50% of the project, not to exceed $2,500.

Project #6 Mark and Sonja Elias, 2115 Fremont Ave S, Minneapolis
Follow up with City before considering approval

Mark and Sonja Elias have a unique property that could serve as an interesting demonstration project. The porch roof drains directly onto the sidewalk that slopes towards the center walkway and proceeds to run down to the public sidewalk. We are proposing this route acts as a "dry stream" leading to the raingarden in the boulevard. The two sections of concrete sidewalk within the boulevard will be lifted and tilted upward to form a slight peak to keep the water from flowing into the street. It is a rather simple way to divert the runoff from the home and other sidewalks, and still needs to be approved by the city, but they need to know that we will have a maintenance agreement with the homeowner before they consider approval. The raingarden is going to be 120 sf so it will more than likely not have the capacity to capture and infiltrate the first inch of runoff for the drainage area but will come close.

The total project cost is $3,725. Staff recommends 50% funding, not to exceed $1,862.

Project #7 Lee Globus, 3001 Atwater St, Minnetonka
Recommended Funding

Lee is a current Master Water Steward and this is his capstone project, and also where he will conduct his education and outreach. The project will capture first inch of runoff for drainage area, approximately 5,500sf, 1,300 of which is impervious. The raingarden capacity is 300 cubic feet, so rather large and will capture most of the house and part of the large driveway. The homeowner is a very engaged Master Water Steward who organized the Minnehaha Marsh Neighborhood, and is using to update the neighborhood on his efforts. He is looking to organize a future buckthorn bust, and was a big volunteer for the Minnehaha Creek Cleanup (single handedly brought in a ton of trash from the creek. Lee has clearly aligned his efforts as a MWS and resident with the District and will create a great demonstration project, and can further help the District with education and outreach to residents with the city of Minnetonka street reconstruction projects in the future.

The total project cost for a dry creekbed, redirection of downspouts and a raingarden are $5,720. Lee is renting equipment and doing most of the install himself. Staff recommends funding 50% of the project, not to exceed the cap of $2,500.

Project #8 Elaine Erickson, 3330 Decatur Lane, St. Louis Park  
Recommended Funding

Elaine has owned her home on Minnehaha Creek for over 40 years.  With the flooding last spring, she became concerned about the amount of sediment eroding from her yard into the creek and is interested in naturally stabilizing the streambank to prevent further erosion.  Elaine has been working with Russ Henry at Giving Tree Gardens to design and restore 19 linear feet of the streambank.  The restoration will include a native upland buffer and native emergent aquatic plants, accounting for approximately 324 square feet.  Using the MPCA MIDS calculator, the restoration will result in a reduction of 0.17 lbs/yr TP and 31 lbs/yr TSS.  Elaine is willing to place educational signage on her property, partner with MCWD to host events, and promote her project through local news sources.  Elaine has obtained approval from the City of St. Louis Park to construct the restoration as long as there is a maintenance agreement in place.  MCWD staff is currently processing her shoreline erosion control permit application.  The DNR has issued Giving Tree Gardens a permit to transport aquatic plants.    

The total cost of the streambank restoration and two years of maintenance is $3,135.00.  Staff recommends funding 50% of the project not to exceed $1,567.50 contingent on MCWD shoreline erosion control permit.

Project #9 Shelly Urness, 1959 Shorewood Lane, Mound  
Recommended Funding, NTE $1,200

Shelly recently purchased a home in Mound after moving down from the Brainerd Lakes area, and is surprised at the lack of best practices when it comes to landscaping and runoff management, especially with middle class homes that are not directly on the lake. Her home is located in a densely populated area located off Three Points Boulevard on a point between West Arm and Harrison Bay of Lake Minnetonka.  She would like to improve the stormwater runoff situation and have her home be a model for best management practices. Shelly initially submitted an application by the homeowner deadline to install a raingarden on her property.  Using the new evaluation criteria her project scored under the amount to recommend funding.  Since then, staff has visited her site and worked with her to further develop her plan to capture more runoff on site.  Initially her design was to capture 1 downspout accounting for a ¼ of her roof runoff.  The design has been altered to capture a second downspout, directing ½ of her roof runoff, 875 square feet, to the raingarden.  Staff also identified and suggested to install a rain barrel capturing an additional 524 square feet of roof runoff.   Shelly has a background in natural resources and now works in public relations.  She is committed to showcasing MCWD's efforts through a public relations focus on the homeowner/agency partnership.  She has plans to build community capacity within Mound by promoting/planning a neighborhood clean-up, host a raingarden info session, and promote her project on social media.  

The total qualifying cost of the raingarden design, materials, and installation is $9,160. Because the project is tucked away in the back yard, the visibility of the project is minimal. We still see it as an opportunity to install another demonstration project in the dense Three Pints Blvd neighborhood in Mound, and can have multiple homeowners promoting stormwater BMPs in an area of Mound where there is much potential for runoff to be captured before direct discharge to Lake Minnetonka. Staff recommends funding 50% of the project not to exceed $1,200.

Project #10 Emily and James Bujold, 4909 28th Ave S, Minneapolis
Recommended Funding

Emily and James are working with two Master Water Stewards to create a raingarden that will capture and direct roof runoff to the front yard to a big raingarden that will add some curb appeal and interest to passersby. Two master water stewards designed the entire property, and chose the one option for a raingarden that would capture the most roof runoff for the first project. Project will capture 1,400 gallons of runoff in a 1.25 inch rain event. There is great outreach proposed through the Master Water Stewards, and include specific events to kick off the project and planned to happen when completed. This is a highly visible location and great site specific educational signage designed to be installed and will be seen from the sidewalk. The homeowner is a block leader for the Nokomis Alleyway project, so this will be a demonstration for her block to learn more about raingardens.

The total estimated cost for the project is $2,200. Staff is recommending funding 50% of the project, not to exceed $1,100.

8.4 MCWD Budget Discussions - All 
An overview was provided on the MCWD budget process.   A line graph was shared of historic MCWD budgets and levy amounts.   A goal of the Board is to have the requested levy better aligned with the annual budget.   In addition to establishing the budget for 2016 the board has been working projecting long term budgets for the watershed district.   There was somewhat mixed opinions on the specific levy increase for 2016 however, many CAC members thought that a 5% was reasonable for the upcoming year.   There will be a public hearing on the budget in September.   The CAC was thanked for their involvement and input during the budget process.


Cox motioned to adjourn the CAC meeting at 9:30 p.m.  Rosenberg seconded the motion.  Motion carried, none opposed. 

Next meeting date is Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Minutes or Agenda?: