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June 14, 2017 CAC Minutes

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District

Citizens Advisory Committee


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

6:30 PM to 8:30 PM 

Community Room

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Offices

15320 Minnetonka Boulevard

Minnetonka, MN 55345



1.       Call meeting to order (Manser)

The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Citizens Advisory Committee was called to order at 6:35 p.m. in the Community Room at the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District offices.


2.       CAC Members Present

Bill Bushnell, Sliv Carlson, Brad Coulthart, Colin Cox, Jacqueline DiGiacomo, Brian Girard, Linda Jahnke, Richard Manser, Steve Mohn, Richard Nyquist, David Oltmans, Marc Rosenberg, and Neil Weber


Managers Present

Manager Brian Shekleton


Others Present

MCWD staff - Darren Lochner and Becky Christopher


3.       Approval of Agenda

It was moved by Carlson to approve the agenda, Mohn seconded. All members approved.


4.       Approval of Minutes – May 10, 2017

It was moved by Carlson to approve, Manser seconds. All members approved.


5.       Report from Staff

The 50th Anniversary Community Engagement events are continuing throughout the summer.  CAC members are invited to attend some of the upcoming events:  Shoreland Gardening tour on Lake Minnetonka – July 15, Minnehaha Creek Greenway Clean-up in St. Louis Park – July 23, and the Lake Hiawatha Clean-up - August 19.


The new Lake Minnetonka map has been available for distribution.   CAC members are encourage to share the map with other in their community.


6.       Report from CAC Members

Manser noted that he had been responding to a few questions related to the Arden Park project in Edina.  MCWD staff has been working with the City of Edina to inform community members on the background of the project and history of this site.   Fact sheets and the website are being updated on a regular basis.  Any questions can be sent directly to Darren Lochner or MCWD Project Manager Renae Clark.


CAC members reported on their involvement in the 50th Anniversary events and encouraged others to get out this summer with the upcoming events.


Slive noted that she recently attended a tour of the Burwell House in Minnetonka that is near Minnehaha Creek.  She said that tour was great and provided an interesting history of this area of the creek.


CAC members complimented staff on joint CAC/Board tour of the watershed.  The tours were seen as a great way to better understand the watershed.


Jackie commented on her volunteer experience at Wakota Park and the City of Tonka Bay.  It was a good opportunity to talk about water and highlights ways homeowners can make a difference with environmentally friend yard care practices.


7.       Report from Board of Manager Liaison

Manager Shekleton as unable to attend the meeting tonight.


8.       New Business

8.1      MCWD Comprehensive Plan

Becky Christopher provided an update on the Comprehensive Plan.   She thanked CAC for input they have provided so far.  


The CAC members have been provided the drafts of each volume.  Christopher provided an overview of the content and purpose of each volume and remaining sections that make up the comprehensive plan.   Comments are welcome at any time and during the 60 day review period.


Review of the 2017 plan:

2007 Plan was very technical, prescriptive, regulatory, unfocused (ambitious/false expectations).

2017 Plan all about integration of land-use and water and creating framework to support Balanced Urban Ecology policy and approach (partnership, focus, flexibility) 



  • June 8 – PPC discussion of draft Plan
  • June 22 - Board authorization to distribute Plan for 60-day review and comment
  • June 29 – Plan distribution
  • August 28 – end of 60-day comment period
  • September 28 – Board review and authorization of comment responses
  • October 12 – public hearing
  • October 25 – submit Plan to state agencies for final review and approval
  • December 28 – anticipated date of Plan adoption


8.2      Elevator Speech

Often CAC members and other MCWD volunteers are asked to represent or discuss their role with the watershed district.  

-          Elevator Speech – this concept comes from the idea of riding in an elevator with someone you do not know and being able to provide a short description on who you are and what you do.   Question – If you are staffing a MCWD booth what would you say if someone walked up to the booth and asked questions such as – what is your role as a CAC member, what does the MCWD so, etc.?

  • Key points: who you are, who you are representing, what we do, and why you are here
    • Example: I'm Jane Doe and I am a Master Water Steward volunteer in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.  Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is a local government agency that works to protect the water quality of our local lakes, streams, and wetlands. Today I'm here talking to people about native plants and how those help our water quality!

-          CAC members were given the opportunity to practice developing an elevator speech and sharing it with a neighbor.   Some members shared their elevator speech with the whole group. 


8.3      Cost Share Grant Review

Master Water Stewards Capstone Project - Behrends and Hamilton, Excelsior


At the meeting staff recommended the funding for one homeowner cost share project that proposes to install two rain gardens at a home near Lake Minnetonka at 25720 Sunnyvale Lane in Excelsior. The applicant (Laurie Behrends) lives at this address and this project is a Master Water Stewards capstone project.  The team working on this project is Laurie Behrends and Holly Hamilton.


This is the Master Water Stewards capstone project of Laurie Behrends and Holly Hamilton (2015 Master Water Stewards).  Through a process of re-grading the front yard and driveway and installation  of two rain gardens approximately 80% of the impervious surfaces are being directed towards the large pervious backyard and two rain gardens. 

Laurie, the homeowner, seeks funding to install two rain gardens (side raingarden has two diagrams for illustration purposes) that will provide attractive landscaping that will eliminate the standing water in the driveway during heavy rains and spring snow melt, and to reduce storm water runoff from the property, by capturing water from impervious surfaces. 


This will be part of a larger homeowner project, in which a contractor will be re-grading the front lawn in front of the house, installing a new front sidewalk, new driveway, and replacing the side sidewalk on the right side of the driveway to the backyard.  The driveway will be at a slight slope to drain into the side raingarden and arborvitae tree area, and drain tile will be connected from the gutters to the raingardens.  The project protects a high value resource – Lake Minnetonka's East Upper Lake - which has a high water quality grade in the District.

The total cost of the project is $5,904.33. Staff recommends funding the project at 50%, not to exceed $2,500 (this amount was corrected from the original material that was included in the packet). 


The education and outreach for this project has involved hosting an education table at the Excelsior Farmer's Market.   In addition, once the rain gardens are completed the Master Water Stewards will install a "Clean Water Here" sign and showcase the rain gardens at a neighborhood garden tour.


As a note, Master Water Stewards form groups to identify and implement a capstone project in order to complete their certification.  These include an installation project and an education/outreach campaign.  Installation projects are best management practices such as raingardens, rain barrels, permeable pavement, or cisterns, which reduce polluted water runoff and help more water soak into the ground.  Education campaigns help neighbors and community members understand local environmental issues and how they can make a difference.


It was moved that the project was approved at the $2,500 level by Manser and seconded by Oltmans.   There was a fair amount of discussion of elevation of the property and the presence of a tree where the rain garden was going to be placed.  The question was asked whether the driveway would in fact drain to the area where the rain garden would be installed.   The main motion was amended to state that the project should be approved pending staff review of the site and questions of the CAC members are answered.   The amendment was made by Manser and seconded by Carlson.  All approved of the amendment and main motion.


*As a note, staff did make a site visit and District engineer further reviewed the site plans.   The homeowner was able to further describe the site and noted that the tree would be removed to make room for the rain garden.   Based on further site plan review, site visit and conversation with the homeowner/applicant staff approved of this project being funded at the 50% level or $2,500 funding.


9.           Old Business  


10.        Special items to address by CAC / Staff before next meeting


11.        Adjourn – Next Meeting on July 12, 2017

Motion was made to adjourn at 8:55 p.m. by Carlson and seconded by Oltmans.

Minutes or Agenda?: