Melting Snow: Protect the lakes, rivers (and paws!)

Dog getting paws checked at the Twin Cities Loppet nordic ski race. Photo © Michelle F. Johnson 2011

Sidewalk Salt and Water Quality

As snow and ice melt, it washes into our lakes and the river. The salt and sand sprinkled on hard surfaces, such as sidewalks and driveways, goes with this melting flow and pollutes our lakes, creeks and the river. Once the salt is in the water, there is no way to remove it. Salt is an ongoing threat to water quality.

Just how potent is salt?
The chloride found in one teaspoon of road salt is enough to permanently pollute five gallons of water. Chlorides in high concentrations:

  • negatively impact aquatic organisms
  • harm the structure of aquatic environments by reducing diversity and productivity
  • increase bird deaths
  • damage plants, turf grass, and trees
  • injure the paws of dogs who walk on it

How can you help?

Shovel first
The more snow you can remove from the sidewalk or driveway, the less salt you need. Try to Continue reading

Turtles on the Move!

TurtleCrossingSign432x432Q: Why did the turtle cross the road?
A: To lay eggs, of course!*

The first official turtle crossing was seen this past week on Clinton Avenue!  A snapper needed a bit of help across the street to avoid becoming a casualty. The female turtles that call Diamond Lake home head for higher sandy soil in which to lay their eggs each year in May & June. Once the eggs hatch, the hatchlings return to the lake via the same routes in August & September.

Both mamas and hatchlings can often be seen crossing the streets around Diamond Lake on the way. Those not seen by motorists can become casualties. Most are painted turtles or snapping turtles.  Let us know if you see other species.

How You can Help

If you live on one of the streets around Diamond Lake — Portland,*** Clinton or 2nd*** Avenues, Diamond Lake Road,*** Diamond Lake Lane, Chester Street, or 58th Street,** you can place a turtle crossing sign in your yard to alert motorists to see that slow moving lump in the road really is a turtle. Friends of Diamond Lake has created yard signs that residents around the lake can post in their yards to help increase awareness of the turtles’ presence on the streets. If you would be willing to put one in your yard, please let us know using the contact form, and we will be sure you get one.  We’d like to spread them around enough so people get the idea.

The signs are free, and quantity is limited (of course, a smal donation is always welcome!)

* Thanks to newsletter editor Leigh Oltmans for the turtle quip
** We have enough volunteers on Roslyn.
*** Especially needed

Snow(!) Postpones Minneapolis Earth Day Cleanup

New snow covering shrubs after Minneapolis April SnowstormWell, it has happened. The most recent April (!) snowstorm caused Saturday’s Earth Day clean-up events in Minneapolis to be postponed. Uncovering trash is, after all, a bit more difficult in 8 inches of wet snow.

Friends of Diamond Lake will post new information as soon as it is available, and you can also monitor the Minneapolis Parks Earth Day Cleanup Page to find out when it will be rescheduled.  Looks like it could be in the sixties next weekend, but we get to enjoy one more wave of snow before that.  Seriously.  Keep those sleds out!

Slow it down, Spread it out, Soak it in

Urban Stormwater Management:
Concepts, Ways to Help, Grant Opportunities…

Resident's Rain Garden near Diamond Lake in MinneapolisFriends of Diamond Lake board members Mary Martini and Stu Goldstein attended a presentation by Leslie Yetka of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District on March 6, 2013. They learned some important concepts that can help all of us to better manage stormwater runoff.

Evolving Philosophy
Stormwater management design philosophy has evolved over the years from get stormwater off the property as quickly as possible to keep the water on the land. Since the 2000’s, green infrastructure concepts have been developed. These impact both our large natural areas and small individual sites that make use of the functions and benefits of natural features, such as soils and plants, to reduce runoff and improve water quality. Today, the philosophy is slow it down, spread it out, soak it in. Continue reading