Thanks to two stewards, water quality improved on Bald Eagle Lake
The Rice Creek Watershed District (RCWD) announced that a water quality project has been completed on Bald Eagle Lake under the leadership of Master Water Steward volunteers Gary Krejcarek and Mike Hermann.
The project included a raingarden and shoreline stabilization at the former West Avenue boat launch site that will reduce the volume of stormwater runoff and pollutants entering the lake.
Stormwater from roads that used to flow down the abandoned boat launch and into the lake will now enter the raingarden. The water will be slowed down, temporarily held, and absorbed. Because raingardens are designed to absorb all water within 48 hours, there is no increased risk for mosquitoes.
Stormwater runoff is the water that runs off roads, driveways, buildings, and other hard surfaces after it rains (or snows). This water collects pollutants such as oil, pesticides, fertilizer, and soil and transports them into waterways. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that stormwater runoff is considered one of the greatest threats to water quality and a leading source of water quality impairment.
Removal of the barriers and installation of the raingarden have also beautified the space. The high visibility of the project location provides an opportunity to educate the public on water quality issues. The project was championed by RCWD Master Water Steward volunteers Krejcarek and Hermann. Krejcarek is a longtime resident of the area and past president of the Bald Eagle Area Association. Hermann recently graduated from University of St. Thomas in Environmental Studies and serves on the Mahtomedi Environmental Commission. Both men were required to work on a water quality improvement project as part of the Master Water Steward program. They were excited to be involved in such a dynamic partnership.
The Master Water Stewards program is an education and outreach program designed to provide citizen volunteers with the knowledge and skills needed to improve water quality at the local level. The program was developed by Freshwater Society in 2013; RCWD became a partner and sponsor in 2016 along with Capitol Region Watershed District and Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District. Each Master Water Steward must participate in coursework, commit to 50 hours of volunteer service for water quality in the first year and 25 in subsequent years, and complete a capstone project in their community. RCWD currently has four Master Water Stewards.
Applications for the next class of Master Water Stewards are being accepted through Sept. 30. Space is limited. Individuals interested in becoming Master Water Stewards can attend an information session with watershed district staff on Aug. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Freshwater Society, 2424 Territorial Road, Suite B, St. Paul 55114 or Sept. 14 at Urban Boatbuilders, 2288 University Ave. West in St. Paul.
Learn more, apply and RSVP to attend an information session at www.masterwaterstewards.org.
This project is the result of a collaborative effort between Rice Creek Watershed District, Ramsey Conservation District and White Bear Township.