A unique citizen-driven plan has blossomed into a pioneering public-private-homeowner partnership to enhance water quality in Diamond Lake, a 41-acre South Minneapolis shallow wetland that has suffered deteriorating wildlife conditions since 1990.
The plan, designed to capture polluted stormwater runoff from nearby yards and buildings before it enters the lake, is backed by a $224,000 state grant from the Minnesota Clean Water Fund. The fund is one of four such funds established through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment approved by voters in 2008.
The project will include raingardens for up to 50 homes along the west side of the lake, the Pearl Park community center, parking lot and grounds, and Diamond Lake Lutheran Church grounds. Half of the home raingarden costs will be covered by the state grant.
“Our vision is for a natural, functioning lake environment and healthy urban watershed recognized as a sanctuary to be restored and managed sustainably for current and future generations,” said David Oltmans, president of Friends of Diamond Lake (FoDL).
“Beyond the range of partnerships, the project is unique in its scope (the entire Diamond Lake watershed), the new funding source (state Clean Water funds), and the variety of best management practices that will be used to improve the lake’s water quality,” added Mary Martini, a FoDL board member. FoDL has hooked up with two private firms-Hedberg Landscape and Masonry Supplies and Metro Blooms; two public agencies with an oversight role (the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board); one neighborhood group (Hale Page Diamond Lake Community Association); a church; and citizens. The work is to start in June.
The Minnesota Conservation Corps will provide installation crews for the raingardens-15-18-year-olds engaged in hands-on environmental stewardship and service learning opportunities.
In addition to raingardens and trees, the 60-car Pearl Park parking lot will be given a more porous surface to let stormwater soak into the ground. Rain barrels and larger underground systems will reduce groundwater used for irrigation. Finally, homeowner workshops will be held to promote wide participation.
“Worth noting,” said Tina Plant, a Hedberg spokeswoman, “is that the largest percentage of contaminated water flowing into Diamond Lake is from residential areas, not the 35W/Crosstown Hwy. freeway. So citizens need to be involved.
For more details, visit