For most of us in Minnesota, the snow is gone and big clumps of sand and gravel are all that remain from another upper Midwestern winter. This is just one of many environmental concerns that face policymakers and citizens as we transition to spring. Unless cities invest in clean up, such debris will end up in our waterways. Other common sights like yard waste, pet waste, and unnaturally green lawns all potentially create hazards for aquatic life and the rivers we cherish.
Fortunately, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has modernized a great resource that Minnesotans and public works officials can use to guide an environmentally friendly spring clean up: the Minnesota Stormwater Manual.
Introduced this year as an “interactive wiki format,” the Stormwater Manual has a ton of useful information in an easy to understand format. The manual explains “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) for limiting the impact of rain or snow runoff. It shows how to control the mosquito population to lessen the risk of West Nile and other insect-related diseases.
The site also provides upcoming events you can attend for household tips, or ways to learn more about big picture environmental issues. In August, for example, the St. Paul River Centre is hosing the International Low Impact Development Symposium, bringing together “over 1,000 professionals to share their research, implementation, policy, financing, and education strategies to build and restore cities while protecting our environment.”
So, enjoy your spring transition, Minnesotans. And remember, just because you can’t see the signs of winter’s wrath, doesn’t mean they’re gone. Make sure we’re all working together in implementing great practices to lower pollution, runoff, and other environmental hazards in our own piece of the neighborhood.