Recently, I attended a seminar on planting for clean water presented by the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (Dakota County SWCD), Blue Thumb and the city of Eagan. Living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and truly enjoying sitting on our deck looking out over a man-made pond each summer, we have a vested interest in how we plan and care for water management in our yards.
Just counting those with a surface area of an acre or more, there are about 200 natural lakes and wetlands in Eagan, and almost all are part of a stormwater drainage system. Adding in the man-made waterbodies, there are over 1,200. The stormwater management area shared with my neighbors "across the pond' is much smaller than that, but it supports quite a bit of wildlife. From the time the ice is out (nice and early this year) until it freezes over again in December, we watch for the returning ducks and mergansers to hatch new generations of their families, listen for the frogs to start their springtime serenades (a couple just started last night), and we smile when the turtles wake up and start sunning themselves on the big rock again.
You may not have a waterbody on your property like we do, but chances are, you enjoy time at a lake or on a river - Minnesota has the highest percentage of people vacationing in the state where they live. You've also got a roof over your heads, rain gutters and downspouts to divert water away from your foundation, a driveway, sidewalks and probably a little bit of lawn. Everyone of those contributes to runoff and adds to the stormwater management system. If we don't do a better job of restoring some of the native plantings that used to handle rainfall, more of our waterbodies will be turning green instead of blue.
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