Announcing the Nation’s Largest Adopt-a-Drain Program

By cleaning up around adopted storm drains, we’ve already prevented over 17 tons of debris from entering our lakes and streams.

The Adopt-a-Storm-Drain program began in Saint Paul in 2014 with support from the City of Saint Paul and the Capitol Region Watershed District. The program is now in over 75 cities around the region and has over 4,000 adopters! 


Adopt a Storm Drain, a new program aimed at protecting area lakes, rivers, and wetlands, has just launched in the Twin Cities. Residents in the seven-county metro area and Rochester are invited to “adopt” a storm drain by committing to keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris. The simple act of sweeping up around a storm drain protects local lakes and rivers by preventing pollution from entering our shared waterways.

Residents can sign up to adopt a storm drain at Simply create an account with your name and address to claim your storm drain. Once you’ve signed up, Adopt-a-Storm-Drain will send you tips on how to clean up safely.

When you adopt a storm drain, you become part of’s network which invites you to share stories and photos with neighbors through social media, encouraging others to take action on behalf of local waterways. The quantity of debris you collect will inform annual reports on the collective impact we’ve had on local lakes and streams through the Adopt-a-Storm-Drain program.

Collective Action Adds Up

Perhaps you’ve already noticed Adopt-a-Drain lawn signs in your neighborhood. The Adopt-a-Storm-Drain program began in Saint Paul in 2014 with support from the City of Saint Paul and the Capitol Region Watershed District and has since been piloted in other cities. All told, more than 3,000 residents in pilot cities have adopted 5,401 drains to date. In 2018, residents prevented more than 35,562 pounds of debris from washing down storm drains and into lakes and rivers just by sweeping up around storm drains.

Residents of Saint Paul put their own spin on the invitation to Adopt-a-Storm-Drain, making it a neighborhood challenge. A friendly rivalry started last summer when Hamline-Midway residents challenged their neighbors in Como to see which neighborhood could adopt the most storm drains. Several other neighborhoods have since joined the competition, and thus far, Como is in the lead with 60 drains adopted by 116 new participants.

Lucy Hunt, a resident of Saint Paul’s Hamline-Midway neighborhood and a Capitol Region Watershed District Minnesota Water Steward, took the lead on the Adopt-a-Drain challenge last summer. On National Night Out, she brought her drain clean-up kit — gloves, a rake, a broom, a dust pan, and garbage bags — to nearby block parties. Her goal was to show neighbors just how easy adopting a drain can be. “It’s not a huge time commitment, and the results on water quality are dramatic,” she said. Continue reading on

Learn more about how to help protect our water resources