2019 has been a year of growth for Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD). The District required more staff to support our mission to protect and improve nearby lakes and the Mississippi River but had run out of room. The new building in Hamline-Midway expanded the office capacity for additional staff in each of CRWD’s divisions and in January 2019 five new permanent positions were approved by the Board of Managers. After several months with the District the rookies have proven to be a solid line-up of recruits for water quality.
Anna assists the Administrator and Office Manager with recording invoices, managing meetings, updating CRWD’s website, and overseeing occasional design projects. Since beginning in April 2019 Anna has been reworking documents for efficiency, tracking and flow of information, along with organizing printing projects for various staff and assisting with a multitude of projects. Anna’s favorite part of the job is the people she works with, and she enjoys refining the invoicing and data structures for efficiencies and clarity.
When she’s not working Anna loves doing hair and makeup for clients and working as her church’s graphic designer. Her favorite park in CRWD is Como, and her favorite lakes are the several she passes by on her commute.
What excites Anna most about working at CRWD is making a difference and educating the community about protecting our water now and for future generations.
Urban BMP Technician – Planning, Projects and Grants Division
Rachel provides support and technical assistance in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of green infrastructure practices and other types of stormwater best management practices (BMPs). Rachel spent the warmer months inspecting and ensuring maintenance of green infrastructure from past Stewardship and Special Grants projects throughout the District. These projects range from residential rain gardens to large capital improvement projects like the Green Line water quality projects, Highland Ravine stabilization, and Arlington Pascal rain gardens. Rachel enjoys the variety of tasks every day and getting to know the District in its entirely. She appreciates being a part of an organization that encourages cross collaboration and the opportunity to take the lead on projects while working alongside of more experienced staff.
For fun Rachel loves getting out on the water to kayak and exploring her neighborhood while walking her rescue dog. Rachel’s favorite water feature of the District is the Trout Brook Interceptor (TBI), a historic piece of infrastructure that not many people get to see. She spent time inspecting inside portions of the tunnel and says that getting to be on the inside of something, literally and figuratively, that was first constructed over 100 years ago is really interesting!
“What excites me most about working at CRWD is the opportunity to improve water quality from all sorts of different directions, and the chance to do it with such an experienced and dedicated team!”
Water Resource Technician – Monitoring, Research and Maintenance Division
Chris assists the District’s Stormwater Monitoring Program by conducting water quality monitoring, data analysis, and the installation and maintenance of monitoring equipment. Chris spent the summer monitoring Como Lake and the Villa Park system, along with regular water quality sample collection and analysis. He has been helping reorganize the shop and garage and has worked in the East Kittsondale and TBI tunnels after completing his Confined Space Entry safety training.
Chris’ favorite part of his job is the balance between fieldwork and deskwork like data analysis.
Chris enjoys the outdoors by biking and cross-country skiing and working on home projects. His favorite park and waterbodies in CRWD are Crosby Lake and the Mississippi River – he says the entire lower river area is fun for biking and running.
What excites Chris most about working at CRWD is getting to work on water quality, an issue he cares about deeply. He finds fulfillment in working every day to improve our water resources.
Best Management Practices Inspector – Rules and Permitting Division
Luke inspects stormwater management and erosion/sediment control best management practices as part of the regulatory program and assists with the CRWD permit program. He has been part of the wetland review for the Ford site redevelopment to discuss the delineation of the site’s three wetlands during field visits with the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources, and the developer’s wetland consultant. Luke’s favorite part of his job is that every single permit and approval is a win for improving water quality in the District and downstream.
Luke lives in the District with his family, including his 8-month-old daughter, and enjoys getting outside for walks while introducing her to the changing seasons. His favorite lake in CRWD is Loeb Lake and his favorite park is Reservoir Woods – just west of Lake McCarrons with dirt trails for running or hiking.
What Luke finds most exciting about working at CRWD is protecting the water resources in an urban setting. “Historically water quality management was not a part of urban development so here in CRWD every redevelopment project is an opportunity to improve water quality for the community.”
Mary Van Sant
Communications Associate – Communications and Engagement Division
Mary is responsible for maintaining CRWD’s website and social media accounts and writing blog posts. Since starting Mary has relaunched the District’s newsletter, led an expanded social media presence and strategy, and assisted with a variety of projects like the Grand Opening and ongoing website development. Her favorite part of the job is working with a wonderful group of people while getting to learn about everything CRWD does.
Mary enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and finding ways to be creative. Como Lake is her favorite lake and park in the District. She loves seeing the beautiful shoreline restorations of native plants filled with busy pollinators in the summer.
“What excites me most about working at CRWD is being part of an organization that is so neat. From the exploration of the intersection of art and science, to walking by a 3,000-gallon rainwater cistern on the way to my desk, to taking invertebrate samples in a restored stream channel. Everyday I’m grateful to be here with a wonderful team of people all working to protect one of our most vital natural resources.”
In addition to the new staff, CRWD welcomes Shawn Murphy as a new Board Manager, appointed in October. A five-person Board of Managers guides implementation of the goals and objectives set forth in the District’s Watershed Management Plan. Board Managers are appointed by the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners and serve a three-year term.
Manager Murphy works for the Metro Mosquito Control District, a government agency focused on disease control within mosquito populations in an environmentally responsible manner. As a field operations supervisor Shawn has visited every body of water within the District and beyond. Each holding pond or ditch that may have standing water is monitored and treated when necessary. With this work Shawn noticed all the trash in many places he visited, some smaller ponds nearly covered with single use plastic bottles. He wanted to be a part of those working to protect our water resources and educate the public. With that interest Shawn found the application for the Watershed District board and decided to apply.
Manager Murphy has a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Minnesota and worked as a computer programmer after graduation. He switched careers to find something more active than desk work, after owning a small shop in downtown Stillwater he found an opening with the Metro Mosquito Control District and enjoys the balance of field and computer work.
Backcountry camping with his rescue dog Ripley is a favorite hobby. Manager Murphy enjoys the Superior Forest in northern Minnesota and has been camping across the country – from Montana, to California, to Louisiana. Growing up on a lake outside of Stillwater he was able to develop his appreciation of the outdoors and exploration out of the way places.
Manager Murphy’s favorite park within the District is Como Lake, especially walking around the lake with his family. The Sarita Wetland Conservation Area on the edge of the University of Minnesota’s Saint Paul campus is another favorite body of water in CRWD.