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Targeted Watershed Program

Capitol Region Watershed District’s (CRWD’s) Targeted Watershed Program (TWP) is funded through the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment and administered by the state’s Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). The program addresses water pollution by focusing funding on watersheds where actions needed for water quality improvement are known and can be achieved in a four-year window of time. BWSR then identifies and funds watershed improvements to specific, targeted water resources throughout the state. Within the District, the TWP features projects and programs designed to help improve water quality in Como Lake and protect Lake McCarrons.

The Challenge

Como Lake is impaired for phosphorous, and to meet state standards, Como Lake will require a 60 percent reduction in phosphorous from stormwater runoff and a 97 percent reduction in phosphorous being recycled within the lake. Lake McCarrons is not impaired but has demonstrated a decline in water quality in recent years. TWP focuses on treating stormwater runoff through a combination of constructed water quality improvement projects and community-based approaches to stormwater management.

“The Targeted Watershed Program is an essential tool for government agencies – including watershed districts like CRWD – to address critical water resource issues throughout Minnesota. We’re grateful to the BWSR for funding these projects, which are already working to reduce pollutants and improve water quality in two of our key water resources.” – Nate Zwonitzer, Water Resource Project Manager

The Solution

CRWD received a $1.76 million grant award from the BWSR to improve water quality in Como Lake and Lake McCarrons. The funds, made available through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, were approved by BWSR as part of the Targeted Watershed Program. Additional project funding of over $1.5 million will be provided by CRWD and project partners. Potential project partners include Ramsey County, Roseville and Saint Paul School Districts, and the Cities of Saint Paul, Roseville, and Falcon Heights.

CRWD’s Targeted Watershed Program will expand on existing partnerships to install best management practices (BMPs) and increase public awareness of activities that protect water resources. Some of these efforts include:

  • Analyzing key areas for cost-effective BMP implementation
  • Constructing new large-scale BMPs
  • Coordinating design and construction of residential boulevard rain gardens
  • Growing CRWD’s residential “Adopt-a-Drain” program
  • Expanding neighborhood leaf clean-up events

The Results


Como Park Senior High: Partnering with the City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul School District, an underground infiltration pipe gallery was installed below the athletic field at Como Park Senior High School. Stormwater is diverted from the public storm sewer into the pipe gallery where it has time to soak into the ground. The project will prevent 17 pounds of phosphorus from reaching Como Lake each year.

Como Golf Course Best Management Practices (BMPs): Engineering design is currently underway to install several stormwater management practices within the Como Golf Course. An iron-enhanced sand filter will be installed at the northwestern golf course pond that will remove dissolved phosphorus from the water before it leaves the pond.  Additionally, a bioretention basin and underground infiltration system will be created near Hole 7 of the golf course. Together, these best management practices will prevent 55 pounds of phosphorus from entering Como Lake every year.

Parkview Center School: In the fall of 2019, CRWD and its partners began constructing a series of large underground pipes and a filtration system that will capture and clean 12.5 million gallons of polluted runoff per year before it reached Lake McCarrons.


McCarrons Boulevard Curb Cut Raingardens: In 2019, CRWD, Ramsey County Soil & Water Conservation Division, and the City of Roseville partnered to create fourteen curb-cut raingardens in the Lake McCarrons subwatershed. These rain gardens capture and clean water from the streets, preventing 10 pounds of phosphorus from entering Lake McCarrons every year.

Como Boulevard Rain Gardens: CRWD, Ramsey County Soil & Water Conservation Division, and the City of St. Paul plan to construct eight curb-cut rain gardens in the spring of 2020. These rain gardens will capture polluted runoff from surrounding streets and reduce the amount of phosphorus and sediment entering Como Lake by 2.2 and 972 pounds per year, respectively.

Adopt-a-Drain Program Expansion: Expanded promotion of the Adopt-a-Drain program raised participation to 44 homes in the Lake McCarrons subwatershed participating in the Adopt-a-Drain program, and an additional 100 participants in the Como Lake watershed.

Fall Curbside Cleanup Expansion: CRWD worked closely with the Como Active Citizen Network to develop a model for curb clean-ups in the neighborhood surrounding Como Lake. Next steps are to present the model to residents of Como Lake and Lake McCarrons.

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