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

In 2017, CRWD completed the first Targeted Watershed Program large-scale BMP. Partnering with the City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul School District, an underground infiltration pipe gallery was installed below the new 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 $600,000 project will prevent 17 pounds of phosphorus from reaching Como Lake each year.

CRWD also completed a feasibility study to identify cost-effective stormwater treatment opportunities within Como Regional Park. The goal was to shift from trying to install small BMPs when park improvements occur to installing fewer, larger BMPs that will eventually treat the entire park and portions of surrounding neighborhoods. Several BMPs identified in the study have been selected for additional design with the goal of installing by 2020.

Residential boulevard rain gardens are another key component of the Targeted Watershed Program. In the McCarrons subwatershed, 64 properties were identified as ideal sites for curb-cut rain gardens. As a result of community outreach, 14 rain gardens were constructed in the fall of 2018. A similar effort is taking shape for neighborhoods in the Como Lake subwatershed with up to 30 rain gardens being planned for construction in 2019.

CRWD also 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.

The program also successfully expanded the Adopt-a-Drain promotion, with emphasis placed on the Lake McCarrons neighborhood, in the fall of 2017. There are currently 44 homes in the Lake McCarrons subwatershed participating in the program, and an additional 100 Adopt-a-Drain program participants in the Como Lake watershed.

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