Watershed Neighborhood Action Program

Lake Phalen Subwatershed Pilot Project

by Louise Watson | Jul 20, 2011
| 1 Comment

Summary:

Relationship-building is the crux of this idea, but it is very time-consuming. With the GIS capabilities of our District staff and the commitment of our staff to relationship-building, this idea serves optimizes these assets these capability assets. There is already so much going on in the Lake Phalen Subwatershed, it makes sense to pull the isolated pieces (individual actions and government programs) together to make a more vigorous whole (community and healthy watershed).

The little bit of “tapping into” identified community members has revealed a promising reservoir of talent, commitment and vision. An interesting early finding was that the church community defined itself as and established institution needing to become more sustainable and community-based, while the Hmong community defined itself as a isolated self-sustaining group that needs to find ways to more easily access established mainstream institutions. So we find that the Hmong community can help the churches become more sustainable and community-based, while the churches can help the Hmong become more a part of the “established society.”

About You

Organization: Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District more ↓↑ hide↑ hide

About You

First Name

Louise

Last Name

Watson

Country

United States, MN

City

Little Canada

About Your Organization

Organization Name

Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District

Organization Website

Your Idea

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Name your idea

Watershed Neighborhood Action Program: Lake Phalen Subwatershed Pilot Project

Describe how you would use $15,000 to help your community become aware of and address water issues in Minnesota.

$15,000 would be used to:
1. Build watershed-based community identity and shared participation in implementing the Visioning Workshops planned for September 13 and 22, 2011.
2. Build leadership that will allow the community identity and sense of ownership with the annual WaterFest event that is currently sponsored by the District, several cities, businesses and county government organizations.
3. All actions taken will aim to create mutual support among community members interested in watershed stewardship actions, practices and education.
4. Further evolving the Asset Map and intra-community communications.

How do you define your "community"?. How are water issues affecting your community?

The community is comprised of all those who occupy, use or manage land in the Lake Phalen Subwatershed. Clean water for Lake Phalen requires efforts not only by the Watershed District, but also by the park users, as well as the land owners of the Lake’s watershed. Identifying improvement opportunities in the watershed draining to the Lake is the first step in designing a neighborhood action plan. Opportunities include:
1. Recognizing and promoting landowners who are already reducing turf lawns with native gardens and otherwise investing time into environmental stewardship.
2. Identifying properties with a high proportion of impervious surface such as parking lots and barren beaten playgrounds.
3. Identifying existing local government policies and programs available for partnerships.
4. Identifying neighborhood property owners committed to environmental stewardship.
5. Identifying groups that are approachable regarding trying new behaviors that support healthy watersheds.
Actions taken to define the community: An Asset Map of the watershed’s physical and human resources has been created and is evolving to include all of the physical and human resources listed above (1-5).
• The District Access database has allowed staff to identify the locations of all the recognized environmental stewards in the watershed, all the costshare projects and capital improvements that have used stormwater management practices within areas draining to Lake Phalen, and all the churches and schools and other properties with large portions of impervious surface. Staff lists of individual contacts are also located on the watershed asset map.
• Outreach to local schools has been going on since 1997, resulting in close working relationships.
• Outreach to the churches in the watershed began in spring 2011, as well as outreach to the Hmong Community—the largest user group of the Park itself. Churches are working on rain gardens and porous parking areas.

Innovation

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Describe how your idea is creative.

Relationship-building is the crux of this idea, but it is very time-consuming. With the GIS capabilities of our District staff and the commitment of our staff to relationship-building, this idea serves optimizes these assets these capability assets. There is already so much going on in the Lake Phalen Subwatershed, it makes sense to pull the isolated pieces (individual actions and government programs) together to make a more vigorous whole (community and healthy watershed).
The little bit of “tapping into” identified community members has revealed a promising reservoir of talent, commitment and vision. An interesting early finding was that the church community defined itself as and established institution needing to become more sustainable and community-based, while the Hmong community defined itself as a isolated self-sustaining group that needs to find ways to more easily access established mainstream institutions. So we find that the Hmong community can help the churches become more sustainable and community-based, while the churches can help the Hmong become more a part of the “established society.”

Impact

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Describe how how you expect your idea to make a difference in your community.

1. We envision a future community that is more integrated culturally and more sustainable environmentally.

2. We expect that a community that identifies closer with the WaterFest event will have that common annual basis for coming together to celebrate accomplishments.

3. We expect that as isolated watershed stewardship practitioners come to know each other, momentum for further action will be gained.

Sustainability and Growth

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Describe how your idea will "stick" in your community and how you think it could be repeated in other communities.

Lake Phalen is a highly visible area due to the popularity of the Lake itself, and the District’s restoration of its shoreline. The Hmong Community is widespread throughout the metro area, with families interconnected and tight-knit. What is embraced by those in one section of the metro area coule easily rub off to relatives in other metro areas. The Church community is a built-in volunteer base through which churches help themselves with their own projects but also share openly with each other. As churches become “greener” and “bluer” and utilize the environmental specialists and leaders amongst their ranks, momentum will build as more and more demonstrations of model sustainable churches becomes a major Caring for Creation effort.

Devon Roberts said: I think this is such an incredible idea and this must be implemented as soon as possible. - Feed the Children about this Competition Entry. - 1876 days ago read more >

Louise Watson submitted this idea. - 2802 days ago