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Watch: Video on Lake Hiawatha trash boom capture system
Freshwater teamed up with River Network, Friends of Lake Hiawatha, Osprey Initiative, the City of Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to install a litter capture device designed to help clean up Lake Hiawatha. As trash enters the lake through a storm drain outfall, it is captured by a series of floating booms where it can be collected, sorted and analyzed. This collaborative project will help to raise community awareness around clean water and to protect the diverse ecosystem of this beloved lake. Learn more in this video produced by Quasimodo Advertising.
New York Times taps Freshwater expertise for groundwater series
The New York Times recently launched a far-reaching investigative series about the state of groundwater in the United States. By interviewing numerous experts and compiling a national database of groundwater measurements, the Times has documented the concerning trend of declining aquifers across much of the country. Freshwater's Carrie Jennings and Chris O'Brien provided background information to co-author Dionne Searcey for an article in the series about how row crop irrigation in north-central Minnesota is testing the limits of groundwater governance and permit enforcement.
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Freshwater has begun a second phase of work to build capacity for groundwater governance in the Great Lakes region funded by the Joyce Foundation. The team will be following recommendations summarized in the report, Groundwater Governance, Well Cobbled?, which assessed the technical, legal and structural capacity of the six Great Lakes states and 35 federally recognized tribes in EPA Region 5.
The initial Phase 1 study showed that groundwater governance in the Great Lakes Region is in different stages of development and in need of better alignment to thoughtfully and sustainably manage aquifers and groundwater-surface water connections. In addition, there is an important need to amplify tribal government perspectives and advance indigenous leadership in groundwater governance.
Freshwater recently collaborated with Jothsna Harris of Change Narrative and Quasimodo Advertising to produce an inspiring video about Minneapolis artist and teacher Sean Connaughty.
Sean formed Friends of Lake Hiawatha to revive the lake's health through good stewardship, policy action and community engagement. He also worked with University of Minnesota students to plant a living art project near the storm drain outfall where Freshwater and partners installed a trash boom system that helps keep litter out of the lake.
When the Minnesota Legislature adjourned on May 22, the session was applauded by many conservation groups for providing significant investments in a broad range of environmental programs. Freshwater’s legislative priorities were successful nearly across the board with progress in the areas of soil health, water storage, drinking water protection and more.
Clean water is something all Minnesotans support, and we believe the policies enacted this session represent a major step in the right direction. Freshwater is already beginning to strategize on how to approach next year’s session, and we welcome your input. First, let’s take a look at the results of our 2023 policy work.
Freshwater to lead Great Lakes Protection Fund project in Minnesota and Michigan watersheds
Freshwater has been awarded $1.5 million from the Great Lakes Protection Fund for a 5-year effort to improve water quality in the Maumee, St. Louis and Saginaw River watersheds. The project team will use cause marketing to raise funds for permanently converting marginal cropland to perennial vegetation, thereby enhancing carbon storage and curbing nutrient runoff.
Working with local land trusts and watershed modeling experts, the team will identify croplands that would provide the greatest water quality benefits. This approach will be used to carefully select parcels, helping the land trusts build capacity and expertise in the process.
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