We are on a mission to inspire and empower people to value and preserve water.

Big Island paddlers

Big Island & Back 10K Paddle returns to Lake Minnetonka!

We are excited to present the 11th Annual Big Island & Back 10K Paddle on Lake Minnetonka Saturday, August 10!

Tune up your canoe, kayak, or paddleboard and head on over to Excelsior for a friendly race out around Big Island and back. We'll start at Excelsior Public Beach and paddle to the starting line together at 9 a.m. Our goal is to get paddlers of all ages and skill levels out on Lake Minnetonka for a great community summer event, which raises money for Freshwater and the ICA Food Shelf.

Water Connects Us

Join us for Water Connects Us on September 12!

Register today for Water Connects Us, Freshwater's annual benefit aimed to galvanize the community around our shared mission and the role we can each play in protecting water now and for future generations.

This year's event will be held September 12, 2024, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Forgotten Star Brewing in Fridley, Minnesota.

Lake of the Isles trash boom

New trash capture boom installed at Lake of the Isles

Minneapolis residents gathered with Freshwater and our partners at Lake of the Isles on June 26 to celebrate installation of a new trash boom capture system. The boom has dual benefits – it will capture trash from entering the lake through a storm drain outfall, and it will raise awareness of how pollutants travel from city streets into our lakes and rivers.

Partners on this project include Freshwater, City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, East Isles Neighborhood Association, River Network, and Osprey Initiative.

Greater Lakes PromiseGreater Lakes Promise launches new website

Freshwater, along with our project partners, recently launched a new website for Greater Lakes Promise. With support from the Great Lakes Protection Fund, Freshwater is teaming up with several land trusts on a regional approach to improving water quality around the Great Lakes.

Using state-of-the-art watershed modeling paired with local insights, our team selects high priority lands for conservation. These lands are then permanently protected with funding generated by individuals and businesses who live and work in the region.

State of Water report

Introducing our 2024 State of Water report

Check out our new State of Water report that includes observations, needs and barriers for water in Minnesota, along with specific actions to address them.

We believe that everyone should have access to clean, safe, affordable drinking water and wastewater services. All communities should be resilient in the face of climate risks, have a role in decision-making processes related to water management, and share in the economic, social, and environmental benefits of water systems. Here's how we think that can happen.

Supporting circular water systems in Minnesota

As the demand for clean water continues to grow, globally and here in Minnesota, Freshwater is actively working on ways to support water reuse and recharge by collaborating with technical experts, governing agencies and local communities.

Current efforts include a recent workshop on water reuse with Barr Engineering, a managed aquifer recharge study with the University of Minnesota, and an upcoming white paper, State of Minnesota's Circular Water Economy.

Progress made on water during challenging state legislative session

Despite limited available funding and a chaotic finish to this year’s session, the Minnesota Legislature made progress on several important water issues, including response to nitrate contamination of private drinking water wells.

Freshwater continued to build relationships with several bipartisan legislators – including members of the House and Senate agriculture committees. Throughout the session, we provided written and in-person testimony in support of clean drinking water, healthy soils and public water infrastructure.

Drinking water glass

Freshwater gathers input for Minnesota Drinking Water Action Plan

The Minnesota Department of Health is developing a 10-year action plan to better manage drinking water, and Freshwater played a key role in engaging water professionals and community members.

This work is outlined in two reports: Lessons from Drinking Water Professionals: An Assessment of Drinking Water Governance in Minnesota and Minnesota Drinking Water Action Plan Community Engagement Feedback. These insights will help guide policies to protect drinking water in Minnesota.

Adopt a RiverFight plastic pollution with Adopt a River

We invite you to help clean up plastics and other litter around a lakeshore, riverbank or neighborhood street near you.

Check out our Adopt a River toolkit for resources and tips on how to organize a community cleanup. It's easier than you think, and it can make a big difference. Thanks for joining together and helping keep our waters clean!

Corn harvestingHow a clean transportation fuel standard could impact water

With the delivery of its report to the Minnesota Legislature last month, the Clean Transportation Standard Work Group created a state policy framework for reducing carbon pollution from transportation fuels. Freshwater strongly supports carbon reduction initiatives and clean fuels. However, we want to watch for unintended negative consequences to the environment and communities.

A clean transportation standard could either help or hurt water quality – depending on whether it further incentivizes corn ethanol production in rural Minnesota.

Managed aquifer recharge illustration

New study will map potential to recharge aquifers

With groundwater shortages becoming a concern in some areas of the state, researchers at the University of Minnesota and Freshwater will be poised to assist by deploying a first-of-its-kind GIS mapping tool that could help pave the way for managed aquifer recharge in Minnesota.

Also known as water banking, managed aquifer recharge usually involves injecting water into the ground through wells, or constructing infiltration basins, to essentially “bank” water underground for later use.

Lake Hiawatha video

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.

tribal and land use mapFreshwater continues groundwater governance work

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.

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Be sure to follow Freshwater on Instagram for water news and some fantastic photos! Photo credit for this image: Jon Wood

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