Blue Cross Blue Shield volunteers protect Blackhawk Lake


A Blue Cross Blue
Shield volunteer

Armed with rakes, leaf bags and a commitment to community service and action, a group of 15 volunteers from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota gathered on Nov. 5 to protect Blackhawk Lake in Eagan.

Organizer Susan Schuster of Blue Cross Blue Shield led a “Community Clean-Up for Water Quality” to sweep fallen leaves out of a local park, and out of the storm drains.

Workers from the City of Eagan provided a boat, so volunteers could clean the lakeshore, and a truck to haul the leaves away.

The event was the latest in a series of clean-ups this fall sponsored through a partnership between the Friends of the Minnesota River and the Freshwater Society.  The Friends of the MN River offered community-based cleanups in the Minnesota River Valley for several years before partnering with the Freshwater Society to take the project statewide.

The  Blackhawk Lake event was the first Cleanup organized by a corporate partner.  The Blue Cross Blue Shield volunteers joined a growing number of citizen groups engaged in direct civic action to protect Minnesota’s water resources.

The Cleanups focus on cleaning up organic debris like leaves and grass from streets, storm drains, boulevards, parking lots and public areas, and taking the debris to a local composting facility.  Organic materials contain high levels of phosphorus, one of the primary sources of pollution that turn Minnesota’s lakes and rivers green with algae.

Phosphorus levels in Blackhawk Lake are a particular concern.  Algae blooms when phosphorus levels rise.  When the algae die and decay, the process uses up the oxygen in the water that fish need to survive.

The volunteers from Blue Cross Blue Shield raked up 100 bags of leaves from the banks of Blackhawk Lake.

To learn more about Community Cleanups for Water Quality coming up in spring of 2011, click here.

(Updated Aug. 14, 2013)

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