Lake Hiawatha Trash Boom Capture System

Final project report for the 2023 season

As detailed in the final report, the 2023 Lake Hiawatha boom project has been a success in all the standard metrics of litter collection and community engagement. The boom system withstood heavy rains and several large storm systems, capturing just under 140 pounds of material that would have entered the Lake Hiawatha ecosystem. Tactical cleanups collected another 127 pounds of material that was already in the lake or along the shoreline. Throughout the project, litter and recyclables were collected, sorted, weighed and categorized.

"Plastic" was the most common category found through both the device maintenance and tactical cleanups. In addition, the litter boom site saw "Cigarettes/Tobacco Products" as the dominant subcategory.

This data will be helpful in considering potential community engagement opportunities to reduce shoreline litter and to pursue upstream sources of litter entering Lake Hiawatha through the stormwater culvert. A continuation of this boom project has been proposed for 2024 and will be explored by the project team in the next few months.

Watch – Partners collaborate to clean up Lake Hiawatha

Lake Hiawatha trash boom

Boom filters to help keep trash out of Lake Hiawatha

booms after rainfall
Above, the floating booms hold litter and debris on Lake Hiawatha the morning after a heavy rainfall. The shape of the boom arrangement can vary depending on wind and current, but the system does its job regardless.

Freshwater has teamed up with several partner organizations to help clean up Lake Hiawatha through installation of a floating boom system that will capture trash that enters the lake through a storm sewer outfall.

When Freshwater was approached in October 2021 by River Network, a national network of water, justice and river advocates, with the possibility of funding under a grant from the Coca Cola Foundation to install a litter capture device in the Mississippi watershed, Lake Hiawatha immediately came to mind. Learn more about River Network's community-focused approach to addressing litter in this video.

In collaboration with the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and the Friends of Lake Hiawatha, Freshwater has partnered with Osprey Initiative to create the customized capture system. Funding for the installation event and celebration was provided by the CenterPoint Energy Foundation.

Debris collected in this series of three booms will be sorted, recorded and disposed of properly by a trained maintenance team. The collected debris data will provide critical information the City can use to better understand the extent of the pollution problem, and to enact further measures to diminish pollution further upstream.