Please Keep Leaves Out of the Street

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Please Keep our Water Healthy

It has been a marvelous fall for both colors and weather, and now the clean up of falling leaves begins. Please DO NOT put your leaves in the street.  It is hard work bagging up leaves, but leaves washing down the into the storm drains pollute the lakes and streams. Help keep the water we have as clean as we can.  Many would give a lot to have our colorful leaves, lakes, and clean water!  Also, leaves and trash can plug the drainage systems so the water will not drain from our streets.

Below is the City of Minneapolis Code on leaves:

 

Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Title 17:

 

  • 427.270. – Leaves, grass on streets.

No person shall leave, or cause to be placed, any leaves, grass clippings or other organic debris on or along any public street or alley. (Code 1960, As Amend., § 583.380; Ord. of 6-14-74, § 1)

 

https://www.municode.com/library/mn/minneapolis/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_TIT17STSI_CH427INGE_427.270LEGRST

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Ban Styrofoam Cups and Containers

42nd day of my litter removal.  Lots of Styrofoam!
42nd day of my litter removal. Lots of Styrofoam!

I am encouraging Minneapolis and other city governments to ban Styrofoam.   The past 42 days I have done daily litter pick-ups on my walks in Minneapolis.  I was picking up Styrofoam along with wrappers, cans and plastic. Some of what was picked-up could be recycled, but Styrofoam, which is recyclable, is hard to find a place to recycle.  I think the Twin Cities area has one place to recycle Styrofoam which is miles from my home.

At an Earth Day pick up along the Minnehaha Creek .  I was surprised to notice how much the Styrofoam along the creek was breaking down into little pieces.  Pieces so small it was impossible to pick up.  Water and sun cause it to break up faster. The past few days I have been picking Styrofoam  out of Lake Harriet. It has broken into pieces that might never dissolve and survive in the lake for generations.  I wonder what harm this does to the birds and fish?

Banning restaurant containers is only a very small piece of this, but it is a start.  The best part of banning Styrofoam could be that it heightens awareness for individuals who never think about the consequences of Styrofoam.

Finally, I have never figured out why businesses that sell products that are so harmful to the environment are not held responsible for what they spew.  Why aren’t they at least required to offer recycling?

“People are already paying a price for allowing this packaging (styrofoam), noting the cost to remove the materials from the recycling stream, uncloging storm drains and picking up litter. You’re paying for it in so many different ways,”  Minneapolis Council Member Andrew Johnson  http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/258989321.html

The Mississippi River, Everyone’s Responsibility!

“Minneapolis, On the banks of the Minnehaha Creek!” Garrison Keillor

Materials for recycling pulled from the banks of the Minnehaha Creek
Materials for recycling pulled from the banks of the Minnehaha Creek

This blog is in response to an article on buffers along streams and rivers:

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/256920531.html

Water, Our most valuable resource! It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep our rivers, lakes and oceans clean! Living in the City of Lakes, Minneapolis, and the first major city draining streams into the Mississippi River, we take our relationship with water quality seriously. I have an easy way for those lucky enough to live along a stream, river or lake to create sustainable pollinator habitat and keep our waters clean.

The Minnehaha Creek, a few blocks from my home is often part of my walks, bird watching and litter pick up. This Creek runs through south Minneapolis, and flows into the Mississippi River. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul sit on the banks of the Mississippi River which divides them into two cities. Last weekend my neighborhood, boy scouts and high school students did a big clean up of the creek. Every piece of litter we picked up was one more piece kept out of the Mississippi River and possibly the Gulf of Mexico.

It is also important to keep pollutants from running into the creek.  Cleaning storm drains, installing rain barrels, rain gardens, and redirecting drain spouts are initiatives we promote in trying to do our best for the mighty Mississippi.

What is the problem? I was sad to read that some that farmers and others that live along water ways are not following Minnesota law to keep our rivers clean. Minnesota has a state law that requires farmers and others to create small 50 foot buffers of grasses, trees or shrubs along creeks and rivers to keep pollutants from washing into the rivers and lakes.

What can you do? An easy way to create and maintain these buffers is to plant a 50 foot strip of native plants. Why native plants in these buffer zones? Native plants have deep root structures that keep the soil in place and filter contaminants.  Planting buffers of natives would build habitat for our struggling bees and butterflies, and keep our streams and lakes nitrate and phosphorous free. It’s a win-win! Unfortunately, the buffer law isn’t enforced like it should be.  Many don’t like government regulation, well then…. Take responsibility to protect of our water from pollutants.

What are some plants to use? I would recommend seeding the buffer area with native perennials that take care of themselves.  Some of following natives would be great water filters and create bee and butterfly habitat: Golden Alexander, swamp milkweed, Culver’s root, bee balm, little blue stem, cone flowers, vervain, asters, golden rod and any native sedges.  Purchase seeds from http://www.prairiemoon.com/   Native plants are almost maintenance free once they start growing. Mowing in the spring, just once a year, would keep out trees.  Good Luck!

 

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/256920531.html  (Drainage buffers needed)

Plant Blue Flag Iris and native grasses to filter water run off.
Plant Blue Flag Iris, sedges and native grasses to filter water run off.

http://www.minneapolismn.gov/publicworks/stormwater/green/stormwater_green-initiatives_rain-barrel

http://www.prairiemoon.com/

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/restoreyourshore/pg/npc.html

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/restoreyourshore/st/bufferzone.html