Dear Sustainability Sam,
I see these “We protect Minnehaha Creek -Sweep up! Rake up! Pick Up!” signs around the neighborhood, can you tell me what that’s all about?
Next time you are out enjoying a walk in Tangletown take a moment to check out the storm drains on the street. Are they clear of debris or are they clogged with leaves, sticks and litter? If they are clear, thank a Storm Drain Hero. Storm Drain Heroes are those Tangletown residents who take the time to clean up the debris that falls into the storm drains. Those who sign up to participate in the Adopt a Drain Program, receive the signs you mentioned that help remind us to take care of our storm drains and protect our waterways.
Why is this so important to do? The storm drains in Tangletown drain directly into Diamond Lake, Minnehaha Creek, and the Mississippi River (See a map of Tangletown storm drains here). When washed down our storm drains, contaminants pollute the water and the extra organic matter feeds algae and weeds making the water green and soup-like. This blocks sunlight from getting through the water to bottom plants. Without sunlight, these plants are unable to grow and fish and wildlife lose habitat. Also, if the storm drains are clogged, rain and winter ice melt can’t drain off our streets causing flooding.
Minneapolis has a storm drain adoption program at www.adopt-a-drain.org. Here you can use the interactive map to see which drains in your neighborhood need adopting. You can adopt one (or 3!), give it a silly name and take on the much needed responsibility of cleaning it out a few times a year. To set you up for success, your Tangletown Neighborhood Association will provide you with the tools you need for free. Email us your confirmation of adopting a drain(s) and we’ll send you a voucher to redeem at Ace Hardware for rubber gloves, a small rake-like tool, bags, and a rolling waste bin. Learn more here.
If the storm drains on your street are clogged, be a Hero and clean them out. It doesn’t take a lot of time but it does do a lot of good for the community and its beloved waterways.