Bored with Heroin? Let’s Talk Stormwater Management

ChemicalLawn.jpgIn a recent post, I mentioned the subject of Stormwater Managment. I suggested that it was an important topic and hinted that you’d be hearing more about it in the future.

The City of Northfield recently hired some consultants to work with staff on a proposed Stormwater Management Plan. If I remember correctly, it’s a Federal requirement that communities have a plan in place.

The Planning Commission was asked to review the proposed Plan. Even though we’re a well-educated group, well over half the Commission has advanced degrees, it was not easily digested by amateurs.

In response, the Planning Commission developed a list of questions and comments for the consultants and staff. The consultant and a staff member made a lengthy presentation to the Commission and I would say that the group was 90% satisfied with the answers provided. It probably would be closer to 100% except that some of the answers were “in the not-too-distant future” and I prefer “it’s already been completed”.

At any rate, one of the goals of the Commission was to include residential sources of pollution, instead of always just focusing on businesses. The consultant and staff person said that residential impacts would not be overlooked.

The issue is fertilizer, herbicide and insecticide run-offs from people’s yards, into the storm sewer, and then, directly, into the Cannon River.

Northfield is not a leader on this concern. In the July 7th edition of the Wall Street Journal, there was an article, “Grass Warfare”, in which examples were cited about what other communities are doing to protect our water.

What Northfield proposes to do about this issue will be included in the Implementation Phase of the Plan. To learn more, watch for a Public Information Open House coming to a public facility near you, in the not-too-distant future.


  1. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    I have to wonder if city dwellers who hire ChemLawn are aware of the stormwater pollution aspect and just don’t care. Same for smokers who flip their butts down the storm drain in front of Basil’s Pizza area on Water Street. They go direct to the Cannon River. Not that I like the butts ending up on new the grass strips in plain view any better.

    The bending required to pick up up those butts by hand is a bit much. Maybe persons assigned by the County to community service could do some of it? I have asked about that, but no reply.

    July 15, 2007
  2. Hilary Ziols said:

    Not only does rainwater rushing through our city landscape carry pollutants, its very quantity is also a pollutant, eroding banks and carrying sediments that smother aquatic life. Controlling our urban runoff is our job to do, and farmers look to cities to control pollution, as they are under increasing scrutiny to control theirs. We can seek opportunities to minimize, slow, and clean our runoff, and can require effective actions through our land use ordinances. Look for more on these actions by checking the Cannon River Watershed Partnership’s webpage

    July 20, 2007
  3. Unfortunately, we have a lot of educating to do. It is my claim that it is much easier to educate newcomers if we start them off with good riparian buffers that are clearly marked “Do not spray, mow or fertilize past this line.” than to go in after the fact and convert an existing homeowner. Much easier to do the educating up front as a fait accompli than to do it after they are settled in. Small ornamental concrete markers would be nice, if I could just figure out how to require them to be put in by the developer as part of the CUP/PUD for development near wetlands, creeks and rivers. Last time I mentioned such (for bluff protection) I was greeted with looks that can only be translated as “Yeah, right.” Maybe next time it will be a little bit better.

    July 20, 2007

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