The land area draining to West Moore Lake is a blend of residential and commercial use as well as some parkland. In fact, almost 70% of the watershed is impervious to water including homes, schools, businesses, roads and parking lots to name a few. This means that during rain events water washes over our city streets, carrying many pollutants with it, directly into West Moore Lake. Years of research have shown that West Moore Lake is just barely meeting state water quality standards. The goal of this project was to improve water quality and enhance residents’ recreation experiences in the future.
With support from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Clean Water Partnership, the Rice Creek Watershed District (RCWD) spearheaded the installation and planting of three large raingardens along West Moore Lake Drive in partnership with the City of Fridley and Fridley Middle School. Raingardens are composed of native plants that are strategically located to catch, absorb and filter excess rainwater. In fact, most raingardens are so efficient at absorbing water that they are dry within 24 hours of a rain event. Raingardens not only provide beautiful landscaping and habitat for wildlife, but they also reduce flooding and prevent eroded soil and pollutants from entering our waterways.
Over the past year, the raingardens located at Fridley Middle School and West Moore Lake Park have been instrumental in reducing phosphorus and sediment loading into West Moore Lake while reducing flooding on West Moore Lake Road. Phosphorus and sediment reduction are important for improving water clarity and dissolved oxygen levels to support fish and other aquatic life. RCWD staff will continue to analyze the health of West Moore Lake as well as the effectiveness of this project through regular water quality testing into the foreseeable future.
The final step in this project will be co-creating an education station with Fridley Middle School to teach students about raingardens in the spring of 2013.
If you are interested in learning more about raingardens, please visit the Blue Thumb website at www.bluethumb.org. Additionally, the RCWD operates a cost-share program offering technical support and possibly funding for your own project. To learn more: please visit www.ricecreek.org/grants.