SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES

Stormdrain Clean-up 

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Do you have a community group, club, or friends looking for community service? Our stormdrain clean-up kit is a great way to volunteer outdoors and protect our water. Spring and Fall are the best times to conduct a group clean-up, due to more street debris in these seasons. VLAWMO provides all of the tools needed for a successful project. 

Stormdrain Clean-up Documents

See the materials below to get started. Contact VLAWMO to schedule a kit rental.

Storm drain stencil instructions

Inventory and tracking sheet 

Stormdrain map - Example 

Visit the White Bear Township yard waste site for debris disposal

Adopt-a-Raingarden

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Adopt-a-Raingarden Program Details

Our goal is to maintain great looking, functional raingardens in the watershed. Our many raingardens capture and treat thousands of gallons of stormwater each year, but they can't do it on their own. Regular maintenance keeps them ship-shape and easier to maintain in the long run.

Join a team of active volunteers by getting to know one or more raingardens near you. Get involved in 3 easy steps:

1. Learn more about the program and how to maintain a raingarden with the Adopt-a-Raingarden Volunteer Guide.

2. Click here to sign-up on a raingarden adoption team.

3. Sign and return this hardcopy or digital volunteer waiver form to VLAWMO: WAV@vlawmo.org -or- return to Vadanis Heights City Hall :800 County Road E East, Vadnais Heights, MN 55127 

Raingarden available for assistance include: 

  • Vadnais Heights Elementary raingarden (join existing team)
  • Vadnais Heights South Fire Department raingarden (join existing team)
  • Lakeaires Elementary raingarden
  • Chippewa Middle School raingarden 
  • Heritage Estates curb-cut raingarden in Vadnais Heights (join existing team) 
  • Heritage Hall raingarden in Gem Lake (join existing team)

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Macroinvertebrate Monitoring

Due to accessibility, macroinvertebrate citizen science efforts are only available at certain locations in the watershed.

Macroinvertebrate Monitoring Program Details

Macroinvertebrate monitoring is a popular method of assessing stream and lake health, identifying biological organisms that live in the water to draw conclusions about water quality. VLAWMO utilizes the tools and methods from the Leaf Pack Network to conduct this monitoring, and records the data according to the collection site on Monitor My Watershed

Monitoring experiments have been successful with public school groups, home school groups, Girl/Boy Scouts, as well as college students. 

Steps to participate: Planned with VLAWMO staff

1. Identify a 3-week period in which to conduct the monitoring experiment. After a Leaf Pack/Rock Pack gets placed, it sits for 2-3 weeks until it is retrieved. Upon retrieval, volunteers sort and record the pack's contents. Monitoring is available whenever open water is present at any of the monitoring sites.

Complete and submit a volunteer waiver for everyone participating. 

2. Identify a location out of the 8 monitoring sites in the VLAWMO watershed. 2 locations in North Oaks are private access for North Oaks residents, or working with North Oaks residents. 1 location requires staff assistance to access. 5 locations are accessible to the public, but several of these require navigating steep slopes. Staff are available to recommend which location is best suitable for your abilities and needs. 

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3. Review completed experiments at various site locations to see what's been recorded in the past, and what you can likely expect to find. Staff can help connect you or your group with existing volunteers to work collaboratively. 

Monitoring Sites: On the left of the page, check "Leaf Pack" and "Vadnais Lake Area WMO." Click an icon identified as VLAWMO monitoring site, and click "view data for this site." On the resulting page, scroll to the bottom and find "Macroinvertebrate data at this site." Click "view" in the submitted experiment rows to view the results and pollution tolerance index scores. 

4. Plan where to conduct the sorting and data collection after a pack is retrieved. Some parks have picnic tables, some areas have enough space to set-up a folding table, and some areas require bringing the pack to another nearby park or home to analyze. 

5. Rent a Leaf Pack/Rock Pack kit from the VLAWMO office for up to 4 weeks. 

6. Record data either online directly using the Monitor My Watershed website, or fill out and submit a data collection form provided by staff. If math and science education are desired for your group, staff can provide calculations for groups to work with their own data and draw their own conclusions according to established research methods in this field of study. 

7. Return the kit and celebrate your accomplishment as a citizen scientist! 

Resources:

To prepare, use the following resources to familiarize yourself or the group/youth you're working with. Contact staff at (651) 204-7060 for questions and to inquire about kit availability. 

  • Leaf Pack Network and Leaf Pack steps: Manuals available for download
  • Macroinvertebrates identification
  • Leaf Pack training video
  • Leaf Pack data form: Use this form to familiarize yourself with the macroinvertebrates that are in focus for the experiment. There are many other species in local streams and lakes that are not listed on this form. If they're not on the form, they can be disregarded or noted in the optional notes section. When species are unclear or confusing in the field, photos should be taken for staff assistance later on. 

Trash Pick-up

VLAWMO targets several trash hot-spots that benefit from community clean-ups each year. Trash-grabbers, bags, safety vests, and custom lanyard badges are available to support citizen clean-up efforts. This activity is best done in early spring and late fall. Contact staff at (651) 204-6070 for more info, location options, volunteer waivers, and scheduling. 

Adopt-a-Drain

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Keeping stormdrains clear of debris is a quick and easy way to take care of our water resources. While many residents report cleaning their storm drain as a routine chore, signing-up and reporting results lets us know the greater impact this effort has across the watershed. Residents or businesses can work solo or with neighbors on a schedule that works for you.

Visit adopt-a-drain.org for more info and to get started!

Community groups can help promote the effort by volunteering to hang Adopt-a-Drain door hangers around their neighborhood. Materials, badges, and safety vests are provided by VLAWMO.