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.
See the materials below to get started. Contact VLAWMO to schedule a kit rental.
Storm drain stencil instructions
Visit the White Bear Township yard waste site for debris disposal
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 Vadnais Heights City Hall.
4. Staff will connect for orientation. Once oriented and all paper work is complete, volunteers are encouraged to participate independently or in groups on their own time. Staff do not coordinate volunteer activities as scheduled events but can help recruit from the Watershed Action Volunteers group if volunteers coordinate an event.
Raingardens available for assistance with active teams include:
Due to accessibility, macroinvertebrate citizen science efforts are only available at certain locations in the watershed.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.