Welcoming Lauren to VLAWMO

VLAWMO is excited to welcome Lauren Sampedro to the team! Lauren joins us as the new Watershed Technician and Program Coordinator. She brings more than 10 years of experience in water resources and stormwater management, including experience at the Rice Creek Watershed District, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, and Freshwater. As Watershed Technician and Program Coordinator her duties will include managing VLAWMO’s cost share programs, forming strategic partnerships, and assisting with water quality monitoring activities.

What brought you to VLAWMO?

In a nutshell, partnerships and programs! I’m excited for the opportunity to assist VLAWMO in supporting the watershed through building relationships with stakeholders and developing interest in best management practices (raingardens, bioswales, etc.). I’m already learning new things and growing my skills in GIS, and am thrilled to learn more about VLAWMO’s unique watershed. It’s great to learn more about landowner’s needs and interests and learn more about the history of the land, and VLAWMO has shown to be a place where I can do just that.

What are you most excited to dive into?

I’m eager to work with the team at VLAWMO and dive into the cost-share programs. I’m starting off with several active partnerships through the Board of Water and Soil Resources’ Watershed-based Implementation Funding and VLAWMO’s Landscape Level 2 Grant programs. I really enjoy helping others develop resilient yards and get excited about improving the health of water.

What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on in the past?

One of my favorite past projects was assisting with Freshwater’s Minnesota Water Stewards program during the first two years when it was a pilot program. It was exciting to watch the program quickly gain momentum in Minnesota communities and become the successful program it is today. I made lasting relationships with program participants and enjoyed seeing the work they are accomplishing across the state. One of the highlights that’s neat to see is the SOS campaign that is paving the way for new legislation on reducing salt use.

It’s tough to choose! One other one was working with the City of White Bear Lake, Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation Division, and White Bear Lake residents to install curb cut raingardens with the City’s street reconstruction efforts. These raingardens have become examples for other landowners and have influenced street reconstruction partnerships with other communities. The City of White Bear Lake and I presented the curb cut raingarden partnership at the Conference on the Environment, which highlighted the story of 11 raingardens from 2018 to 2021.

Do you have a favorite experience or memory that involves water?

Taking walks and bird watching around the many lakes in MN and tubing on the Cannon River.

What’s your favorite place that includes water?

Definitely anywhere on the St. Croix River!

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