Conserve and Preserve Blog
Exploring ways we can conserve and preserve Rosemount.
April 22, 2019
Hi Rosemount! This week is one of my favorite weeks of the year.
Earth Week! And Rosemount is busy celebrating! Check out this list of eco-celebrations and events below. Join in, or be inspired and start your own!
On Monday, April 22, come hear Stacy Boots Camp from the Center of Energy and Environment speak at the Steeple Center at 6 pm. She will be providing energy saving tips to cut your bills and address problems like ice dams and wet basements. There will be free snacks and a chance to win a $600 Home Energy Squad visit.
Rosemount City staff is cleaning up the streets and parks around city hall on Thursday, April 25, at 10:30 a.m. Go staff!
On Friday, April 26, 260 students, led by two awesome RHS science teachers and Great River Greening will be working on removing buckthorn from Carroll’s Woods.
And on Saturday, April 27, there is a large Great River Greening forest restoration event, also at Carroll’s Woods! Rosemount really showed up for this event, and it is at capacity for volunteers, but feel free to come by with a wave and show of support for all the awesome volunteers that day. Event starts at 8:30 a.m. and runs to 12:30 p.m.
On a county level, Dakota County is happy to announce a new organics collection site that is FREE for Rosemount residents and close by! Check out this link for more information.
Regionally, the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority is hosting a commuter challenge! They are challenging you to ditch your car and take advantage of all the money-saving and health-benefiting options the whole week. You can win a VIP package for 4 to Canterbury Park, among other prizes. Get on Board at https://www.mvta.com/commuterchallenge.
Really proud of Rosemount this week! What else can we get up to?
-Jes Braun, MN GreenCorps member serving in Rosemount
April 17, 2019
Hi Rosemount, let’s talk about BUGS!
Recognize these little guys?
They are so handsome, right? Why is it that the cutest things can be THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE.
And some are not so handsome.
These critters are Emerald Ash Borer, Japanese Beetle, and Earthworms!
Did you know that Earthworms are NOT native to Minnesota? Like most invasive species, they were brought over from other continents, specifically Europe in this case. Their harm comes from destroying forest floor plants by eating decaying leaves. These leaves previously helped create a nutrient rich and spongy layer of material that gave away to lush ferns and wildflowers. Without this layer, these plants can’t grow, leaving almost bare grounds. In areas that are heavily infested, the lack of understory plants increases soil erosion and leaching of nutrients into waterways which can degrade fish habitat.
What can you do to help?
If you are using worms to fish, don’t dump your unused worms on the ground! If you use them in your compost, that’s great! But keep them contained or dispose of them in a waste receptacle. And tell all your friends, helping to spread the word on this wiggly problem.
Now let’s talk about the two beauty beetles above. The Emerald Ash Borer, as you can probably tell by its name, loves to attack just one plant: the Ash tree. This shiny green beetle hails from North East Asia. Now, out of its native range, it is responsible for killing, at a minimum, tens of millions of trees and threatens to kill most of the 8.7 billion Ash trees throughout North America. Guess which state has the highest volume of Ash trees? Yup, Minnesota. We have almost a billion forestland and urban Ash trees in our home state.
How can we stop this?
Don’t move your firewood! If you are camping or cabining, purchase locally sourced wood to prevent the spread of the bug. Know your tree is infested? Depending on if it’s caught early or late, you can either inject the tree with insecticide (if the tree is still healthy), or remove the tree before the bug causes the tree to die out, dry out, and become hazardous to property and people when they fall. A lot of cities have taken a proactive approach and are removing ash trees to systematically stop the spread of the pest. More information on EAB can be found on this great website from the MN Department of Agriculture Opens a New Window. . The City has more information on how they are treating EAB on their website here. Reach out to a tree care professional for guidance regarding your specific situation. This beetle is vastly more complicated than I am giving it credit for! But we can slow its destructive path.
The Japanese Beetle is not as picky of an eater as the Emerald Ash Borer. The adults of this species feed on the foliage and fruits of over 300 types of trees, shrubs, vines, and field and vegetable crops. The adults eat the leaves of the plants, leaving large holes that make the leaves look skeletal. The grubs develop in the soil and feed on the roots of the plants.
How can we stop them?
Keep a lookout for these beetles. Take care not to move the adults or larvae from site to site in soil or on vegetation. Most grubs are transported through nursery stock and grass sod. Adults can fly considerable distances which makes controlling them difficult. Check out this UMN Extension website Opens a New Window. for more help identifying, and controlling, Japanese Beetles.
These are not the only invasive bugs threatening our state. The gypsy moth is another bad culprit. Asian Long-Horned Beetles are headed this way from the east coast. And outside of bugs we have invasive aquatic species like zebra mussels, sea lampreys, and common carp that are already harming MN. All invasive species were brought in by humans moving goods around. Don’t move firewood far from where you cut it, check your boat for aquatic hitchhikers, and don’t import plants or wood from other states and countries without checking to see how they handle invasives! Education, communication, and action are the only way we are going to stop these, and other pests, from changing MN for good. Let’s squash these bugs, Rosemount.
-Jes Braun, MN GreenCorps member serving in Rosemount
April 9, 2019
Calling all Rosemount artists!
Did you know that Rosemount sits on an underground water highway? When rain falls on roadways, sidewalks, and parking lots, it runs off into the nearest storm drain. It’s a common misconception that stormwater from these drains are piped to a treatment plant. This is NOT the case! These storm sewer highways travel to our local ponds, lakes, and rivers.
Cities are designed this way to prevent flooding. But one of the problems with this system is it’s not just rain that flows into these drains. Trash, soil, road salt, fertilizer, and other pollutants are picked up by this stormwater and carried through our storm drain highway and into our waterbodies. Rosemount is part of the Vermillion River Watershed. The Vermillion River is one of the smaller tributaries that flow into the Mississippi River. It is home to the last remaining world-class trophy trout fishery in a metropolitan area in the United States. However, the Vermillion River is part of the State of Minnesota’s impaired waters list. This means that it has failed to meet one or more water quality standards. Pollution from failing septic systems, stormwater runoff, and agricultural pesticides and fertilizer are threatening the health of this river.
Most people walk right past a storm drain and don’t connect our drains with our waterways.
But what if that drain was painted with a beautiful mural that could help make that connection? What if we could use art to get residents thinking about what they can do to keep our water clean? Because Minnesota’s Clean Water Starts Here!
The City of Rosemount would like to do just that! We are accepting submissions of original art (painting or drawing) to be turned into a stormwater mural! This contest is open to all Rosemount residents, in all age ranges! Deadline for art is June 15th. Have a question about what kind of art qualifies or need additional guidelines? Shoot me an email! Opens a New Window.
-Jes Braun, MN GreenCorps member serving in Rosemount
April 2, 2019
Does your home garbage can spill over with food scraps?
Do you find yourself wanting to do a bit more to reduce your ‘footprint’?
If you answered yes to either of these questions than there might be a simple solution for you: Composting!
Composting is a very easy, adaptable, and effective way to create less garbage. There are a litany of benefits to composting! Here are a few:
- When food scraps decompose in a typical landfill, they create methane, which is a greenhouse gas 30 times stronger than carbon dioxide.
- Less trash in your waste bin can reduce the amount your trash hauler takes away from your house. Less trash means smaller bins and less in fees (more money for you!).
- Composting at home helps you create nutrient rich soil for your garden and lawn, for free!
- Composting through a facility means you can compost more than your backyard system can handle! Like meat, bones, paper plates, and dairy products (aka the waste left over after a great bbq).
Composting can be anywhere on the scale from tabletop compost collection bins, to under the sink vermiculture (worm) containers, to backyard 3 bin compost systems, to industrial size operations. More variety means you can find what fits you and your families need.
Don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips that might work for you!
A lot of people worry that composting in their backyard will be a messy, unattractive, and critter attracting event. You might get the occasional visit from a field mouse, but backyard composting can be really sharp looking and smell free, and a great topic of conversation at your next lawn party!
There are a few keys to making backyard composting smooth sailing:
You want a 2 to 1 ratio of ‘brown’ to ‘green’. Brown is from your yard waste: leaves, small twigs, etc. Green is from your kitchen: fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds (and if your lawn mower collects its grass clippings, you can include those in green as well!). The brown materials contribute carbon to the compost and the green materials contribute nitrogen. Two handfuls of brown, or carbon, added to the pile should be balanced with 1 handful of green, or nitrogen. That’s it! Easy right?
Now that you have the right ingredients, this is how you ‘cook’ the compost: Just add air and water!
Air: Encouraging air flow helps the microbes break down the compost. (turn the compost pile from time to time).
Water: You should periodically wet down the compost to encourage decomposition.
You can buy a round tumbler to churn the soil, like this one here:
or you can buy a three-bin system to transfer the soil as it settles in different stages.
This can be visualized more as a conveyor belt system. You get three identical bins and set them side by side. You want them to be able to let air in, so chicken wire or closely set boards work well. There are lots of different options out there for the construction. You start with bin one and put all your greens and browns in the bin (remember that 2 to 1 ratio as you toss things in! A friend of mine keeps a pile of leaves and hay next to their bins to add in when they dump out their kitchen scraps.). All the new material gets added to bin one only. When that bin fills to the top, move it to the next one, or bin number two. This will help add in more air and turn the compost as you transfer it. Keep adding new material to bin number one and when it is full again, move everything from bin two, to bin three. The full bin one gets dumped in the now empty bin two, and bin one is open for new business, I mean material, again. Bin number three’s compost should be fully broken down and ready to use!
This process is speedier than you might think. Some composting systems can have fresh, nutrient rich compost for you to use in as little as 3 weeks. You can use it in your house plants, veggie garden, flower patches, or even give bags of it to friends and family. You made that! Good job!
Commercial composting is handy for those on the go, or for families who want to compost more of their kitchen scraps, as the commercial composting systems can handle meat and dairy products. Plus you don’t have to worry about that carbon to nitrogen ratio! Rosemount is super lucky to have a large compost facility nearby. I live in Minneapolis and we have a residential curbside compost program (right now about 37% of the city participates in the program, the largest in the nation). But guess where all that compost ends up? Near Rosemount! It’s processed at the Mulch Store. They accept residential drop-offs for a very small fee (contact the Mulch Store for more info). So you can bag up all your food scraps in a compostable bag, tie it up, and drop it off! Easy as pie.
Want to have your compost picked up curbside? At this time, the waste haulers that service Rosemount don’t offer residential curb-side compost pickup. A few do offer it for business or schools! Call your friendly local waste hauler for more information.
Want to compost but still don’t know where to start? Shoot me an email, I’d love to help you find the best solution for your needs!
-Jes Braun, MN GreenCorps member serving in Rosemount [email Opens a New Window. ]