Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Demo rain/native plant gardens right here

Here at the wastewater treatment plant there are 6 small native plant/rain gardens on site.  Most were planted back in 2004.  The species diversity has changed a bit over the years but the gardens have been good at taking in water and being a great place for native insects.  What is nice about native gardens is there are different flowers blooming throughout the season.  The cup plants are starting to flower now.  The plant stands about 4-5 feet tall and the leaves grow around the stem and hold water, like a cup.  The yellow petals are aglow above the gardens.  It's great to see the mix of plants in the relatively small areas - ferns are in one of the gardens and a few shrubs.  I'll admit I don't know every plant but I'm learning. 
A task over the last couple weeks has been to take out some plants that have expanded a bit too much within the gardens and some that made it to the gardens on their own, like tansy.  As I remove some plants I see some plants hiding within.  Gardens are wonderful places and there is so much to learn about native plants.  Paul Hlina, with Leaning Pine Native Plants, is a great resource for native plants.  He is knowledgeable and also grows native plants.  He knows which species grow in wetter conditions. 

Here are a couple other plant resources.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service plants.usda.gov

The North Woods Native Plant Society has field trips throughout the summer in Northern WI and Upper Michigan. northwoodsnativeplantsociety.org

I noticed the Wisconsin Wetlands Association out of Madison came up to the shore of Lake Superior for a field trip in June to explore a state natural area.  Wisconsin has 655 natural areas (SNA) through the WI DNR and 19 are in Douglas County.   The city owns Dwight's Point and Pokegma Wetlands.
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/naturalareas/documents/bookmaps/dwights_point.pdf  Nearby Superior is Pokegama Carnegie Wetlands.  http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/naturalareas/index.asp?SNA=516

Every day I go out to work in the gardens.  We'll be planting some new plants later in August and could use a hand.  Contact us if you are interested in helping.  Every day when I'm out by the gardens I inevitably see a ground squirrel zip along in the area.  Native plant areas - whether created by humans - or those left natural are havens for wildlife.  Wetlands are key breeding areas for amphibians and other life.  I know the rain gardens and native plants in a yard are good for slowing down runoff after a storm but I especially treasure the bringing back a bit of food resources and habitat for our wild neighbors.

Posted by Wendy

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Learn to build a rain garden!

Two part workshops are being held in Duluth tonight and tomorrow night and August 7-8.  They're perfect for homeowners, gardeners, landscape professionals, and anyone who wants to grow a garden that will prevent stormwater pollution and look great!  Register online with Minnesota Sea Grant

Monday, July 22, 2013

More drains marked with a message

Thanks to about 50 YMCA day campers and several public area residents for helping mark over 75 drains on Thursday.  The message of Do Not Dump, Drains to Stream is out there for more to see.  With only stormwater going down the drain then our streams and Lake Superior are kept cleaner.   You'll see these marking around Central Park.  We all make a difference.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Don't forget....Lake Superior Day is Sunday!

Some of us in the Northland may take that great big beautiful lake for granted since we see it and use it everyday.  This Sunday is the time to show Lake Superior some appreciation (well deserved after the crazy heat we've been having).  Join us at Barkers Island from 11:30-4 PM for the Lake Superior Day celebration! Check out the schedule of events below:

  • LSNERR Interpretive Trailer
  • LSNERR Rain Garden Information
  • Education Tent
  • Local Art Vendors
  • Arts and Crafts/Children's Activities
  • Postcards from the Estuary Exhibit @ SS Meteor
  • 1/2 Price SS Meteor Tours
12:15-1:00 PM
  • Tales of Laughing Fox (Native American flutist)
1:00-1:15 PM
  • Binational Forum Awards
1:15-1:30 PM
  • Blessing of the Fleet (multi-denominational blessing of boats)
1:30-3:00 PM
  • UW Superior Adventures Canoe Experience
  • Ask a Scientist Booth
  • Photo Booth
1:30-2:15 PM
  • St. Louis River Rats (Dixie music)
2:15-2:30 PM
  • River Quest Poetry and Essay Reading
2:30-3:15 PM
  • Sonja and the Reckoning
3:15-4 PM
  • Tin Can Gin (bluegrass music)

We'll see you there!
-Written by Jillian Edwards

Friday, July 12, 2013

Public Participation : Time to Learn, Opportunity to Help

Announcing Two Events in Superior (July 18 and 19)– a tour to learn about the treatment of wastewaster and a volunteer opportunity to help keep Lake Superior clean.

The City of Superior would appreciate if members of the public would  participate in stenciling storm drains in Superior on Thursday, July 18 at 2 PM.  Environmental Services Division will provide all the supplies needed to mark the drains with the message “Do Not Dump  - Drains to Stream. “   The important message beside a storm drain reminds people that a stream and ultimately Lake Superior is at the other end of the drain and that whatever goes down the drain (in most cases in Superior) does NOT go to the treatment plant. We would like to mark 100 more drains this summer and early fall.    Storm drain stenciling can only be done during dry weather. By having only rain and snow melt enter storm drains our local streams and Lake Superior are kept in good water quality.  Meet at Central Park, East Pavilion near 6th Ave. E. (1.5 hours) Please RSVP.

On Friday  July 19 you can come for an educational tour of the  Superior Wastewater Treatment Plant Tours  at 4:00 PM. (about 45 minute).  It is located 51 E. 1st St., one block toward the bay from the Superior Animal Hospital.  Learn about how wastewater is treated in our community.  Water from your sinks and showers, toilets, washing machines, and dishwashers comes here, goes through a treatment process, and then is released in Lake Superior.  The tour is outdoors.   Please RSVP. 

Both of these events are during the week prior to Lake Superior Day which will be celebrated on Sunday, July 21 at Barkers Island from 11:30 AM-4PM.

Please RSVP : 715-304-0392 ext. 1041 or email grethenw@ci.superior.wi.us if you plan to attend either the public tour or public storm drain stenciling sessions.   Participants age 9 and older are welcome. 

Posted by Wendy

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Celebrate the greatest lake with Lake Superior Day activities!

Each year, communities around the Lake Superior basin celebrate the lake that gives life to our region on the 3rd Sunday of July.  Learn about Lake Superior and its day below.  For more information on Lake Superior Day events, visit the Lake Superior Binational Forum's website.

Written by Jillian Edwards

Let's talk about water!

Things have been pretty busy over here at ESD the last few weeks.  We have a lot going on, but we're gearing up to start doing some more education events again. Check out the list below to see where you can find us.  Stop by and say hi!

Saturday, July 13 8-12: Barkers Island Farmer's Market (learn more here)

Wednesday, July 17 5-8 PM: Fairlawn Ice Cream Social (details here)

Sunday, July 21 11:30-4: Lake Superior Day Celebration at Barkers Island! Celebrate the greatest lake with music, crafts for kids, artwork, and other family friendly activities.  Check it out here.

Tuesday, July 24 2-3 PM: Superior Public Library Summer Series Event. I will be leading an activity to teach kids at the library about the water cycle. They'll also make some crafts to take home so they can remember the water cycle long after!

As always, you can find out what's happening by checking our calendar or visiting our What's Going On? webpage.

Written by Jillian Schubert Edwards