Great River Greening
Keeping Our Rivers Clean Takes a Community of Good Stewards
Great River Greening (GRG) leads and inspires community-based restoration of our prairies, forests, and waters. Their restoration efforts help preserve natural areas, protect clean air and water, and increase urban residents’ access to natural areas and sustainable open space. Within McKnight’s strategy to reduce agricultural pollution and runoff along the northern half of the Mississippi River, GRG received operational support for its work to reduce agricultural pollution and restore wetlands in five subwatersheds in Minnesota.
McKnight’s support for Great River Greening has been critical in completing a three-year program of Best Management Practices to safeguard the waters of the St. Croix River in Washington and Chisago Counties. Great River Greening has implemented 12 Best Management Practices projects on public land and nine on private land to reduce phosphorus input into the St. Croix River. One of these projects was the Water Tower Park project in Chisago City. Great River Greening staff and volunteers helped build a three-compartment rain garden near a new parking lot and playground. Since major pollutants are picked up in the first inch of rainfall, the rain garden was constructed to retain enough water for the 5,000 square foot area. Any additional rainfall is then routed through the three-compartment system to a vegetated overflow, which slows the water down before entering the neighboring stream.
Since they started in 1995, Great River Greening has engaged over 25,000 volunteers in projects on both public and private land that conserves critical land habitat and affects water quality. By mobilizing and educating citizens to restore woodlands, prairies, and other natural resources in their communities, Great River Greening is building a community of individuals who will act as good stewards of these natural areas.