In the City Conservation Ideas

Urban areas present a wide range of water pollution problems as a result of impervious surfaces (buildings, roads, parking lots, sidewalks, etc.), construction sites, the use of fertilizers and chemicals to maintain grass, pet and wildlife waste, and many other sources.  There are many things that you can do whether it is installing a rain garden or rain barrel, conducting a Clean Up for Water Quality, or making sure you properly disposal of unused medication.

Here are 10 conservation ideas how you can make a difference when it comes to improving water quality in the Minnesota River Basin.  Each of us shares a responsibility to treat the natural environment including our rivers, lakes and wetlands with respect.  We want to make sure future generations can enjoy what we have been privileged with. 

Organize a Community Clean-Up for Water Quality
Friends of the Minnesota Valley sponsors this program to help communities keep nutrients, sediment and other litter from flowing into rivers, lakes, wetlands and other waterbodies. 

Plant a Rain Garden
Organizations, cities and individuals can make an impact on water quality as simply as planting a rain garden next to the street or house to filter out sediment and nutrients before water runoff reaches a river or lake.

Put in a Rain Barrel
This is a perfect way to control the amount of water running off from your home and also maintain a water supply for your garden and other plants.  Plus they can be a nice way to decorate your house.

Stabilize your Shoreline
If you live next to stream or lake think about planting native grasses, flowers and trees along the bank instead of mowing right to the water’s edge.  This will help stabilize the shoreline and provide wildlife habitat.

Institute a Storm water Stencil Project
Join a group of citizens or children or youth group to apply stencils to storm water drains as a way to remind people that these flow directly to a river, lake or other water body.

Install Barley Straw
One of the latest measures to reduce nutrients in a river or lake is through the use of barley straw bales.  By placing these bales at a location where water flows into a river or lake helps reduce excessive phosphorus and potential algae blooms.

Join a Conservation or Environmental Organization
Learn what is going on in your local area when it comes to water quality issues and volunteer for projects that help improve and protect rivers, lakes and other waterbodies.

River Cleanups
Here is a fun way to get out on the river and help improve water quality at the same time.  The MN DNR and local government agencies can help organize these cleanups and provide logistic assistance.

Attend Local Government Meeting
Find out what your city or county or Soil and Water Conservation District is doing when it comes to water quality issues.  Most projects start at the local level and our government leaders need to know people care about the rivers and lakes.

Buy Locally
Support your local farmers and businesses by buying produce and other items produced in the area.  This is a great way to create a healthy lifestyle and help rejuvenate our communities.

Send us ideas for other Urban Conservation Practices to share with others in the Minnesota River Basin and beyond. Email: