Column: Brown’s Creek Watershed District 20th anniversary celebration fall open yards event are this month

Karen and Paul Richtman, of Stillwater, will host the Brown’s Creek Watershed District’s final “open yards” event of the year Wednesday Sept. 20. (Photo by Angie Hong)

The Brown’s Creek Watershed District is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year with a number of public events and activities

On Saturday, Sept. 16, the watershed district will have a celebration at Brown’s Creek Park in Stillwater from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Later in the week, on Wednesday, Sept. 20, the district will have its final “Open Yards” event of the year from 6-7:30 p.m. at 2854 Nightingale Court in Stillwater.

The Brown’s Creek Watershed District (BCWD) is a special-purpose, local unit of government established in 1997 to prevent flooding and protect lakes and streams throughout the Brown’s Creek watershed. The district covers 30 square miles of land, including portions of Grant, Hugo, Lake Elmo, May Township, Oak Park Heights, Stillwater and Stillwater Township.

In addition to completing dozens of flood-prevention and water-improvement projects over the years, BCWD implements rules to guide new development within the district. A new 10-year plan, effective 2017-2026, outlines several additional goals, including continuing efforts to restore Brown’s Creek and local lakes, improving the recreational value of water resources in the district, and studying the ways that climate change might impact lakes, streams and stormwater infrastructure.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, Brown’s Creek Watershed District will hold an outdoor celebration at Brown’s Creek Park, near the Coldwater stop on the Brown’s Creek State Trail (8312 Neal Ave. N.) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The celebration will include a number of family-friendly activities, including free ice cream, fish-themed arts and crafts, games and prizes, face-painting, live turtles and snakes, live aquatic critters from Brown’s Creek, information about current stream-improvement projects, and information about beekeeping, landscaping for clean water, and watershed cost-share grants. The event is free and open to the public, no RSVP required.

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, district residents Karen and Paul Richtman will host a garden tour at their home on 2854 Nightingale Court in Stillwater. The Richtmans serve on the Brown’s Creek Watershed District’s Citizen Advisory Committee and have worked hard to create pollinator and water-friendly landscaping on their property.

Their suburban lot includes rain gardens, butterfly gardens, a native shoreline planting along Brewer’s Pond, and a large fruit and vegetable garden. During the program, participants will have the opportunity to tour the yard and gardens and learn about cost-share grants and other programs available to residents of the Brown’s Creek watershed.

The event at the Richtmans’ is scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. and will be the final in the BCWD’s 2017 Open Yard series. RSVP is requested at tinyurl.com/BCWDOpenYards.

To learn more about the Brown’s Creek Watershed District, visit bcwd.org.

Angie Hong is an educator for East Metro Water, mnwcd.org/emwrep. Contact her at 651-330-8220 ext. 35 or [email protected]