A WATERWORKS column by Gordon Prickett
for the 4/2/2014 Aitkin Independent Age
HOW MUCH WATER?
My “Weatherguide” Calendar from the Freshwater Society has a message in its March section that bears repeating here:
How much water do you use? Most of us probably don’t know. According to the EPA, an average American household uses 320 gallons every day. One third of that is used to irrigate the landscape and 50% of that is wasted due to inefficient landscape methods. March is a great time to plan a water-friendly landscape for the coming growing season. When rain falls, why not harvest all the fresh, free water for your gardens and lawns?
One inch of rain on a 1000 square foot rooftop can yield 600 gallons of water. Incorporate more native plants into your landscape. They are drought tolerant and require less maintenance. Keep the water on your land by adding a rain garden this year. There is more to learn at freshwater.org.
STATE OF WATER CONFERENCE
Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake near Brainerd is the location for a conference on Thursday and Friday, May 1-2, 2014. Sponsors are Conservation Minnesota, Freshwater Society, University of Minnesota Extension, MPCA, and DNR. This is a revival of the biennial state-wide conferences that formerly were put on by the Minnesota Lakes Association, that became Minnesota Waters, before its closure.
Two full days, starting with breakfasts, will feature workshops, breakout sessions, exhibits, and major speakers on issues of clean water, aquatic habitat and invasive species, watersheds, groundwater, and shore restoration. Details of the programs, cost, and registration can be found on this website: conservationminnesota.org/state-of-water-conference and at 612-767-2444.
OIL PIPELINE REGULATION
As introduced in last month’s column and reported on the front page in the March 19th Independent Age, the Enbridge Sandpiper Pipeline Project was explained before a packed hall in McGregor for four hours on March 13th. Public comments and routing alternatives will continue to be received by the state commerce department until April 4th. Then a year’s worth of government actions and public hearings are planned, with a final decision from the Public Utilities Commission expected about March 23, 2015. If approvals are received, Enbridge estimates that construction might begin in late 2014 or early 2015. The Sandpiper Pipeline could then be operational in 2016. Crude oil from the Bakken field in North Dakota would flow across 42 miles in Aitkin County on its way to a Superior, Wisconsin, refinery, Enbridge’s tank farm, and other connecting pipelines.