Conserve and Preserve Blog

Exploring ways we can conserve and preserve Rosemount.

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July 21, 2021: Come See Us at Leprechaun Days Midsummer Faire

Leprechaun Days is back!  We are so happy to gather with all of you for Rosemount’s annual summer festival once again.   We hope you stop by the City’s two booths at the Midsummer Faire to chat with and get your questions answered by City Council Members, Commission Members, and Staff.  One of the City booths will feature information on green programs and tips for residents and will include information on the following:

  • Recycling tipsMidsummer Faire Drawing
  • Information on organics drop-off sites
  • Green rebates and assistance programs
  • Adopt-a-Drain.org information
  • Information on planting for pollinators & native plants
  • Tips for reducing your carbon footprint
  • Free Milkweed seed packets while supplies last
  • Hourly drawings for countertop composting bins and reusable silicone straw sets for residents who sign up for one of these green programs:
    1. Conserve and Preserve Blog notifications
    2. Adopt-a-Drain
    3. Organics Site Drop Off
    4. An Energy Audit with your utility provider (requires a small fee)

We can’t wait to see you Friday and Saturday.  

-Jane Byron is the Storm Water Specialist for the City of Rosemount


June 23, 2021: Fireworks Etiquette

After a year of social distancing, we are finally getting the chance to gather with family and friends.  With summer and the 4th of July, many of us will include fireworks with our celebrations and gatherings.  Follow these tips to keep your bash from becoming a bummer for your neighbors:

  • Pick up after yourself when you’re done.  Fireworks leave behind lots of trash.  Trash left on roadways, sidewalks, and driveways can wash into stormdrains and then into your favorite neighborhood pond.  It can also be eaten by wildlife and pets, leading to choking or serious illness.
  • Dispose of “duds” properly.  Used and unused fireworks are a fire hazard in the trash.  Your used fireworks may potentially still be burning.  For spent fireworks or duds, thoroughly soak/submerge them overnight in water and double bag so they don’t dry out before you put them in the trash.  Dakota County recommends disposing of unused fireworks at The Recycling Zone located at 3365 Dodd Rd.  
  • Noises, like loud bangs, and bright flashing lights are a problems for wildlife, pets, and people with PTSD.  Fireworks can trigger those with PTSD.  Animals can be startled and flee, leading to lost pets that could find themselves injured.  As someone with horses on their property, I can tell you 1000 pounds of startled horse charging at you can put a downer on your day.  Try to plan events so that they are not too early in the day or too late at night.  Consider informing your neighbors of your plans.  This gives them time to plan for safely enclosing pets and can help those with PTSD prepare.  Please know that any fireworks that fly or explode are illegal in Minnesota, and it is illegal to use them on public property, including roads, per the State Fire Marshal.  
  • Be fire safe.  Don’t point fireworks at people or animals.  Don’t let children play with fireworks; nearly 45% of all fireworks injuries happen to children.  Don’t light fireworks indoors or near buildings; keep them in open areas away from brush and dry grasses.  The risk for unintended grass fires is higher this year with the hot dry weather we’ve been having. Keep a bucked of water nearby to extinguish fireworks.  Consider having other fire extinguishing materials nearby for emergencies.    

It’s great to finally be able to celebrate; let’s celebrate safely with less trash and noise pollution.  We hope you enjoy a fun summer of reconnecting with family and friends.  

-Katherine Koch-Laveen is a Commissioner on the Rosemount Environment and Sustainability Commission


May 13, 2021: Are You Watering Your Lawn Too Much?

Spring is here!  We’re exchanging our snow blowers for mowers, and as we start to get our gardens in, some of us might be starting up our irrigation systems.  But are you watering too much?  You could conserve water, save money, and still have a healthy green lawn with a few tweaks to your system.  

First, give your system an audit.  Run your system to look for broken heads, leaking lines, and nozzles that are spraying onto driveways and sidewalks.  Fix anything that is broken and readjust spray heads to save on gallons.

Second, we need to know how much water we need.  Lawns need about an inch of water from all sources per week (amount of rain + amount of watering = about 1” for a green lawn).  So, if you get a half an inch of rain on Monday, you only need to water another half inch later in the week.  If you get 1.25” of rain on Monday, you can skip watering that week.   Looking back at rainfall records from 2020 (see CoCoRaHS data) for the watering season (4/26-10/31) there were 10 weeks where the City received roughly 1” or more of rain for a calendar week.  If you ran your irrigation system every week in 2020, you overwatered.

Next, we need to figure out how much rain we’ve had so that we don’t overwater.  Of course, you can always put out your own rain gauge and keep track as you go; make sure it is well placed (not under trees or overhangs, not getting overflow water from the roof, etc.).  And there are lots of places to get daily weather observations,  If you are relying on a rain sensor connected to your irrigation system, make sure it is maintained.  Many rely on cork disks in the sensors that tend to dry out and crack; they generally need replacement every 3-5 years to remain functional.  

Now, you need to know how long to run your system to apply the desired amount of water.  If you don’t have a smart irrigation controller with appropriate sensors that will shut off your system when enough water is applied, you will have to do a catch can test to determine how long you can run your irrigation system to apply the correct amount of water.  Follow the link to learn how to do a catch can test.

So, maybe you’re thinking, but what about watering restrictions?  The City of Rosemount has watering restrictions in place May 1 through August 31 in order to help conserve the drinking water supply.  No watering can occur between noon and 6:00 PM May 1 through August 31.  Additionally, even numbered houses can only water on even numbered days and odd numbered houses can only water on odd numbered days.  Don’t be worried if you accidentally miss your day to water.  The University of Minnesota Turfgrass Science group has done experiments where they have cut all water off to turf (rain and irrigation) for as much as 60 days (yes, that’s not a typo, that’s 60) and it has recovered afterward (see the Watering Wisdom Webinar series).  Your lawn will not be harmed if it has to wait an extra couple of days to be watered.  This is also a good reason to not feel pressured to irrigate at all.  It is very rare for water to be so scarce in the Twin Cities that your lawn can’t bounce back from dormancy (when it turns a little brown) in the summer.

Don’t believe that you can save money?  Let’s go back to the year 2020 and those 10 weeks where we had enough rain to skip irrigating for the week.  If we take a typical lawn size of 9000 square feet, it takes roughly 5600 gallons to apply one inch of water over the entire area.  Over 10 weeks, that 56,000 gallons of wasted water (and that’s if you only irrigate an inch of water).  In Rosemount, we bill quarterly, so let’s split that volume over 2 quarters.  At 28,000 gallons, you’ve already bumped yourself up to the third billing tier.  At $2.41 per 1000 gallons of water, you’ve just wasted $135.  If you are at the fourth tier for usage, you’ve just spent $203 that you didn’t need to.  

But wait, there’s more!   We can help you implement these changes.   The City of Rosemount offers a rebate program for certain water efficiency upgrades (sorry, new construction homes do not qualify).  You can get a rebate for purchase or installation of a WaterSense Smart Irrigation Controller or for paying a certified individual to do an irrigation audit.  And don't forget to check with your natural gas and electric utility providers for energy efficient appliance rebates.  

We’ve just touched the surface on ways to save water though turfgrass best practices.  For a deeper dive into the subject, we suggest you check out the Watering Wisdom Webinar series by the University of Minnesota.  Proper mowing height, turfgrass species, and more can help you keep your lawn green while saving water. 

-Jane Byron is the Storm Water Specialist for the City of Rosemount

  

April 26, 2021: Starting a Vegetable Garden

Spring seems to ignite in many of us the desire to grow a garden and produce fresh vegetables.    Gardening is also a fun and an educational activity for the entire family.  All you need is Sun, Soil and a Source of water.  Here are a few ideas that can help beginning gardeners gather the resources and the courage to take the first steps in setting up their first garden.  Experienced gardeners may find some helpful hints also.

Select a LOCATION for your garden, raised beds or garden boxes.  The location should get 6 to 8 hours of direct SUN daily.  Start small, perhaps about a 4 ft x 4 ft space so you can enjoy the garden and not feel burdened by maintaining it; a garden of about 10 ft to 12 ft square can provide vegetables for a family of four.  Save space for a trellis for climbing plants and for fencing to protect vegetables from wildlife and pets.  If you don’t have a yard, vegetables can be grown in large pots or containers on a patio or porch.    

SOIL quality is critical to gardening success.  If planning the garden on an area that previously was lawn grass, remove the sod and break up the underlying soil.  Add garden soil and compost to the area before planting; organic compost is available at most nurseries.  Use weed free materials to avoid maintenance headaches later.  Starting a compost bin near the garden can provide compost for the following year.  An inexpensive soil test can let you know if you need to add fertilizer to get started.

The garden location should also allow for easy access to WATER.  Water your vegetable garden in the morning so the plants can utilize the water during the day. Vegetables require about an inch of water a week from rain and watering combined, so appropriate drainage is also needed for the growing site.  Keep an eye on your plants.  If you see signs of wilting, your vegetable garden needs water.     

Select vegetables that your family enjoys.  Sketch out a plan, marking where each type of vegetable will be planted.  Planting taller crops like beans, corn, and peas on the north side of the garden keeps them from shading other crops. Varieties of tomatoes and squash usually go in the middle of the garden. Plant low crops, like lettuce and onions, on the south side of the garden area to ensure adequate sunlight.  Seed catalogues and even the packages of seeds are a great source of information about the spacing and depth of planting each variety of seed.  For faster and more reliable results, consider purchasing plants that have already started growing from the local nursery.  Local garden stores can also point out vegetables known to grow well in the area.  As soon as weeds show up, pull them by hand or remove them with a hoe.  You can inhibit weed growth by placing organic mulch between plants (e.g. grass clippings).  

These are just a few ideas to get started.  You can expand your garden a little each year as you get more confident.  You can find more information on growing vegetables on the University of Minnesota Extension website.  

-Katherine Koch-Laveen is a Commissioner on the Rosemount Environment and Sustainability Commission


March 22, 2021: Can I Recycle This?

Be a confident recycler by focusing on the following items. Do not use plastic bags. Put recyclables loose in your recycling cart or use a paper bag. Make sure bottles, jars and containers are empty and dry before recycling. They don't have to be perfect — just free of most residue like food and liquids. Leave caps on containers and flatten boxes.

All recycling service providers in Dakota County must accept these items: 

Paper
Newspapers & Inserts
Magazines & Catalogs
Mail & Office Papers
Cardboard
Corrugated Cardboard
Paperboard (e.g. Cracker Boxes)
Cartons
Milk & Juice Cartons
Soup, Broth, & Wine Cartons
Juice Boxes
Plastic Bottles, Containers, & Jugs
Containers Numbered 1, 2, or 5
Soda, Juice, & Water Bottles
Milk & Juice Jugs
Margarine & Other Tubs & Lids
Laundry Detergent Bottles & Jugs
Clear Berry & Produce Containers
Metal Cans
Aluminum, Tin, & Steel Cans
Glass Bottles & Jars

If you’re wondering about a specific item, use the online Recycling Guide.

DO NOT put these items in your recycling:

  • Batteries
  • Black plastic
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Electronics
  • Food
  • Diapers
  • Plastic bags and film
  • Shredded paper
  • Tanglers (e.g., chains, extension cords, hoses, string lights)

Free your bottles, cans and paper

Leave the plastic bag behind. Your bottles, cans and paper should go in your recycling cart loose – do not use a plastic bag for your recyclables. If you need a bag, use a paper bag.  Plastic bags ruin the recycling process and don’t get recycled because they cause the following problems:

  • Prevent workers from seeing if bad items are mixed in with good items.
  • Wrap around machines at the sorting facility.
  • Workers must crawl into sorting machi­ne to cut out tangled bags.

Plastic bags, bread bags, plastic wrap around paper towels and bubble wrap can be dropped off at grocery stores for proper recycling. Find drop-off locations in the online Recycling Guide.

-Renee Burman is a Commissioner on the Rosemount Environment and Sustainability Commission


Feb. 22, 2021: Compost in Winter? Yes, you CAN! 

Winter finds many of us hibernating in our homes trying to stay out of the cold. This year, in particular, we are doing that even more. We are probably working from home, doing some distance learning, and maybe even keeping that New Year's resolution to eat healthier. All of this adds up to an increased amount of food scraps in our garbage every day.  

Instead of throwing them into our garbage bins, we should consider composting them. What does this mean? When we compost food scraps, they are broken down into a material that is even better than soil. It is a great food for plants, holds more water than regular soil, and helps us save on fertilizers and weed killers. It also saves on what is headed to our landfills every week.

How do we compost? It's actually pretty easy. First, decide whether you want to do your own composting at home or if you would like to use the county's drop-off locations. The information on how to compost on your own can be found here.  The benefit of this avenue is that you will be able to use the enriched soil you are creating in your own backyard. Can you envision the beautiful flowers and yummy vegetables this summer?

Utilizing the county's drop off locations is also simple. Dakota County residents can sign up to participate in organics drop-off.  Learn about what is accepted at these locations and the best way to gather your compostable items. Once your collection bins/bags are full, take them to any of the locations listed below.

    Dakota County Transportation Shop - 900 County Road 47, Hastings

    Lakeville Water Treatment Facility - 18400 Ipava Ave., Lakeville

    Holland Lake Trailhead at Lebanon Hills Park - 1100 Cliff Road, Eagan

    The Mulch Store - 16454 Blaine Ave. E., Rosemount

    Thompson County Park - 1200 Stassen Road, West Saint Paul

Happy composting!

-Kim Ciresi is a Commissioner on the Rosemount Environment and Sustainability Commission


Jan. 21, 2021: Unplug and $ave

In the middle of winter, as energy bills increase, we can all take a moment to refocus on ways to reduce energy costs. Some methods are tried and true, but a few may be new to you.

Here are some classic energy saving techniques:

    Replace ALL incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. Even the bulb that lights up your garage with the automatic garage door opener can be replaced! The LED bulb in the garage door opener does not get damaged by the vibration of the door opening and closing so it lasts longer than the incandescent bulb which has a fragile filament. The LEDs use a lot less energy to produce the same quality of light.

    Turn lights off as you leave a room. Continue to remind family members to turn off lights where they are not needed, even if the bulbs are LED.  

    Turn off appliances when not in use, including computers.

    Or better yet, unplug those unused appliances and electronics. Every heard the term "Energy Vampire"? Hairdryers, coffee makers, chargers, and all kinds of electronics can drain energy even when they are powered off, if they remain plugged in. Power strips and wall switches can help with cutting off the power to theses pesky energy wasters.  

    As the days get longer, use natural light whenever possible. Many of us close drapes or shades at night to conserve heat energy. Be sure to open them and let sunlight in during the day.

Here are some newer methods to save energy:

    Get a smart thermostat. Even with many of us home during the day, there may be some hours, like bedtime, when the thermostat could be set lower. The smart thermostat will automatically turn the heat up before you get out of bed in the morning. Rebates are available from most energy providers.

    Check your insulation level and add more insulation if needed. Adding insulation costs a bit up front, but the financial returns begin immediately. A good way to check on your insulation needs is to have a Home Energy Audit, provided by your energy company. The audits are done by experienced professionals who can also recommend reliable contractors to complete any insulation work that might be needed. In addition, most energy companies offer significant rebates for insulation upgrades. Inquire with your home energy provider on an Energy Audit and insulation rebates.   

Probably the most significant information about energy savings is the forecast of slightly above normal temperatures for the winter. Good luck in seeking out changes you can make in your house on your quest to save energy.

-Katherine Koch-Laveen is a Commissioner on the Rosemount Environment and Sustainability Commission


Dec. 18, 2020: Trash vs. Treasure - Holiday Edition

“It’s the thought that counts.” We all know someone who seems to embody this phrase. Someone who you love and adore and returns the sentiment. Someone that you know really put a lot of careful thought and effort into that hideous gift you just unwrapped which you are trying to pretend is the absolute most amazing thing you never knew you wanted. I mean, Meryl Streep has nothing on you at this moment. "Yes! I DID always want a hanging planter in the shape of a fish with wind chimes attached, also in the shape of fish, and a half-dead plant hanging on for dear life. (And in case you are wondering, yes, I did receive that gift one year.) So now you are left with a choice to make: what do I do with this thing!?!  

Past surveys have shown that as much as 30% of people receiving an unwanted gift throw it away! Don't be one of those people. Consider these options for your unwanted gift instead:

  • Return or exchange. After all, sometimes it really is a great gift; it’s just not the right color/size/style.
  • Donate. Remember, what is trash to you, may be treasure to someone else.  
  • Re-gift. It is ok to re-gift (see point #2)
  • Sell.  Whole internet empires have been created to help you sell your stuff. Your only challenge is to find the app you like best.

Don’t feel guilty.  That gift will find a good home, as long as that home isn’t the landfill. Happy Holidays!

-Jane Byron is the Storm Water Specialist for the City of Rosemount


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Nov. 16, 2020: Consider a Low-salt Diet this Winter

November is here, and it’s time to come up with a plan of attack on the snow and ice we will be encountering this winter. But before you reach for the salt, we hope you will consider the other tools at your disposal.  

Road/sidewalk salt contains chloride. Chloride has many negative effects; it corrodes our infrastructure and vehicles, kills the grass along roadways where it is applied, and contaminates water runoff that ends up in lakes and ponds where it can be toxic for aquatic life. Surface water samples tested for chloride in Rosemount indicate that road salt is impacting our waterbodies; it takes as little as one teaspoon of salt in five gallons of water for fish, insects, and plants to feel effects. 

The City, on the recommendation of the Rosemount Environmental and Sustainability Commission, has implemented many changes in recent years to reduce its use of road salt, saving money while maintaining safety. We hope you will consider doing the same. Here’s how can you help:  

1.    Shovel, plow or blow snow before it turns to ice. Start early and try to keep up with the storm.

2.    When the pavement temperature is below 15 degrees Fahrenheit it is too cold for most salt to work. Use sand or chicken grit for traction instead.

3.    Use salt only where it is most critical, and use it sparingly. Keep about 3 inches between the grains of salt. A 12 ounce coffee cup can cover 10 sidewalk squares or a 20-foot driveway. More salt does not mean more melting, just more clean up later.  

4.    Sweep up salt, sand or chicken grit when is no longer needed and reuse it.

5.    Give salt time to work. Applying more salt will not make it work faster.

6.    Plan ahead for next year. If you have a problem spot that is continually icy, it may mean that a correction in drainage is called for. Simple fixes, like changing the direction of a roof gutter downspout, may save you time and effort next winter.  

7.    Hire a certified contractor. If you hire someone to clear your driveway, make sure they are certified in Smart Salting. 

-Vanessa Demuth is a Commissioner on the Rosemount Utility Commission 


Oct. 13, 2020: Save Energy, Save $$$ this Winter

As the weather turns cooler this fall, we gratefully open windows and turn off the air conditioning.  Such contentment, enjoying fresh air and saving money and energy. The peace is short lived, however, when we remember that heating our homes through fall and winter costs money, too. We now must strategize the best ways to keep our energy costs low, while keeping our homes comfortably warm.  But never fear, residents and businesses here in Rosemount have employed a variety of cost lowering energy saving plans in the Energy Action Plan, that we can all learn from. Plus, local energy companies promote a variety of energy and money saving practices and programs that we can all utilize. 

For long-term effective energy and cost savings, your best bet is to get a home energy audit and implement the recommended changes.  In a professional home energy audit, a walkthrough (in person or virtual) of your home is performed by a trained individual that sometimes uses special tools to look for potential energy savings.  It is best to sign up for an energy audit through your energy company.  My family and I completed an energy audit last winter. The auditor was very thorough in our inspection and carefully went over the checklist of energy saving improvements we could make, plus the potential cost savings.  When it came time to make improvements, we were able to take advantage of rebates offered by our energy company and find a contractor from a list they had compiled of recommended businesses.  While there was a wait of a few months to get our attic insulated and air sealed, we were pleased with the work.  The contractor took care of the paperwork for the rebate, and we got our check shortly thereafter.

Of course, there are many cost/energy saving practices you can put into place without going through an audit; here are some of the commonly recommended ideas:  

    Keep thermostats at 68o F; or, install a programable thermostat that will turn the heat down during the day while you are away and at night when you are snug in bed.

    Check around windows and doors for leaks/drafts.  Replace broken weather stripping and caulk the cracks between window frames and siding.

    Check the furnace and/or air conditioning ductwork. Seal any leaks and insulate ductwork.  

    Consider hiring a professional for an annual furnace inspection before the heating season begins.

    Check your furnace filter regularly.  For those that have a hard time remembering to change a filter, there are delivery services that will bring new filters to your home on a regular basis.

    Adjust curtains or shades throughout the day to optimize efficiency. Leave them open during the day to let in sunlight and closed at night to keep heat inside.

    Replace lights with LED bulbs, and always turn off lights when leaving a room.

    Whenever buying new appliances, compare energy ratings and convert to energy saving appliances.  Rebates may be available for larger appliances. 

    Consider using the energy saving settings on appliances.

    Turn off the heated dry cycle on the dishwasher.  Instead, open the dishwasher door just a crack right after the rinse cycle is complete.  There is enough heat inside for dishes to dry in about an hour.

These are just a few of the many energy and cost saving ideas available.  Any ideas you employ will benefit your wallet and the community in general.   Good luck with your projects!

-Katherine Koch-Laveen is a Commissioner on the Rosemount Environment and Sustainability Commission


Sept. 16, 2020: Raking for Clean Water

As the days shorten and weather cools down, it’s time to start our transition into fall. Trees will start to lose their leaves, and many of us will be spending our weekends and evenings raking. It is important to properly manage leaves because taking care of yard waste the right way also helps ensure our waterways stay clean.  Yard waste, such as leaves and grass clippings, can be washed into stormdrains when it rains.  Not only can this clog stormdrains and cause local flooding, but also, this pollution causes algea growth in local water bodies. You see, stormdrains drain directly into local lakes, wetlands, and ponds. Water collected by stormdrains is not treated, so leaves and grass clippings become a source of pollution. One bag of yard waste, like leaves and grass clippings, can contain enough phosphorus to produce 100 pounds of algae in local lakes and ponds - yuck!   

In Minnesota, it is illegal for yard waste to be disposed of in your garbage bin, but there are plenty of other options available to you for correct management of any leaves, tree trimmings, or grass clippings that may pile up from fall yardwork:

  • Have your trash hauler take it.  While you can’t put leaves in with your garbage, most haulers will pick up bagged yard waste. Make sure you check with your individual service to understand the correct procedure and any fees that may be included. Please note, state law requires that yard waste in Dakota and other metro counties be bagged in compostable bags. Compostable bags include brown paper yard waste bags and clear green plastic bags labeled as compostable. These bags are available at many department, home-improvement, and nursery stores.
  • Take it to one of several compost drop-off sites in Dakota County
  • Start your own compost pile. Check out the Conserve & Preserve Blog post from July or learn more on the Rosemount Composting Page.
  • Use a mulching mower and leave it on the lawn.  Mulched leaves and grass clippings left on the lawn can act as a fertilizer, which means you can skip a fertilizer treatment.

NEVER dump yard waste in easements, public parks, pond buffers, or out lots.  It can be a source of weed seeds and can block maintenance access to important infrastructure.  

Interested in protecting our local water resources? Check out these other activities you can do to protect water resources and the environment this fall

-Kristen Andrews is a Commissioner on the Rosemount Environment and Sustainability Commission


August 13, 2020: Growing a Healthy Lawn with Less

In these hot and steamy days if summer comes the urge to water your lawn and plants even more. Did you know that your lawn only needs about an inch of rain or irrigation water a week to stay lush and green? That means if you are watering your lawn every other day, you are probably watering it too much. In order to conserve water for other important uses (like hydrating yourself!), consider changing your irrigation system to manual and watering only when it needs it. This may be as little as once per week! 

If you have an older system you may want to think about getting an irrigation system audit. Check out this video Irrigation System Audits on how it is done. An audit will check out where you may need more or less water. It will also make sure you are not watering those places that don't need it, like a sidewalk or driveway.

Another option for an older system is purchasing a water-efficient irrigation controller. This will not only earn you a rebate from the city, but the controller itself will sense when your lawn needs water based on weather reports and stored historical data. It will automatically adjust when it needs to run. You don't even have to think about it! 

Information on the rebate for both the controller and the audit can be found on our Water Conservation page, along with other helpful water conservation tips.  Those looking to take a deeper dive into conserving lawn irrigation water this summer can also participate in a free webinar series offered by the University of Minnesota and Metropolitan Council - Watering Wisdom: Growing a Healthy Lawn with Less Water.   

-Kim Ciresi is a Commissioner on the Rosemount Environment and Sustainability Commission


July 16, 2020: Recycling Your Food Scraps

Ah summer.  Nothing says summer like fresh vegetables from the garden or farmers market.  But when you’ve finished making your culinary masterpiece, what should you do with all the odds and ends left over?  Cucumber peels, the top of the tomato, the nub of stock from the head of lettuce?  A third of our trash is made of organics materials like food scraps. Organics are any item that came from a plant or animal that will turn into a soil-like material called compost.   Finished compost is rich in plant food, holds more water than regular soil, and lessens the need for fertilizers and weed killers. It can be used in your yard or garden.

Curbside pick-up of organics from households is not yet available in Rosemount, but there are still some great options to reduce what you put in the trash.

1.    Compost at home.  Composting at home is easier than you think.  You can improve your soil when you use your finished compost.  Microbes need the right ingredients to create good compost; learn what you can and cannot put in your backyard compost bins. Rosemount code allows residents to have backyard compost bins, but they must be located in the rear of the yard at least 10 feet from property lines.  

2.    Drop off sites. There are now five drop off sites where Dakota County residents can drop off their food scraps, including a wider range of food types such as meat and dairy products that should not be put in backyard compost bins. Drop off is free. Sign up to participate or learn more about Dakota County Organics Drop-off.  

Never put food scraps in with regular curbside recycling because it contaminates materials at the recycling facility. Visit Rosemount’s composting page for more tips and tricks.  And if you are looking for someplace to experience that fresh taste of summer, the St. Paul Farmer’s market will be the Rosemount Community Center on Tuesdays (1 - 5 p.m.) and Saturdays (8 a.m. - 1 p.m.) through September 26.

-Renee Burman is a Commissioner on the Rosemount Environment and Sustainability Commission 


August 26, 2019

Wow Rosemount, how time flies. I am here to say goodbye, but mostly thank you! My service year for the MN GreenCorps wrapped up on Wednesday, August 21. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve in such a welcoming, vibrant, and joyful community.  

From bringing goats to Central Park, to installing a raingarden at Rosemount High School, to orchestrating a stormwater mural at the Splash Pad, every project has been met with open arms and wonderful community support.

Rosemount will always be in my heart and I hope you have learned and grown with me along the way. Thank you!

If you’d like to learn more about how you can give back to your community check out these great pages: 

MN GreenCorps:

https://www.pca.state.mn.us/waste/minnesota-greencorps

AmeriCorps:

https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps

Volunteering for Rosemount:

https://ci.rosemount.mn.us/582/Volunteer-for-the-City

-Jes Braun, MN GreenCorps member serving in Rosemount

August 14, 2019

Hi, Rosemount! I am so happy to announce that our storm drain mural is finished and installed. The mural features mythical sea creatures, a giant polka dotted whale, a character straight out of the 1950s musical Singing in the Rain, blooming sunflowers, and more, all woven together by a rainbow. The rainbow leads you from the basin on 145th Street, to the west side of the parking lot, to the splash pad in Central Park. 

Photo of rainbow mural near sewer

Photo of rainbow and figures painted near sewer

Photo of mural near splash pad

Come down to the park and follow the rainbow from beginning to end. Bring your friends and family and talk to them about what you all do to help keep our lakes and rivers clean and pollution out of the storm drains. Our creatures, mythical and real, depend on you! 

-Jes Braun, MN GreenCorps member serving in Rosemount

July 24, 2019

Happy Leprechaun Days, Rosemount!

Wow, July is flying by! Have a great time celebrating summer with your friends and family this week. Hope the good weather has you outside!

As you walk around the town, take a look at all the wonderful things that are happening above ground, and also beneath your feet. Do you see those storm drains over there? As I’ve mentioned before, those drains are linked up to a wonderful underground system of pipes! It’s a veritable hidden river system. Those drains take rain water from the streets and parks and carry them into our lakes and rivers. Sounds magical until you realize that water isn’t the only thing going down those drains! The water can pick up and mobilize pet waste, trash, sediment, grass clippings, fertilizer, and other things that are laying on our streets and sidewalks.

Graphic showing path of water runoff

There is a lot going on in our day to day, and it’s easy to forget things along the way. We here in Rosemount Public Works want to help remind you of our storm drain super water highway in a creative way: with stormwater murals!  

A mural, painted on the ground next to a stormdrain, can serve as a wonderful way to create conversations around where water goes, to keep you and your family thinking about water and water pollution, and hopefully help you become anti-pollution warriors! Telling your friend to pick up that litter they dropped, or remembering to pick up after your pets and your lawn clippings.  

The stormwater mural will be painted in Central Park near our splash pad! Keep an eye out the first two weekends in August for the mural artist hard at work out there. Stay tuned to our social media pages for more updates as the art unfolds!

Using art to engage and inspire the public is just one way we are helping Rosemount be the cleanest, healthiest, and most beautiful city it can be! Got any other water pollution prevention suggestions for us? Shoot me an email!

-Jes Braun, MN GreenCorps member serving in Rosemount

July 10, 2019

Graphic showing people high-fiving for adopting a storm drain

Happy July, Rosemount!

Hope your lawns and gardens are lush and flowering. All this rain has been so helpful to our plants! But rain that falls in urban settings can actually be bad for our natural world. Rain picks up debris (like grass clippings, leaves, fertilizer, oil, road salt, and pet waste) and carries this debris into our storm drains, which drain to our ponds, lakes, rivers, and eventually into our oceans.

You can help! The Vermillion River Watershed JPO has partnered with Clean Water MN on a citizen engagement program to help stop this water pollution. 

It’s called “Adopt a Drain”! Volunteer fifteen minutes, twice a month to clean up drains in your neighborhood and to help reduce water pollution. You can learn more about the program here: https://www.adopt-a-drain.org/

And keep your eye out for another exciting project unfolding in Rosemount this summer: our stormwater drain education mural! 

-Jes Braun, MN GreenCorps member serving in Rosemount

July 2, 2019

Rosemount’s first prescribed goat grazing was a huge success!

Thank you to everyone who came down to say hi to our quirky little workers. It’s been quite a transformation to see the buckthorn and garlic mustard stripped clean by hungry goats! Take a look at some of the before and after photos below: 

Photo of before and after goat treatment in woods

Photo of before and after goat treatment near park path

Photo of before and after goat treatment on hill

Some things to note for the future:

The goats did an excellent job of munching down the invasive plants. It may look like there isn’t a lot going on but now the native plants that are laying dormant will have a chance to get some sunlight and nutrients and sprout up this summer. The goats were able to do their work without raising big smoke plumes or affecting air quality, all while laying down fertilizer and removing the invasive seeds from the seed bank, so go eco-goats!  

Photo of goat on hill

But there is no "one shot and done" method for vegetation control! 

The buckthorn and other invasive plants will try to come back for round two, but we will be waiting for the emergence, and fighting back! Watch out for the next phases of our plan. Who knows? Maybe the goats will be back again, too!

-Jes Braun, MN GreenCorps member serving in Rosemount

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