LETTER TO GOVERNOR DAYTON via his aide:
I am writing about the pre-emption bill relative to my experience at Lake Hiawatha. Since the Minneapolis styrofoam to-go container ban, I have noticed a decrease in the amount of styrofoam pieces found in Lake Hiawatha. An urban stormsewer system in my community washes litter from South Minneapolis' streets directly into Lake Hiawatha where it accumulates by the ton on the shore of the Lake and in its waters. Myself and volunteers working with me have removed 4,500 lbs of trash (225 large trash bags) from the Lake since 2015. In the trash survey I conducted with Carol Nordstrom in 2015 we found that the most numerous trash item found in the Lake was styrofoam with 1,765 pieces of styrofoam found in 6 bags/120 lbs of Lake trash.
I have attached the original 2015 trash survey which demonstrates the high level of styrofoam found in the Lake at that time.
Please Feel free to use this documentation and please share this information with Governor Dayton and those who are working on the pre-emption bill - for or against. Everyone should know what is at stake.
The wildlife are eating the styrofoam and millions of bits of styrofoam are permanently embedded in the soil surrounding Lake Hiawatha. Preventing Minneapolis and other Minnesota communities from taking measures to protect our water and wildlife is inexcusable.
Friends of Lake Hiawatha
This is a photo taken at Lake Hiawatha of a duckling eating a piece of styrofoam in 2016:
Friends of Lake Hiawatha
is dedicated to improving the quality of Lake Hiawatha through community engagement, educational outreach, and good governance through effective partnerships with other organizations and public officials.
Lake Hiawatha History
Prior to 1854, the land that encompasses present day Lake Hiawatha, the Chain of Lakes, and the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, was the spiritual center and home of the Dakota Sioux tribe. The community settled on the shores of Bde Maka Ska (formerly known as Lake Calhoun) and actively foraged, farmed, and hunted for survival. Plant species that they foraged include: blueberries, wild spikenard, wild turnips, spatterdock root, water lily, wild rice, acorns, and bittersweet vine.
They farmed very selectively using a no till, no drill method. Natural land cover was comprised of oak, elm, basswood, ash, and maple trees with oak openings and barrens. With European and French Canadian expansion into Minnesota the Dakota became involved in the fur trade, primarily harvesting muskrat and beaver pelts.
In 1854, the land was surveyed by the Federal Bureau of Land Management and the names of European landowners appear on the parcels adjacent to the Lake. The City of Minneapolis was established in 1856 and Minnesota became a State on May 11, 1858. The Dakota War took place in 1862 and in 1863 an act of the United States Congress expelled the Dakota from Minnesota. They were relocated in Nebraska and South Dakota.
By 1867, Minneapolis achieved final incorporation. As the City developed so did the need for land planning and a board of 12 park commissioners was appointed in 1883. Horace Cleveland, a landscape architect, is hired and proposes a vast park system that encompasses the Chain of Lakes including Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi River. Lakes Calhoun, Harriet, and Isles are named. Present day Lakes Hiawatha and Nokomis were renamed from Rice Lake and Mother Lake. The name Hiawatha is a reference to the great Iroquois chief immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Song of Hiawatha”.
Although the shoreline of Lake Hiawatha has been altered over time Cleveland’s vision of a series of open green spaces connecting the urban areas of Minneapolis remains. Tiny vestiges of the open oak barren forest remain and the Dakota have made a return to heal the landscape.
Minneapolis’ diverse community of today has come together to create a clean Lake Hiawatha.
Storm Sewers Dump into Lake
The storm sewers from many miles of streets in South Minneapolis are draining pollution and trash directly into Lake Hiawatha. Please sign this petition to persuade the organizations involved to collaborate in creating an effective system of mitigation in order to clean up the pollutants before they enter the lake. Sign the petition here…
Pumping Ground Water at Lake Hiawatha
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has been pumping far more water out of stormwater ponds into the lake than allowed by its state permit. Due to the fact that the golf course is situated below the water table, resides in a floodplain and is sinking, intensive pumping is required to maintain a dry golf course. Continued pumping increases the rate of soil subsidence (sinking) thus requiring ever more pumping in order to keep the golf course dry. The Minneapolis Park Board now is working with the City and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District to explore different land configurations, now that it has been decided to reduce pumping to 94 million gallons annually from 240 million.. Read more…
103 bags of garbage were cleaned from Lake Hiawatha in 2015. Items from a sample collection were identified, sorted and counted. The sample collection was removed from the entire circumference of the Lake. The artifacts were extracted from shallow water and the shore. Read more…
Minnehaha Creek Clean-Up
Celebrating 10 years of cleaning the creek with headquarters at Lake Hiawatha Park. Read more…
Research and Writing Credit: Annette Walby