CRWD eyes Austin High partnership

Published 9:14 am Monday, April 18, 2011

At its April 20 meeting, the Cedar River Watershed District board will likely vote on whether to share costs with Austin High School on the school’s proposed rain garden project.

The rain garden would offer educational opportunities for students, as well as trap sediments and runoff. Although CRWD has shared costs on rain gardens already, the scope and size of AHS’s proposed project means board members will have to decide if and how much CRWD will donate. Justin Hanson, CRWD resource specialist, said the project is fairly big and could be expensive.

A large portion of the meeting will revolve around Mike Merten as well, the newly appointed CRWD board member. With its draft rules still amidst state review, CRWD can use much of its meeting to thoroughly inform Merten. Although Merten has been at several meetings, the upcoming meeting should allow him to cover all the bases.

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CRWD’s Justin Hanson also has several items to review, including federal funding for projects, rain barrels, rain gardens and the Adopt a River program. He said the Adopt a River program for the Cedar River is gaining momentum and already has nine groups participating. Each group will clean a designated section of the river and is free to do so any time it wishes. Hanson is compiling informational packets, which include maps of access sites and tips and resources for cleaning the river.

As for the draft rules, Hanson hasn’t heard of any issues from the Board of Water and Soil Resources.

“If there was anything alarming, it would have come up by now,” he said.

The meeting begins 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center’s Ruby Rupner Room.