For Cleaner Water
       & Fewer Floods  

Area Events & Workshops

  • 03 Mar 2017 1:43 PM | Anonymous

    Meet City Stormwater Requirements
    while Creating Beautiful, Practical Landscape Projects for Clients


    Cities across the U.S. are taking various measures to combat stormwater runoff and reduce pollution in local bodies of water, while raising awareness of the issue.  New construction standards consider how much water is leaving your site, with the primary goal to minimize runoff from development sites and to keep the runoff water as clean as possible.

    Water that does not evaporate or is not absorbed into the ground is eventually discharged to our local water bodies. As a result, contaminants in stormwater impact water quality in our local lakes and rivers.

    “We’re working to increase awareness among the general public that the runoff from their property affects our drinking water and our recreational waterways.” Megan Moeller, Communications Coordinator, City of Rochester. “At the same time, we need local expertise in the design and construction of stormwater management practices.”

    This contractor workshop, Raingardens & Other Stormwater Best Management Practices, presented by Metro Blooms in partnership with Blue Thumb - Planting for Clean Water® will cover: benefits of the bioengineering approach to stormwater management, site assessment, runoff estimates and flow paths, shooting grades, cell design options, estimates of soils balance, infiltration testing, design and site hydrology, excavation, decompaction, shaping the cell, and final grades, as well as materials and plant selection.

    “It’s better for the earth and it also makes sense from a business perspective,” says Rich Harrison, Landscape Architect with Metro Blooms, who administers the Blue Thumb Partnership, “More and more people are interested in sustainable design, which means we need to provide solutions that are beautiful landscape features and help them minimize runoff.”


    Friday, March 17, 2017

    8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

    City of Rochester,

    Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center

    2900 19th St. NW  

    Rochester, MN  55901


    How to Register?


    Register for this event by Monday, March 13 by sending name, organization, title, email address and phone number to, or call 651-699-2426.


    This Blue Thumb Contractor Training is offered in partnership with Metro Blooms and the cities of Rochester, Faribault , Owatonna, and the Zumbro Watershed Partnership.

    What is a raingarden?

    A raingarden is a shallow depression in the ground that is designed to capture rainwater and allow it to soak into the ground within a 24-48 hour period. Most raingardens are best designed with plants that are well adapted to the unique conditions of the garden and your region (such as local native plants).  

    Fast Facts about runoff:

    • ·         Every time it rains one inch, an average urban residential property sheds about 5,400 gallons of stormwater runoff. 
    • ·         The EPA defines stormwater runoff as the number one threat to water quality in our lakes and streams.

    What is Blue Thumb?  

    Blue Thumb—Planting for Clean Water® is a public/private partnership that promotes native plants, raingardens, and shoreline stabilization projects to reduce runoff and improve water quality. Partners include local governmental units (watershed districts, conservation districts, cities and counties), non-profit organizations, and private companies such as nurseries, landscape design and build companies, sustainable lawn care and tree care services.

  • 11 Jan 2017 3:44 PM | Anonymous

    Looking for videos about he Zumbro River, watersheds, wildlife, history, and clean water issues? Then look no further than the Zumbro Watershed Partnership's new YouTube Channel. We've chosen the best Zumbro River and clean water videos and added them to our channel. You can visit our channel at the URL below, or by clicking on the link on the middle of our ZWP home page.

  • 06 Jan 2017 2:38 PM | Anonymous
    This email is the SAVE-THE-DATE notice for the final meeting of the Zumbro River Watershed WRAPS (Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy) process.  The date, time, and location of the meeting are: 

    Saturday January 28, 2017
    9 AM - Noon
    People's Energy Cooperative Meeting Room
    1775 Lake Shady Ave S.
    Oronoco, MN 55960

    This will be an all watershed meeting similar to our first event back in March. The main agenda item for the meeting will be to review and give feedback on the draft WRAPS document and TMDL drafts being prepared by LimnoTech and MPCA.  In addition, there will be a talk from BWSR on the Clean Water Legacy Fund and a local farmer will share his experience working with cover crops and livestock to benefit soil health and water quality.  

    I will be sending out the draft WRAPS document and an agenda to you about a week before the meeting for your review.  We will also be asking for written comments later in the process, so even if you cannot attend the meeting you'll be able to weigh in.

  • 06 Jan 2017 2:33 PM | Anonymous

    City of Rochester

    Now Accepting Applications for 
    Realize Rain Gardens Rochester Cost-Share Grants




    Megan Moeller

    Public Works Communications Coordinator

    507-328-2436 or




    In 2009, the City of Rochester launched Realize Rain Gardens Rochester - a cost-share grant program promoting the installation of residential rain gardens in Rochester. A task force of interested citizens and the City’s Public Works staff developed this program. Selected sites are used to demonstrate how rain gardens slow, treat, and infiltrate storm water, while adding beauty to neighborhoods and creating habitat for songbirds and butterflies. This program has facilitated the installation of over 30 rain gardens since 2009.  Hundreds of residents have discovered the benefits of these water-cleaning wonders through tours, Rain Garden Parties, and workshops. This program is also a recipient of the Committee on Urban Design & Environment’s Institutional Development award.


    The Realize Rain Gardens Rochester program will award cost-share grants to both residential customers and non-profit organizations, including schools, located within the city limits of Rochester. Residential applications must propose projects located within Rochester’s city limits on a residential parcel owned by a Rochester citizen. Community applications must be submitted by a non-profit organization for a proposed location that has an ability to reach large audiences. Schools located in Rochester are also eligible to apply. Applicants have until May 1, 2017 to submit their application for a cost-share grant to assist in the creation of a rain garden. Applications are reviewed and ranked, with up to seven projects receiving a cost-share grant. The grant award will be for 50% of verifiable costs, up to a maximum of $750.00 per project. Eligible expenditures include the costs for the design, plants, mulch, soil amendment, related materials, and labor. To be considered for this year’s grant round, rain gardens must be installed in 2017 on parcels within Rochester’s city limits and outside of utility and drainage easements or road rights-of-way. 


    More details about the Realize Rain Gardens Rochester cost-share grant program, including the application form and pictures of past grant winners, can be found on the City’s stormwater website: People without computer access may contact Megan Moeller, Public Works Department at (507) 328-2436 to request an application package or obtain assistance while preparing grant applications.


    Save the Date for Related Programs:

    ·         Rain Gardens 101 – Why Retain the Rain?: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 from 7-8:30pm at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota - Cascade Meadow (

    ·         Realize Rain Gardens Rochester Cost Share Grant Writing Workshop: Monday, March 20, 2017 from 7-9:00pm in City Hall Conference Room 104


  • 13 Dec 2016 4:55 PM | Anonymous

    Want to comment on the new MN Buffer Law?

    Do you like it? Do you think it goes too far? Do you think it doesn't go far enough?

    Remember, this was a 2015 law passed in response to reports that many Minnesota counties weren't enforcing existing shoreland rules designed to protect rivers and lakes from agricultural runoff pollution.

    The MN Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR) is asking for your comments.

  • 05 Dec 2016 2:34 PM | Anonymous

    You can support the Zumbro Watershed Partnership and our mission to work for "Cleaner Water and Fewer Foods" in Southeaster Minnesota. And, you can do it while you shop. Follow the link below to shop on and it's "" website. Amazon will donate 0.05 percent of your purchase to Zumbro Watershed Partnership, at no cost to you.

    Support us when you shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #StartWithaSmile at and Amazon donates to Zumbro Watershed Partnership Inc.

  • 10 Nov 2016 4:24 PM | Anonymous

    As you know, ZWP relies on your support to work for "Cleaner Water and Fewer Floods" in Southeast Minnesota. Please take a few minutes to support us with a donation during "Give to the Max Day" on Thursday, Nov. 17. 

    Your donation could help us win additional donations.

  • 26 Oct 2016 11:18 AM | Anonymous


    Voluntary Programs Fail to Clean

     Up Iowa’s Dirty Water


    A recent study by the Environmental Working Group found little or no benefit after taxpayers invested billions of dollars on voluntary farm conservation incentive programs. EWG researchers looked at aerial photos of land in eight “priority watersheds” that are part of the state’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy. What they found was unsettling. While it was true that they found a small amount of additional conservation practices on the land, they also found many cases where farmers abandoned previous voluntary conservation practices. So in the end, after spending $3 billion in Iowa, conservation on the land is right back where we started, with little or no net gain in landscape conservation, and with water pollution, the same or worse than it was ten years ago.


    Between 2011 and 2014, farmers added 45 acres of new buffers, but they plowed up 119 acres of buffers, resulting in a loss of 74 acres of streamside buffers. During the same time period, farmers added 26 miles of grassed waterways, but they plowed up 21 miles, leading to an increase if just 5 miles of waterways. 


    “We are just fooling ourselves by clinging to the hope that voluntary conservation measures will clean up      Iowa’s water. Instead we need to set standards that restrict the most damaging activities, which can often be solved by simple and conventional practices,” said the report. You can view the report at


    According to EWG Researchers, All Farmers Should be Required to Implement Four Basic Conservation Practices

    ¨ Keep 50 feet of vegetation between cropland and waterways to filter polluted runoff

    ¨ Heal or prevent temporary gullies (with grassed waterways or water control structures)

    ¨ Keep livestock out of rivers and streams

    ¨ Ban manure spreading on snow-covered or frozen ground




  • 20 Oct 2016 10:14 AM | Anonymous

    Zumbro River Watershed (ZRW) 

    Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) Meetings for the

    South Fork and Lake Zumbro, Middle and North Forks, and Lower Zumbro River Lobes 

    November 15 and 16, 2016

    Lower Zumbro River Lobe

    Tuesday November 15th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

    Theilman Opera House

    62643 261th Avenue

    Theilman, MN 55945


    Middle and North Forks Zumbro River Lobe

    Tuesday November 15th, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

    People’s Coop Meeting Room

    1775 Lake Shady Ave S.

    Oronoco, MN 55960


    South Fork Zumbro River and Lake Zumbro Lobe

    Wednesday November 16th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

    Cascade Meadows 2900 19th Street NW 

    Rochester, MN 55901

Contact Us:

Mailing Address: Zumbro Watershed Partnership, Inc.
12 Elton Hills Drive NW
Rochester, MN 55901

ZWP Executive Director Contact Information 
Phone Number: 507-226-6787

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