Cleaning Up Woodbury’s Colby Lake, One Rain Garden at a Time

Rain gardens are being installed in the neighborhood as part of an effort to reduce phosphorous in the lake.

The roads in Woodbury’s Colby Lake neighborhood have been fixed up.

Now it’s the lake itself that will be improved, thanks to a series of rain gardens being installed in the neighborhood.

Officials took advantage of the construction to move up a project to plant the rain gardens, which help filter pollutants otherwise bound for Colby Lake.

The Washington Conservation District is primarily trying to keep phosphorous, which creates algae, out of the lake, said Andy Schilling, watershed restoration specialist.

Rain gardens, he said, are “the best way to get that treatment within the neighborhood. … And they look nice.”

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has designated Colby Lake has as an impaired water body, and one pound of phosphorous equals 500 pounds of algae, said Tara Kline, natural resources best management practices technician with the Washington Conservation District.

The rain gardens should help clear up the water, she said.

“It will take some time, but this is a really good start to help get (Colby Lake) off the impaired list,” Kline said. “People really do care about Colby Lake.”

Thirteen rain gardens are being installed this year, and another 11 are planned for 2013. The funding came from a Clean Land, Water and Legacy Amendment grant.

A study was done to determine which homes would be best suited for rain gardens, considering topography and water flow, Schilling said.

Officials last spring went door knocking to ask people to participate.

Susan Joines is among those slated to get a rain garden. She said fertilizer in the water that runs through her yard has created “mutant plants.”

A 22-year resident of Woodbury, Joines said she has seen the lake grow green each summer.

“They need to do more,” she said. “So we were happy that we were chosen to do this. … I think it’s a great idea.”

Plus, the spot where her rain garden is going hasn’t been able to hold grass, Joines said.

“Now it’s going to look pretty,” she said.

More Info

For more information about rain gardens visit:

Washington Conservation District

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