Nearly 65 volunteers enjoyed the beautiful spring weather last weekend while cleaning up Crystal Lake Park in Prior Lake. The annual Spring Clean Water Clean-Up was hosted by the City of Prior Lake and the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District. The Sunday, April 29 event, was delayed a week due to the lingering snow following Prior Lake’s massive April snowstorm.
Volunteers pitched in to rake leaves and pull out buckthorn and afterwards, neighbors commented on how different the park looked. Volunteers included many neighbors, local community members, Cub Scout Pack 339, students from Aspen Academy and the Lord of the Gears robotics team who showed up to remove buckthorn and clean up leaves and organic debris to protect the water quality in Crystal Lake. The areas where buckthorn was removed will be seeded with native woodland plant species to help restore the woods.
Volunteers removed 1.78 tons (3,560 pounds) of buckthorn and other woody debris and raked over 1.23 tons (2,460 lbs) of leaves! Hard to believe they did all this in just a couple of hours! Many photos from the event are posted on the Watershed District’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PLSLWD/
Why rake up leaves? Leaves and other organic matter are carried by stormwater into storm drains and end up in lakes and streams. Once in the waterbodies, they breakdown and release phosphorus, which feeds algae. Algae growth is a serious threat to water quality, aquatic life, property values and water recreation. Buckthorn is an invasive, non-native shrub which takes over wooded areas, shading out native woodland plants.
Many local businesses generously provided door prizes and volunteers were treated to refreshments. Lord of the Gears, a robotics team from the Prior Lake Savage schools, also donated five rain barrels which were raffled off to participants! Their competition theme this year was hydrodynamics, and the team choose to focus their research on water conservation solutions.
Missed out on the fun? The District and the City will be hosting another clean-up this fall. Stay tuned by checking the Watershed District or City websites or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the email notification list.