Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Chris Gass
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Help protect our local water

The Green Guy


April 11, 2019

The season of Spring may well be considered the season of new. As the latest models of products like boats, motorcycles, grills, and summer-time recreation equipment begin hitting store fronts, and catalogs fill mailboxes with the newest releases for warm weather fun like gardening, camping, backyard get-togethers or long planned chores like home renovation and yard care. It stands to reason that producers know we are wide-eyed after being held up in the long cold spell. To top it off, summer-time services are entering their swing by making their business known through advertisements for lawn care, tree maintenance, stump removal, and so on.

Well, let me add just one more to the list. The Carlton County SWCD is proud to release a new initiative for the area that has been catching traction elsewhere through the state and nation. It aims to be an easy opportunity for everyone to take part in local conservation efforts while also being a steward for community improvement and resource management, and we also hope it might encourage residents to have a hand in the well-being of their local neighborhood and city. Welcome the Carlton County Adopt a Drain program (AAD)! As the name suggests, it mimics some of the underlying intentions of Adopt a Highway in promoting volunteers to help keep trash out of our landscape and public areas. However, the program goes a step further in being scaled at a local level. Meaning participation might be right outside your front door and that the benefits are felt right in your community.

Alright, so you might be asking yourself, “Why would I bother?” Plain and simple, it comes down to water quality as those drains lead right into our local water bodies. This in turn means we can have an impact on the well-being of our nearby waterways and also help reduce the cost of cleaning and maintaining these landmarks down the road. You might remark “Doesn’t it all go downstream eventually though?” to which I’ll have to say, not exactly. Yes, the water will eventually cycle out but the pollutants aren’t guaranteed to. In fact, the effect of water pollutants will tend to be felt, and concentrate, in the area they are initially released and often even settle not far from where they came. To top it all off, we should consider that our downstream for much of the water in this area means ending up in the brilliant and striking Lake Superior – not really a destination we should think of lightly.

Maybe a last resistant bunch of you will remark “But what difference will my effort really make?” For that, I will say, a lot more than you think. Consider that you might collect an ice cream pail full of material each time you go out. Well, if you go out twice a month for four or more months, you’ll have stopped an impressive pile of pollution and that’s just your effort. Imagine the effect of a small army of volunteers who help clean debris several times each month—the impact becomes gargantuan and adds up overtime. Furthermore, think of it as a small investment now for big savings in the future. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

For more details on the AAD program, go to our website at


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