Adopt-A-Drain Takes Off in Maple Grove
When it comes to the planet, there are ways for everyone to do their part. A Minnesota-based program is helping neighbors in Maple Grove keep their storm drains clear.
The project is called Adopt-a-Drain, and its a way for community members to reduce pollution in their waterways by cleaning storm drains in their neighborhood.
Hente Braam is one of those neighbors. He’s adopted three.
“Everything that comes off of everybody’s yards and lawns goes into the street, to the storm drain, down the storm drain, into the lakes and rivers,” Braam said.
Helping the Waterways
Braam uses an old recycling tub and a rake to clear off the drains in his neighborhood. During the fall, storm drains are coated in leaves. He said sometimes he finds interesting things — like car parts or litter. He often uses the leaves he collects to compost in his garden.
“If you look at the size of this opening, there is a lot that goes down there,” Braam said, pointing at one of his adopted drains. “Its not a very good filtration mechanism.”
That is where volunteers like Braam come in. He lives behind Elm Creek, which feeds into Rice Lake in Maple Grove. He said keeping leaves and trash out of the waterways helps protect them from invasive algae blooms.
“If we can do a little bit to keep stuff out of that drain, that is stuff that doesn’t end up in the lake,” Braam said.
A Community Effort
Braam’s involvement is connected to Maple Grove Citizens for Sustainability. Founder Tammy Fleming said this is a simple first step to improved waterways. In town, it is catching on.
“As of October, we had 448 drains adopted. 238 adopters,” Fleming said. “Adopt-a-drain: a very simple first step you can do.”
Volunteers have reported 7,500 pounds of debris collected and kept out of Maple Grove waterways.
Just a few blocks away, Amber Olsen is also raking up change in her neighborhood.
“Extending our responsibility to this little square of property here will add up to a lot for our entire community,” Olsen said.
Olsen owns Urban Foodscapes, a service that encourages and consults people looking to garden in urban and suburban spaces. She adopted the drain by her property under the company’s name.
“We all play our own part in helping or hurting the environment,” Olsen said.
Waterways are close to home for Olsen, too. There are wetlands right behind her property.
“It’s important to keep that piece of land healthy for those animals,” Olsen said.
Olsen and Braam agreed that adopting a drain is one small way to make a big difference. Drains need to be cleaned in any season.
Most Minnesota neighbors can adopt a drain. More information is available on the Adopt-a-Drain website. Its free, and you can name your drain. The website also offers a tool for you to see what drains have and haven’t been adopted — and what your neighbors named theirs.