On Sept. 19, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO; Minneapolis, Minn.) celebrated the completion of a unique stormwater park and learning center. It is a public park that showcases green infrastructure.
“We have built a beautiful green space for people to enjoy, but more importantly, it’s a place where people can see what green infrastructure looks like and how simple features like raingardens and tree trenches protect our natural resources,” said MWMO Executive Director Doug Snyder.
The park is built around 11 visible stormwater management features. Highlights include a green roof, a 17,000-L (4,500-gal) cistern, large rain gardens with native prairie vegetation, and a special experiment station to test different soil mixtures for filtering stormwater.
“Not a drop of water that falls on our site runs off into the river,” Snyder said. “Our stormwater treatment train can absorb and clean up to 7 inches of stormwater runoff in a single day from our site and the surrounding area.”
Additionally, a learning center includes educational and interpretive features to teach the public how stormwater runoff pollutes water.
Constructing the stormwater park and learning center involved removing nearly 16,330 metric tons (18,000 short tons) of contaminated soil and restoring a piece of riverbank to a natural, sustainable state. The project won a Minnesota Brownfields ReScape Award and provides a new public access point to the Mississippi River.