The Environment Committee works on projects of importance to air quality, noise pollution, water or land pollution, and other environmental concerns. Every spring, we lead the Kasota Ponds Clean Up to involve community members in beautifying an important local wetland area. We lead on other environmental projects on air quality, park land, watersheds, and more.
The Environment Committee meets every fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:00pm at the SAPCC office. Meetings are cancelled in July and December and rescheduled in November. Anyone is welcome participate. Read past meeting minutes here.
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CC1.2: Set goals for and promote energy-efficient, healthy, and comfortable buildings by working with public and private partners to provide air-sealing, insulation, and other improvements, while also mitigating and preventing indoor mold due to improper insulation and inadequate moisture control and encouraging bulk buy opportunities for high-efficiency AC, HVAC systems, and heat-recovery ventilators.
CC1.5 Explore ways to increase composting of organics by residents and businesses on private and public property and with neighboring institutions, including expanding the availability of compostable “single use” items.
CC2.2: Promote and support installation of renewable-energy production systems (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass methane) throughout the District, with battery storage systems for electric power where feasible. Use Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) and other financing options.
EBD general principle: The challenge for the next 10 years will be to retain traditional industrial and distribution jobs where appropriate, while enhancing a framework that takes advantage of our urban amenities and encourages innovation.
HP 5.5 Promote the design and implementation of historical interpretive signage along transportation routes, including bicycle paths, sidewalks, streets, bus lines, and LRT lines, working with Metro Transit when possible.
PR3.1: Work to maintain and strengthen the physical assets and programming at neighborhood public spaces, including water quality, ecological restoration, and pollinator habitat.
PR5.1: Obtain funds to support maintenance of rain gardens in boulevards and parks.
PR 7.1 Provide education about which species we may want to support and others that may need some type of control, their habitat and corridor needs, including niche habitat and nesting sites, and how their populations are controlled ecologically.
WSA 1.7 Promote installation of rain gardens, surface and subsurface infiltration galleries, green roofs, curb cuts to divert water from street gutters, and development of retention ponds and streets for higher rainfall events.
EBD 2.2 Support locating storm water holding devices under new green spaces. Encourage new developments and public infrastructure to connect to these systems.
WSA4.1: Adapt MPCA’s What’s In My Neighborhood database and interactive map of identified sites of soil pollution for Saint Anthony Park, and identify suspected areas for further investigation.
WSA4.2: Conduct a neighborhood mapping project to identify areas of concern regarding soil contamination (e.g., boulevards and park land that may be used for food production).
WSA4.4: Seek opportunities to monitor outdoor air quality.
WSA5.4: Work to reduce noise from compression braking by truck drivers and night-time racing through and near the neighborhood.
WSA5.8: Advocate for strengthening and enforcing sign restrictions intended to reduce billboards and sign clutter.
Kasota Ponds Clean Up
For two decades, the Environment Committee has led community members and local schools in cleaning up the Kasota Ponds wetland area off of Highway 280. This important wetland area suffers from illegal dumping as well as road runoff and litter. In a few hours, we remove dozens of bags full of trash and contribute to a healthier wetland environment for herons, turkeys, fish, and turtles. We always need volunteers for the event (which happens in mid-April), contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Recently, the Committee successfully acquired security cameras for the area in order to discourage illegal dumping and hold those engaging in illegal dumping accountable. We hope to see fewer tires, air conditioners, computer monitors, and other large, polluting objects in Kasota Ponds in the years to come.
Air Quality Monitoring
In partnership with the MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Environment Committee successfully secured an air quality monitoring system for St. Anthony Park. Located near Highway 280 and the railroad near the community gardens, the air quality monitoring system will monitor particulates in the air in St. Anthony Park for a full year and generate reports that will allow the Committee to take future action to protect air quality and health. The Committee also worked with the MPCA to test a handheld air monitoring device in the neighborhood. 20 participants generated feedback for the MPCA on ease of use of the devices and also gathered valuable data in our neighborhood.
Hampden Park Improvements
Through the Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) process, the Environment Committee worked with the City of St. Paul to see $200,000 worth of improvements to Hampden Park. The improvements include new seating arrangements, a plaza area, benches, and public art. The park saw improvements to the sumac area and the grass in the park. Perhaps most exciting for community members include the solar charging station (the first one of its kind in Minnesota) and the bike repair station.
Environmental Pollution Map
Former consultant to SAPCC, Amanda Yang, worked with the Environment Committee to develop a Global Information System (GIS) interactive map to demonstrate pollutant sites in the neighborhood. Going back through Sanborn maps from the 1800s and tracing the environmental history of each site in the neighborhood, Amanda reconstructed the environmental history of the neighborhood down each individual plot of land based on public records. In spring 2017, we will unveil the map with community meetings and teaching sessions to instruct neighbors on how to use the map.
Transition Town – All St. Anthony Park
An affiliate of SAPCC and the Environment Committee, Transition Town All St. Anthony Park (TTASAP) leads environmentally focused action in our neighborhood.
They work on three primary goals:
- to reduce our carbon footprint, as individuals and as a neighborhood
- to better prepare for severe weather and possible economic instability
- to build our community’s resilience—and have fun while doing it.
A watershed district is a special purpose unit of local government in charge of managing water resources within designated boundaries. Watershed districts work to protect and improve water quality. Our watershed district organizations offer technical assistance and grants to help residents improve water quality on their properties. Most of St. Anthony Park is covered by CRWD, with a small section covered by the MWMO.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) monitors environmental quality, offers technical and financial assistance, and enforces environmental regulations. The agency finds and cleans up spills or leaks that can affect our health and environment.