Households who participated in the Como Curb Cleanup as a demonstration house: 84
Other households participating in the CCC effort (that were reported to us): 139
Total households: 223
Dr. Sarah Hobbie and Dr. Jacques Finlay are ecology professors and researchers at the University of Minnesota. They also are residents of Como and a fellow demonstration house! They’ve helped us come up with an estimate of our phosphorus reduction impact. The formula is based on the average amount of leaf litter that an average demonstration house would clean up from the curb during October and November.
Formula used to calculate pounds of phosphorus (P): .00125 pounds of P is prevented from leaching out of leaves and into stormwater runoff for every 1 foot section of curbage cleared of leaf litter over October and November.
Our 2015 demonstration houses reported to us that they cleaned an aggregate of 7,524 feet of curbage.
.00125 x 7,524 = 9.41 pounds of P prevented
40 feet of curbage is the average per household in Como, so we are using this figure to estimate how many feet of curbage was cleaned by participating housesholds, as these households do not report to us. We are also estimating a participating house cleans 1/4th the frequency as a demonstration house. Therefore, 40 x 139 = 5,560 feet of curbage x .25 = 1,390
.00125 x 1,390 = 1.74 pounds of P prevented
Grand Total = 11.15 pounds of P prevented
It is estimated that as much as 500 pounds of algae can grow from 1 pound of P, so we’ve prevented over two tons (5,575 pounds) of future algae growth!
This number is significant. And if we continue to expand the number of households taking part in the CCC, we’ll have an even greater, positive impact.
To give some perspective, below is information excerpted from Capitol Region Watershed District’s 2012 BMP performance report (chapter 3, page 19). BMP = best management practice, which in this context refers to stormwater treatment practices used by watershed districts and other water resource management organizations to reduce “phosphorus loading” from land areas that drain to a given water body. These particular treatment structures are within Como Lake’s lakeshed.
- BMP: Arlington-Hamline [underground water storage] Facility
- Total phosphorus load removed in pounds: 12
- BMP: Como Park Regional Pond
- Total phosphorus load removed in pounds: 41
- BMP: Rain gardens and Underground Infiltration Trenches
- Total phosphorus load removed in pounds: 24
We provided a Survey Monkey Questionnaire to DHs to collect information on the work they did, but also to learn if the CCC project has influenced them in other ways. For one question in particular, we found the results interesting, and gratifying. 43 DHs completed our survey – below is question 8 and in parentheses the number of these DHs who selected each option.
How has this project influenced or changed your curb cleaning practice, if any? Please select all that apply:
- I have always cleaned my curb, so no difference. (7)
- I clean my curb more than I used to because of this project. (25)
- I never cleaned my curb before this project, but now I do. (6)
- I pay more attention to organic material in the street gutter and try to keep it clean year round (seeds and flower parts in spring; grass clippings in summer; leaves in fall; sand and salt in winter). (22)
- I am now exploring other strategies I can employ on my property and/or block to reduce sources of water pollution for our local lake and river. (5)
We were particularly pleased to see so many saying they clean their curb more than before and that they now pay attention to organics in gutters year round. Given this, we feel this project has a positive impact on citizen practices to reduce phosphorus sources beyond the Como Curb Cleanup project itself.
We’d like to thank the following organizations who partnered with us in the 2015:
Capitol Region Watershed District
City of St. Paul Parks Dept, Forestry Division
District 10 Community Council, Administrator
Ramsey County Environmental Health, yard waste supervisors
University of Minnesota Ecology Researchers
The Product Factory, Inc.