Photos: One-of-a-kind Stormwater Park protects Mississippi Watershed

A green roof garden design
The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization's new headquarters on the river includes a green roof. Green roofs can capture stormwater, reducing the amount of water running off rooftops and into storm drains, which eventually reach the Mississippi River. The problem with stormwater is that it picks up things like trash, fertilizer, leaves and plants that contain pollutants, especially nutrients like phosphorus. Nutrients contribute to excess algae growth in lakes, which can harm water quality and hurt native ecosystems.
Tom Baker for MPR News

A new park in northeast Minneapolis will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday.

Stormwater Park and Learning Center on the Mississippi River uses engineering, beauty and research to help people learn what happens to water running off buildings, streets and parking lots when it rains.

The park at 2522 Marshall St. NE in Minneapolis is designed to capture and treat all stormwater on site, keeping it out of the river. That's important because stormwater can contain pollutants that harm the river.

The issue has taken on new urgency because of climate change. Minnesota is seeing more precipitation overall. In addition, more of the rain is falling in big storm events, and climate scientists have linked the trends to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In response, cities and watershed management organizations have been implementing more so-called green infrastructure into the urban landscape to keep stormwater in place.

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