NEWSBRIEF: Adopt-a-Drain to launch ‘Land of 10,000 Drain Adopters’ campaign at State Fair

Adopt-a-Drain — a program that engages residents to protect area lakes, rivers and wetlands — will kick off a campaign to double its membership at the Minnesota State Fair Aug. 22 to Sept. 2. The program recruits volunteers to keep storm drains in their neighborhoods clear of leaves, trash and debris. Its booth will be in the Eco Experience Building at 1621 Randall Ave.

“Our goal is to make the Land of 10,000 Lakes into the Land of 10,000 Drain Adopters,” said Adopt-A-Drain Program Director Jana Larson. “There are currently 4,000 individuals and groups registered across the state. With more than 300,000 storm drains in the Twin Cities metro and half a million statewide, the need for more volunteers is acute. Adopting a storm drain is a tangible way to keep our water safe and healthy, and it takes as little as thirty minutes a month.”

Keeping storm drains clean protects local lakes and rivers from polluted storm water runoff that flows unfiltered from our streets into local waterways. In addition to trash, road salt and chemicals, organic debris like leaves and grass clippings also threaten the health of our waters. Decaying leaves and grass that wash into storm drains release nutrients into lakes and rivers that feed excess growth of algae that turns the water green. 

After creating an account at, residents can claim one or more available storm drains. They will receive tips on how to be safe while cleaning the drains and get annual reports on how much pollution they and other participants have kept out of local lakes and streams. Those who sign up at the State Fair will receive a yard sign and a how-to packet inside a small backpack emblazoned with “I adopted a storm drain.”

Since its inception, participants in Adopt-a-Drain have prevented nearly 125,000 pounds of debris from washing down storm drains into lakes and rivers just by periodically sweeping up around storm drains. All storm drains flow untreated into a local waterway.  

The Adopt-a-Drain program is a project of Hamline University, with support from the Metro Watershed Partners, a coalition of more than 70 public, private and nonprofit organizations committed to water resource education in the Twin Cities metro. For more information on how to adopt a drain or to become a supporting member, email the program at, visit or contact Larson at 651-523-2812.   

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