J. Drake Hamilton

"Minnesotans who live near a stream or a river or a wetland can take action right now. The best way to protect a river is to keep native vegetation in a buffer zone, a large buffer zone along that waterway. This means that any floodwaters that come the way of the river will be absorbed by that vegetation and buffered before they enter the riverway. By planting trees along waterways or keeping them there, we help shade the waterway and keep it cooler as the summer gets hotter. Even if you don't live right on a river or a wetland, the water, the rain that falls on your property ultimately will drain into a river and so actions that you take at your household can help improve the quality of our rivers here in Minnesota.

"For example in my own house, I live on a slope and the rainfall eventually would drain into the Mississippi River. What we've done on our property is to create a rain garden. We've actually landscaped a low spot with native plants which captures most of the large runoff events, so if there's an inch or two of rain that falls in a day, it's all absorbed right on our property in our raingarden and helps benefit those native plants and does not run off rapidly into the Mississippi River causing the flush of pollutants that you would normally get. The other side benefit to us, which we like very much, is that we've planted a plum tree that was developed at the University of Minnesota and it produces edible organic plums and we've won prizes at Minnesota's state fairs two years in a row. We're able to have an edible landscape that's also beautiful and protects the river. This is a way that people in their household can have a positive impact on climate change and just improve the quality of life for everyone around them."