Walter J. Breckenridge Chapter
Izaak Walton League of America



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Dr. Walter J. Breckenridge


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Breckenridge Chapter Rain Garden Project

For many years we have been concerned about the erosion on the steep river bank of the Chapter House property. Over the years many “experts” have visited the site offering a variety of suggestions. All of the suggestions had one piece of advice in common: “Find a way to reduce the amount of runoff water that reaches the river bank.” Two years ago Hennepin County Environmental Services provided us with a grant of up to $5,000 to manage surface water runoff from the Chapter House roof and parking lot. The grant required us to match at least 25% of that amount and to have the plan approved by Hennepin County.  As of September of 2008 the total cost for the project is slightly more than $9,000.


Chapter member Larry LaFontaine owner of “Landscape Pro,” a local landscaping business, volunteered to oversee this project. He designed a rain garden and series of berms that would dramatically alter the amount of water reaching the river bank, turning surface water into groundwater. The project was approved in April of 2008 and soon after many volunteers began working creating the large rain garden, grading the parking lot, creating berms to divert surface water and spreading mulch to protect the thousands of native trees, shrubs and small plants that were planted in June and July.  With the help of an early watering program the plants have thrived.

Besides the large number of native plants this project required:

·       10 cubic yards of river rock

·       30 cubic yards of gravel

·       60 cubic yards of hardwood mulch

·       60 cubic yards of rain garden soil

·       108 cubic yards of black dirt

The project could not have been completed without more than 400 hours of volunteer time provided by members and friends of the Chapter. The volunteer time of three members was especially significant: Landscape designer Larry LaFontaine planned and help facilitate the entire project; Brad Larson and Dennis Leslie spent many hours with their Bobcats moving huge amounts of material.

 This project has made a wonderful improvement to the appearance of the Chapter House grounds. More importantly, it has already demonstrated that it will significantly deter the runoff and resulting erosion of the river bank.


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W. J. Breckenridge Chapter, IWLA
8816 West River Road
Brooklyn Park, MN 55444
763-561-5364 (Please leave message)