Best Management Practices

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Best Management Practice (BMP) is a term used to describe methods that are used to minimize or prevent water pollution. In the world of stormwater management, BMPs are used to reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff and to improve the quality of stormwater runoff.

In this section:

Examples of BMPs 

The list below is just a small sample of the many different options for stormwater best management practices.

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Educational Materials

The City of Rochester creates and distributes a variety of educational materials to help prevent illicit discharges and encourage stormwater best management practices to be installed.

Topics include:

  • Stormwater Management
  • Native Plantings in Rochester
  • Rain Gardens
  • Pet Waste
  • Rain Barrels
  • Stormwater Activity Book for Children
  • Lawn Care Practices
  • Calcareous Fens

Contact 328-2440 or email Stephanie for more information about what educational materials are available. 

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Stormwater Ponds, Infiltration Basins, & Infiltration Trenches

Stormwater ponds, infiltration basins, and infiltration trenches constructed for the purpose of capturing and storing stormwater runoff. Capturing water in a pond, basin, or trench will help mitigate water quantity or quality issues downstream. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, these BMPs remove pollutants from incoming stormwater runoff through physical, biological, and chemical processes.

Infiltration trenches are long, narrow, shallow trenches with very permeable soils or rock that encourage groundwater recharge. The water captured in infiltration trenches is stored out-of-sight in the soils while it soaks into the ground. Stormwater ponds and infiltration basins can store water for an extended period of time (a "wet pond") or  store water temporarily (a "dry pond"). The City of Rochester owns and maintains over 140 ponds. The remaining 200+ ponds located within the city limits are owned and maintained by various entities, including: private businesses, the State of Minnesota, and Olmsted County.

Learn more about the Adopt-A-Stormwater Pond program.

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Native Vegetation, Bioswales, & Rain Gardens

Trees, grasses, and wildflowers that existed in Minnesota prior to the arrival of European settlement (pre 1850s) are adapted to thrive in this area. Native grasses and wildflowers have deep, extensive root systems that hold the soil in place and prevent erosion. The roots also help pull water into the ground rather than let it run off the landscape. Native vegetation also provides habitat and food for native wildlife.

A bioswale is formed when the landscape covered is intentionally shaped into a shallow channel that collects stormwater and allows it to infiltrate into the soil, typically within 24-48 hours. Bioswales are planted with native vegetation that increase the infiltration rates of the stormwater management feature. These stormwater management features can be used to direct stormwater to other BMPs.

A rain garden is a carefully planned depression in the landscape that collects rainwater and snowmelt. The garden will capture stormwater and allow it to soak into the ground with 24-48 hours. Rain gardens can be any size or shape and can easily integrate into landscaping plans.

Learn more about native landscaping and vegetation.

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BMP Nuisances

  • Litter and debris
    Tree branches, sediments, garbage, and debris of other sorts can block stormwater BMPs and prevent them from functioning. Proper disposal of yard waste and garbage by residents can help prevent this nuisance issue. The public can also help reduce the impacts of litter and debris on stormwater BMPs by participating in the annual Help Make Rochester A Litter Bit Better! clean-up event or signing up for the Adopt-A-Stormwater Pond program.
  • Mosquitos
    Summer in Minnesota is known for many things, one of which is mosquitos. Often times residents are concerned about the potential for stormwater ponds to breed disease-bearing mosquitos. Ironically, the conditions mosquitos prefer to breed in are more prevalent in our own backyards than they are in wetlands or stormwater ponds. Learn more about Rochester's Stormwater Ponds and Mosquitos.
  • Vegetation
    Native plants have deep, extensive root systems that encourage water to soak into the ground, prevent erosion by stabilizing the soils, and make the plants drought resistant. These same plants also provide excellent habitat for butterflies, songbirds, and other wildlife. Maintenance needs for native vegetation include mowing, burning, and spot-spraying weeds. The City of Rochester hires contractors to perform necessary maintenance on an annual and as-needed basis.

To report a concern about a stormwater management BMP, please contact Rochester Public Works at 328-2431 or email Mike.

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