Only Rain Down the Drain!  That’s the message behind a binational storm drain stenciling project this past summer.  Our Foundation's Watershed Coordination Program engaged youth and the communities of Fort Frances and Kenora, Ontario and International Falls, Minnesota to paint messages beside storm drains next to Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River.  The messages are reminders to take care of what goes into those storm drains.

Storm drains in Fort Frances and Kenora, Ontario and International Falls, Minnesota got a face lift this summer! As part of a binational initiative to raise awareness of water quality stewardship in the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed, these communities came together to place messages beside storm drains that drain directly into the Rainy River or Lake of the Woods. The message was clear: “Dump No Waste, Drains to River” and “A Healthy Lake Starts Here”. Together, over 150 storm drains were painted and approximately 130 youths took part in painting them.

What goes down the drain, goes to the river or lake and we need to keep things like soaps from car washing, fertilizers, oils, etc. out of these drains. Many communities in Canada and the U.S. have similar stencils or have installed permanent markers. These projects were a success because partners were willing to donate time, money and materials to make the stencils, buy the road paint and design door hangers to hang on residential doors to let people know about the project. High school shop class students and private businesses helped make the stencils and school-aged children, along with teachers, applied them.

Partners involved in these three projects included the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, the Lake of the Woods District Property Owners Association, the cities of Kenora, International Falls and town of Fort Frances, Riverview Industries, Koochiching Soil and Water Conservation District, local schools in the communities and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Prior to going out to paint, the students also learned about watersheds and pollution by taking part in an interactive 3D model demonstration.

For more information, please contact Kelli Saunders at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..