Monday, April 27, 2009

Are you AMMPed up About Milfoil in Uptown's Lakes?

Are you worried about the impact of milfoil on our neighborhood’s lakes? Are you looking for an innovative solution to the problem? If so, check out the a Minneapolis Milfoil Project (AMMP) and start doing your part to end the milfoil invasion.

What is AMMP?
According to their website, AMMP’s mission is to “educate and encourage city residents and park visitors to take individual action through prayer or meditation to revitalize these water resources.” Or, as their tagline succinctly puts it, “acknowledge the Spirit of the Lakes and give thanks.”

AMMP’s track record
In 1999, two local experts conducted a “Feng Shui Exterior Chi Adjustment and Pipe Ceremony” in response to that summer’s excessively high levels of milfoil. Apparently it worked, as by 2000 the milfoil was gone.

It’s back…
The pipe ceremony held things off for a bit, but by 2002 the milfoil was back, and worse than ever. Barbara Bobrowitz of Energetic Alignments and Jeff Grundtner of Earth Spirits, the original leaders of the pipe ceremony, suggested that “the Spirit of the Lake was being ignored as a living organism. Hence the energy of the lakes was declining, deteriorating the lakes’ health and vibrancy. The energy around the lakes has become negative.”

What will it take to solve the problem?
According to AMMP, it will not be easy to bring forth the level of positive energy necessary to combat the milfoil. As a goalpost, they suggest that a minimum of five percent of Minneapolis residents need to actively participate in the project.

What can I do to help?
Pray, meditate, or give thanks to the Spirit of the Lake. Children are encouraged to draw pictures or write stories. If you want to make a contribution of money, time, or energy, you can do so by contacting AMMP directly. AMMP claims nonprofit status, but I was unable to verify that information; searches on GuideStar and the IRS’s website came up with nothing for a Minneapolis Milfoil Project or Project by Design (the name indicated as the paypal or check recipient). In other words, contact them directly to confirm their current 501 (c) (3) status if you plan on giving them a tax-deductible cash contribution.

Does it work?
Admittedly meditation and prayer are not my cup of tea, but what the heck, it can’t hurt. More importantly, at least from the perspective of a skeptic, is that taking the time to think about the lakes and their significance to the community is a good thing. It may not help the milfoil problem, but it can give us all a chance to appreciate the lakes for what they offer. If we’re lucky that will translate into finding practical solutions (beyond praying, I mean) for their problems, even if it’s something as small (but important) as picking up trash while you’re out on your next stroll around the lakes. And as for the feng shui pipe ceremony and the call for positive energy, well, it’s worth a shot. I salute AMMP for offering a creative solution to a vexing problem.


  1. Let's turn that cloud into a silver lining: Couldn't harvested milfoil be composted for fertilizer (think "Milfoilorganite"), thereby creating a profit center for the Park Board? Could milfoil be used to make ethanol or biodiesel fuel? Or sold as "lake salad greens" at Lunds? (Too bad there's so much fertilizer runoff in the lakes--milfoil wouldn't qualify as organic produce at the Wedge Co-op or Whole Foods.)