1.7.1 General Problems and Goals

The Board of Managers has identified 17 key problem areas impacting resources in the watershed and has developed general goals to address them through implementation of this Plan as well as other planning and management activities.  Table 3 summarizes these problems and goals, which are presented in more detail in each of the eleven subwatershed plans, along with specific policies and actions to address the problems and achieve the District's goals.

Table 3.  Seventeen key problem areas identified by the Board of Managers in the Minnehaha Creek watershed, and general goals and solutions.




Development and the creation of impervious surface degrades water quality if proper treatment is not provided, increases the quantity of stormwater runoff, reduces the quantity of groundwater recharge which creates a potential deficit within groundwater aquifers and decreases water quality within surface waters.

Abstraction.  Promote abstraction, such as infiltration of surface water, capture and reuse of stormwater, and increased evapotranspiration, where feasible for the purposes of improving water quality and increasing groundwater recharge throughout the watershed.



Human activity can degrade existing habitat and contribute to the loss of wildlife habitat quantity and quality affecting the overall ecological integrity of the resources within the MCWD.

Ecological Integrity.  Promote activities which maintain, support and enhance floral, faunal quantity and ecological integrity of upland and aquatic resources throughout the watershed.


Urbanization, increase in impervious surface, reduction in the quantity of wetland area, and increases in conveyance efficiency can adversely affect the quality of surface waters.

Water Quality.  Conserve, maintain and improve aesthetic, physical, chemical and biological composition of surface waters and groundwater within the District.


Non-point and point source discharges of pollutants into surface waters can inhibit human use of water resources as well as negatively affect public health and the environment.

Public Health.  Minimize the risks of threats to public health through the development of programs, plans and policies that improve the quality of surface and groundwater resources


Changes in land use, development, and increases in impervious surface can negatively affect surface water runoff through reduction in infiltration, increasing in peak values of runoff hydrographs, and increasing volumes of stormwater runoff; each of which can aggravate and create problems related to flooding, erosion and degradation.

Water Quantity.  Maintain or reduce existing flows from drainage within the watershed to decrease the negative effects of stormwater runoff and bounce from existing and proposed development as well as provide low flow augmentation to surface waters


Eroding shorelines and streambanks contribute to the degradation of water quality and can contribute adverse effects downstream; furthermore, improperly implemented and/or inappropriate stabilization practices reduce the natural function and qualities of streambanks and shorelines, and may potentially contribute adverse effects downstream.

Shorelines and Streambanks.  Conserve the natural appearance of shoreline areas and minimize degradation of surface water quality which can result from dredging operations.



MCWD contains water resources with which the recreational value of the resource is highly dependent on the opportunity for people to enjoy boating and canoeing; the recreational value of these resources is reduced by impedances to navigation. 

Navigation.  Maintain the hydraulic capacity of and minimize obstruction to navigation without compromising wildlife habitat in water courses and preserve water quality and navigation appearance in shoreland areas.


Development and creation of impervious surface contribute to the degradation of water quality and increase the quantity and rate of stormwater runoff which affect downstream receiving waters when not designed properly. 

Best Management Practices.  Improve water quality by promoting best management practices (BMP's) requiring their adoption in local plans and their implementation on development sites


Common activities conducted by citizens, developers, and public entities within MCWD have the potential to have an adverse effect on the quality and ecology of surface and ground waters; a need exists to promote stewardship and appreciation for the benefits of watersheds.

Education and Communications.  Enhance public participation and knowledge regarding District activities and provide informational and educational material to municipalities, community groups, businesses, schools, developers, contractors and individuals.



Public ditches historically function as conveyances of drainage for private property and local communities and also serve to prevent flooding, however, pubic ditches have substantially changed in form and function as the watershed has developed and maintenance of such features may run contrary to other District goals.

Public Ditches.  Maintain public ditch systems within the District as required under Statutory jurisdiction.



Wetlands are diminishing in quantity and quality throughout the watershed; wetlands serve essential functions in watershed management by maintaining water quality, providing wildlife habitat, recharging groundwater, creating recreational opportunities, complementing stormwater runoff management and augmenting low flows in drought periods.

Wetlands.  Conserve, create and restore wetland resources and maximize the benefits and functionality of wetlands to the watershed.


Issues related to groundwater flow, quality and quantity are affected by surface land use; groundwater is a significant source of drinking water for private wells and municipalities and aquifers must be protected for their value to communities; groundwater also serves to augment surface water levels through inflow and export which serves as a significant tool to mediate climatic fluctuations.

Groundwater.  Protect and maintain existing groundwater flow, promote groundwater recharge and improve groundwater quality and aquifer protection


Reduction of floodplain volume as a result of development and/or improper management contribute to increasingly higher critical water levels as well as risk to property and public safety; floodplains serve to reduce the frequency and severity of high water periods within the watershed.

Floodplains.  Reduce the severity and frequency of flooding and high water by preserving and increasing the existing water storage capacity below 100-year flood elevations on all waterbodies within MCWD.


Impaired waters, poor water quality, ecosystem degradation, and water quantity all influence the viability of waters as recreational resources; recreational enjoyment of water resources fosters a sense of stewardship over the resource and concern for its quality.

Recreation.  Promote the recreational use, where appropriate, of surface waters within MCWD by providing recreation opportunities for citizens by promoting the use and enjoyment of water resources with the intent of increasing the livability and quality of life within the watershed.


Erosion of soil and sediment transport have a detrimental effect on the quality of water, the quality of habitat, detention time within basins, and capacity of stormwater conveyances.

Erosion Control.  Control temporary sources of sediment resulting from land disturbance and identify, minimize and correct the effects of sedimentation from erosion-prone and sediment source areas.


Local municipal regulation alone oftentimes is unable to provide an acceptable standard of protection to regional natural resources that span multiple political boundaries

Regulation.  Promote effective planning to minimize the impact of development and land use change on water resources as well as achieve Watershed District Goals.


Citizens become disenfranchised with government when it is perceived that the opinion of individuals is insignificant; MCWD requires a structural forum for citizens within the Watershed District to provide constructive input to the MCWD Board of Managers for the Board to thoughtfully consider during decision making.

Public Input.  Solicit input from the general public with the intent that policies, projects and programs will address local community values and goals as well as protect historic and cultural values regarding water resources; strive to manage expectations; base decisions on an educated public; foster an educated and informed public within the watershed.