1.7.2 General Solutions
Achieving the goals set forth in the subwatershed plans will require an integrated set of programs and projects oriented toward the conservation and improvement of water resources within the watershed. This Plan places an emphasis on the duty and responsibility for the ownership and management of runoff from both private and public property. Where possible, land use changes will require regulatory controls to limit and manage runoff. In areas where regulatory controls will not sufficiently address water resource concerns, this Plan will provide for public investment to address shared resource issues. Each subwatershed plan includes an Implementation Plan that sets forth in detail the activities that will be undertaken by various parties and identifies parties responsible for each activity. In general, those Implementation Plans include the following activities.
The District has operated a regulatory program since 1967. This permitting program includes requirements on development and redevelopment projects to implement water quantity and water quality controls to reduce impacts on downstream resources. Nonetheless, many of the lakes and streams in the watershed do not meet water quality or biotic integrity standards, and a majority of the wetlands exhibit degraded functions and values. Development in the watershed is expected to contribute additional stormwater volume and pollutant loads to downstream resources, further impacting those sensitive resources. The current regulatory program will not be sufficient to control these impacts. To mitigate these future impacts and to address other goals such as increased infiltration, wetland management, and improved ecological integrity, additional regulation will be necessary.
Additional regulatory controls on permitted development and redevelopment will be considered for most subwatersheds to increase pollutant load reduction requirements, add volume management and infiltration requirements, conserve natural resources, and implement wetland management in accordance with management classification. Regulations providing an incentive such as a volume reduction credit to developers to maintain undisturbed areas, to reforest, or to plant native vegetation will be considered.
Land Conservation Program
Conservation of high-value resources provides an opportunity to improve the characteristics of aquatic ecosystems, and can help address water quality, infiltration, volume management, and ecological integrity needs. Prior to the encroachment of additional development, the opportunity exists to conserve high value resources, maintain corridor connections between ecosystems in the watershed to improve water resources, conserve natural conveyances, and facilitate the movement and proliferation of native species as well as enhance recreational opportunities.
The District currently operates a Land Conservation Program that undertakes conservation activities ranging from assisting property owners in enrolling property in conservation programs to acquiring conservation easements or fee title over high value resources. This Plan identifies Key Conservation Areas in each subwatershed that contain valuable natural resources such as high-quality wetlands, minimally disturbed upland vegetation, and rare resources. Within these areas LGUs will be required to identify in their Local Plans strategies for conserving those high-value resources. Some of those areas have been identified as District Priority Areas where the District will continue to proactively investigate and implement opportunities to conserve key resources and to work cooperatively with other agencies and groups to accomplish conservation goals. District staff will provide technical assistance to the LGUs to support their accomplishment of program goals.
The District has undertaken a Functional Assessment of Wetlands to assess the current status of wetlands in the watershed. The functions and values of the wetlands were evaluated and each wetland has been assigned a Management Classification based on its current condition. This Plan proposes to regulate future impacts to wetlands based on those management classifications.
The District operates a watershed-wide Strategic Education and Communications program that provides general watershed education and outreach activities as well as targeted information to key stakeholder groups. These activities will be continued as a part of this Plan. To supplement these general activities, each subwatershed plan identifies targeted education and public involvement activities specific to meeting subwatershed goals. The Implementation Plan includes a mid-course opinion survey and stakeholder focus groups to update the Strategic Education and Communications Program as well as to fine-tune specific messages.
Monitoring and Data Collection
To monitor progress toward meeting water quality and quantity goals, routine monitoring of water quality and water quantity in lakes and streams in the watershed will continue to be a part of the District’s annual Hydrologic Data Program. The District’s efforts will be supplemented with data from the Metropolitan Council’s Citizen Assisted Lake Monitoring Program (CAMP), macroinvertebrate monitoring performed by volunteers through the Hennepin County RiverWatch program, and wetland monitoring through the Hennepin County Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP). In addition, the District will continue to undertake specialized or research-based monitoring intended to address special needs, diagnose specific problems, or explore research questions.
Operations and Maintenance
The District has undertaken a number of improvements in the watershed to date that require ongoing operations and maintenance to sustain their benefits. A number of new activities detailed in the subwatershed plans will require new operations and maintenance activities. These include:
- Annual inspection of erosion-prone reaches of streams to maintain conveyance capacity and identify erosion that could contribute sediment downstream or impede proper function of the channel.
- Routine inspection of ditches over which the District has jurisdictional responsibility.
- Inspection of wetlands with exceptional vegetative diversity for signs of invasive species encroachment.
- Routine inspection of ponds, outfalls, fish barriers, grade control devices, and outlet structures.
- Monitoring of sediment buildup in detention ponds.
- Vegetation management of wetland and other native plant restorations.
- Repair of any facilities found to need correction.
The ambitious goals and actions identified in this Plan will require the District to partner with other entities, including the Local Government Units (LGUs) within its jurisdiction.
Phosphorus Load Reduction
A number of the lakes within the watershed do not meet their water quality goals. The primary strategy for attaining those goals is to reduce phosphorus contributions to the lake from internal and external sources through a phosphorus load reduction plan. Some of that load reduction is expected to occur through the regulatory program and part from capital projects. However, the District expects the LGUs to participate in this by implementing actions to reduce part of the phosphorus load contributed by existing land uses. The LGU requirement in this Plan is a 15 percent reduction in loading from existing residential land use; 25 percent from agricultural land use; and 10 percent from other developed land use. This reduction can be accomplished through: application of BMPs such as additional street sweeping, local water quality ponds, rain gardens and infiltration swales, and agricultural BMPs that reduce erosion or treat runoff or drain tile discharge; prevention of future load increases through the conservation of lands previously identified for development; or achieving load removals in excess of the minimum required.
As another example, a key element in achieving overall ecological integrity goals in the watershed is the conservation of high value natural resources, including high-value wetlands and uplands. This Plan requires LGUs to identify the Key Conservation Areas identified in this Plan in their local water management plans, and must also identify strategies they will undertake to protect the ecological and hydrological values of resources in those areas. These may include such strategies as land use regulation; tree or natural resource conservation ordinances or policies; acquisition and management of land and/or conservation easements; and property owner education.
The HHPLS identified a number of issues related to management of landlocked basins, modeled high water locations, and areas with known or potential flow velocity or erosion issues. Local plans must identify strategies for addressing these concerns.
Capital Improvement Program
Each subwatershed plan sets forth a set of potential improvement projects that address the unique issues and needs of the subwatershed. In general, these projects include:
- Stormwater detention pond projects to treat runoff and reduce downstream pollutant loading.
- Lake internal load management projects, such as biomanipulation, hypolimnetic withdrawal, chemical treatment, and aquatic plant management to improve water quality and clarity and biologic integrity.
- Wetland restoration projects to increase wetland diversity and functions and values, to replace area lost in the past to filling and draining, and to achieve water quality goals.
- Land Conservation Program activities such as acquisition of conservation easements or fee title on key lands to conserve or restore their ecological values and proactively address ecologic integrity, water quality, and other goals of this Plan.
- Stream restoration projects to stabilize streambanks, improve buffers, and increase aquatic habitat.
- Regional infiltration projects to maintain surficial groundwater recharge patterns and maintain or improve stream baseflow.
- Maintenance projects such as the replacement of structures or pond dredging.