2.5.4 Wetlands

Approximately 31 percent of the land area within the Painter Creek subwatershed is shown on the National Wetland Inventory as wetland (see Table 6 ). 

Table 6.  National Wetlands Inventory wetlands in the Painter Creek subwatershed.

Circular 39 Type

Area (acres)

Cowardin Class

Area (acres)

Seasonal

12.4

Emergent

1,799.7

Wet Meadow

39.0

Forested

230.9

Shallow Marsh

1,757.7

Scrub Shrub

237.1

Deep Marsh

23.8

Unconsolidated Bottom

298.2

Open Water

275.1

 

 

Scrub Shrub

237.1

 

 

Forested

230.9

 

 

TOTAL

2,576.0

 

2,576.0

Source: Minnesota DNR.

In 2001-2003 the District undertook a Functional Assessment of Wetlands (FAW) on all wetlands greater than one-quarter acre in size.  This assessment used a variant of the Minnesota Routine Assessment Method.  In contrast to Table 6 above, which shows wetland acreage and type from the National Wetlands Inventory completed in the 1980s, Table 7 below shows the acreage and type as assessed in the field.   Using the results of that analysis, individual wetlands were assigned to one of four categories – Preserve, and Manage 1, 2, or 3 (see Figure 12 and Table 8).  Wetlands that were evaluated as Exceptional or High on certain ecological or hydrologic values were assigned to the Preserve category.  The balance of evaluated wetlands were assigned to a category based on this assessment of current functions and values, with Manage 1 wetlands exhibiting higher values and Manage 2 and 3 moderate or lower values.   Refer to the Functional Assessment of Wetlands (2003) for details of methodology, classification, and management recommendations.

Table 7.  Dominant wetland type in the Painter Creek subwatershed as assessed in the Functional Assessment of Wetlands. 

Circular 39 Type

Area (acres)

Seasonal

454.9

Wet Meadow

534.5

Shallow Marsh

1266.6

Deep Marsh

33.0

Open Water

44.5

Scrub Shrub

229.8

Forested

63.1

Lakes

286.0

Not typed

8.4

TOTAL

2,920.8

Note: Based on field assessment.  Excludes those areas determined in the field not to be wetlands, and stormwater ponds clearly excavated out of upland.   Includes some small areas that were not field assessed.

Source: MCWD 2003 Functional Assessment of Wetlands.  See Figure 11.

Table 8.  Wetland management classifications of wetlands in the Painter Creek subwatershed as determined in the Functional Assessment of Wetlands.

Classification

Number

Area (acres)

% of total

Preserve

54

1,307.7

47.1

Manage 1

91

362.7

13.8

Manage 2

169

696.6

25.1

Manage 3

157

388.1

14.0

TOTAL

 471

2,755.1

 

Note:  The FAW excluded large lakes and wetlands less than ¼ acre in size; those areas are included in the NWI, so total will not match Tables 6 or 7.

Source: MCWD 2003 Functional Assessment of Wetlands.  See Figure 12.

The Painter Creek subwatershed has a large number of wetlands of various sizes distributed across the landscape, including several very large wetlands.  Many scored highly on vegetative diversity, fish and wildlife habitat, or aesthetics (see Figure 13).   Some of the wetlands were also evaluated for restoration potential.  Factors considered were the ease with which the wetland could be restored, the number of landowners within the historic basin, the size of the potential restoration area, the potential for establishing buffer areas or water quality ponding, and the extent and type of hydrologic alteration.  Several wetlands of moderate or high restoration potential are located throughout the subwatershed, including wetlands through which Painter Creek flows (see Figure 14).