3.4 Ecological Integrity
- Much of the subwatershed is characterized by large open areas of forest, grasslands, and wetlands. Most of this open area has been incorporated into the Lake Minnewashta Regional Park or the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Wetland and associated upland areas with high ecological value are present and should be conserved and connected to preserve their values, create larger areas of ecological value, and connect existing resources.
- All four lakes are home to good to average quality fisheries, and water quality and vegetation management should be considered to maintain or improve those fisheries.
- Eurasian watermilfoil is a concern in both Lakes Minnewashta and Virginia. Because Lake St. Joe and Tamarack have limited access, they are at lower risk of infestation by that invasive species. Some curly leaf pondweed has been found in Minnewashta, increasing the need to monitor that lake for the potential in the future to control that invasive species.
- Corridor connections between Key Conservation areas (see Figure 19) should be conserved, enhanced and restored. Functioning corridors provide benefits to water quality, wildlife habitat as well as the general health of the ecosystem. Figure 19 identifies a corridor throughout the subwatershed which should be addressed through District efforts as well as local planning. The corridor functions to provide connectivity between resources in the subwatershed.