4.2 Ecological Integrity

MCWD Goal 2 - Ecological Integrity 

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

Discussion

Christmas Lake is the primary ecological resource in the subwatershed.  The Christmas Lake subwatershed also includes a number of wetlands with exceptional or high fish or wildlife habitat value as well as wetlands with exceptional or high vegetative diversity.  The Key Conservation Areas identified in Figure 19 of this plan include those wetlands as well as associated upland areas of high ecological value such as maple-basswood forest.  Within these conservation areas, wherever possible, the District would promote the conservation or establishment of native vegetation to increase or maintain infiltration rates; decrease or maintain runoff rates and pollutant conveyance to water resources; and minimize erosion of shorelines and streambanks.  Conservation of those associated upland areas not only provides additional habitat type, but also helps preserve local runoff and infiltration rates and surface water quality.   Sustaining or improving water quality and ecological integrity is necessary to meet the District goals in this plan as well as to meet state and federal nondegradation, water quality and biological integrity requirements and to prevent the need for future TMDLs.

Christmas Lake is home to a sport fishery.  There is some information on aquatic vegetation communities in the lake.  The primary strategies for sustaining or improving aquatic communities are the acquisition of new data such as shoreline vegetation surveys and management plans, and maintenance of water quality.  There are several wetlands in the subwatershed with exceptional or high vegetative diversity.  These would be inspected at least annually for invasive vegetative species.

Desired Outcomes: Functional and healthy ecological corridors and waters throughout the subwatershed.

Metrics:

  • Acres of land conserved in Key Conservation Areas
  • Acres of restored/created wetland within Key Conservation Areas

Goal 2.1 - Christmas Lake 

Maintain and improve overall ecological integrity within the subwatershed.

Actions

A.  Protect existing fish and wildlife habitat and promote the restoration of habitat areas and corridors by the conservation and restoration of key ecological areas (see Figure 19).

  1. Require LGUs to recognize Key Conservation Areas in their natural resources and land use planning and to identify in their Local Water Management plans how they intend to conserve their ecological values.
  2. Restore areas of degradation within key conservation areas.
  3. Provide education and training opportunities, technical and planning assistance, and financial incentives to LGUs to actively conserve key ecological areas.
  4. Work cooperatively with other agencies and organizations to improve upon existing conservation corridors and where practical, develop new conservation corridors to improve ecological integrity.

B.  Provide regulatory incentives for the preservation of undisturbed native vegetation as sites develop.

C.  Require MCWD review of and comment on preliminary plats and vegetation surveys.

Goal 2.2 - Christmas Lake

Maintain conditions suitable for a healthy and varied sport fish community within Christmas Lake.

Actions

  1. Work cooperatively with the DNR in Christmas Lake fishery management efforts, and request that fish surveys be conducted regularly.
  2. Maintain Christmas Lake water quality and clarity to maintain or improve habitat conditions.
  3. Manage aquatic vegetation in accordance with a vegetation management plan that takes into account fishery habitat requirements.

Goal 2.3 - Christmas Lake

Maintain a healthy aquatic vegetation community. 

Actions

  1. Utilize existing aquatic vegetation survey data for Christmas Lake but update that survey every five years.
  2. Develop and implement an aquatic vegetation management plan for Christmas Lake that evaluates options for the management of internal phosphorus loads as well as maintenance of the existing desirable aquatic vegetation community.
  3. Recruit and train volunteers to monitor aquatic vegetation in Christmas Lake on an ongoing basis.
  4. Develop and implement a plan to monitor wetlands with exceptional or high vegetative diversity for presence of exotic vegetative species.