4.2 Ecological Integrity

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

The Langdon Lake subwatershed is notable for its ecological resources and large wetlands.  The northwestern part of the subwatershed, which includes several areas of high-value woods, grassland, and wetland, has been acquired by the Three Rivers Park District and incorporated into Gale Woods Regional Park.  Parts of the subwatershed are located in an MCWD, local or regional conservation corridor.   

Connected corridors are desirable as they provide a variety of habitats both aquatic and terrestrial as well as protected areas for passage.  Within these conservation areas wherever possible the District would preserve or establish 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.  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 and water quality requirements and to prevent the need for future TMDLs.

The Langdon Lake subwatershed includes several 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 this plan include those wetlands as well as associated upland areas of high ecological value such as maple-basswood forest.  Conservation of those associated upland areas not only provides additional habitat type, but also helps preserve local runoff and infiltration rates.  The plan identifies areas within the Gale Woods Regional Park for conservation and coordination between the Three Rivers Park District, the MCWD, and other interested parties will be important to protecting and improving Black Lake and other resources.  The railroad corridor that bisects the subwatershed is an ecological barrier, but has been acquired by Hennepin County with the intended short-term use as a trail and long-term as a light rail corridor.  Coordination with Hennepin County will be necessary to capitalize on conservation opportunities provided by trail development.  

Langdon Lake itself is a primary ecological resource.  There is little information on aquatic vegetation communities in Langdon Lake.  The fishery is limited by poor water quality and lack of clarity in the lake.  The primary strategies for improving aquatic communities are the acquisition of new data such as vegetation surveys and management plans, and improvement of water quality.  There are several wetlands in the subwatershed with exception 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 - Langdon Lake

Maintain and improve overall ecological integrity within the subwatershed.

Actions

  1. Continue Land Conservation Program efforts to proactively seek out conservation opportunities in areas identified in this plan as priority areas.
  2. 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. Provide education and training opportunities, technical and planning assistance, and financial incentives to LGUs to actively conserve key ecological areas.
    3. Restore areas of degradation within key conservation areas.
    4. Work cooperatively with other agencies and organizations to improve upon existing conservation corridors and where practical, develop new conservation corridors, such as along the old rail corridor to link Langdon Lake to Saunders/Black Lakes, Gale Woods, and the conservation corridor within the Dutch Lake subwatershed to the north.
  3. Identify keystone, umbrella, and indicator species to serve as indicators of ecological integrity, evaluate existing habitat within the subwatershed, and develop strategies for the conservation of that habitat.
  4. Work with Three Rivers Park District and Hennepin County to develop ways to increase ecological connectivity across the railroad corridor.
  5. Provide regulatory incentives for the preservation of undisturbed native vegetation as sites develop.
  6. Require MCWD review of and comment on preliminary plats and vegetation surveys.
  7. Require submittal of a Natural Resources Inventory and Conservation Plan as a condition of permit approval.

Goal 2.2 - Langdon Lake

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

Actions

  1. Work cooperatively with the DNR in Langdon Lake fishery management efforts, and request more frequent fish surveys.
  2. Achieve Langdon Lake water quality and clarity goals 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 - Langdon Lake

 Maintain a healthy aquatic vegetation community.

Actions

  1. Perform a baseline survey of aquatic vegetation in Langdon Lake and update that survey every five years.
  2. Develop and implement an aquatic vegetation management plan for Langdon Lake that evaluates and implements options for the management of internal phosphorus loads as well as maintenance of a desirable aquatic vegetation community.
  3. Recruit and train volunteers to monitor aquatic vegetation in Langdon 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.