6.4 Monitoring and Data Collection
Monitoring and data collection will be crucial to determining the effectiveness of the District’s ongoing management and improvement strategies. Each subwatershed plan includes individualized goals for its resources, and metrics against which the Managers will evaluate progress. Meeting many of the in-lake total phosphorus goals will require aggressive nutrient reductions, and implementation will be conducted using adaptive management principles. Adaptive management is appropriate because it is difficult to predict the lake response that will occur. Future technological advances may alter the course of actions detailed in this plan. Continued monitoring and “course corrections” responding to monitoring results are the most appropriate strategy for attaining the various goals established in this Plan.
Hydrologic Data Program
Routine monitoring of water quality and water quantity will continue to be a part of the District’s annual Hydrologic Data program. Subwatershed plans indicate where additional baseline or other water quality data is required. For the most part, additional data would be obtained through the Citizen Assisted Monitoring Program (CAMP) or through satellite assessments of water quality. Additional analysis is required for some lakes to determine or to refine lake bathymetry.
The District’s annual Hydrologic Data Report was reformatted in 2006 and will continue to be refined to more closely link goals, monitoring results, and District actions and to evaluate progress toward those goals through individual Lake and Stream Management Plans.
Lake aquatic plant monitoring provides information needed to manage aquatic plants, evaluate control measures, and plan for future actions. This monitoring is especially useful as water quality management activities are implemented and plant communities change in response to changing water quality. In some lakes with significant internal phosphorus load issues, aquatic vegetation may be a contributor to excessive phosphorus loads. Prior to implementing internal load management projects, an aquatic plant survey would be conducted as an essential part of a diagnostic and feasibility study. In other lakes, especially shallow lakes, aquatic vegetation surveys may be conducted and an aquatic vegetation management plan developed to assist in overall lake and fishery management. Initial surveys may be conducted by staff or professionals; ongoing monitoring may be conducted by trained volunteers.
The stream assessments conducted on Minnehaha Creek and the upper watershed streams in 2004 included macroinvertebrate collection to help assess the ecological integrity of the streams. Some reaches of Minnehaha Creek have also been monitored as part of the Hennepin County RiverWatch program. A healthy macroinvertebrate community, as measured by the Macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (M-IBI), may indicate that water quality, water flow, and habitat is sufficiently available to sustain aquatic life. The Hydrologic Data Program will continue to rely on annual volunteer monitoring in Minnehaha Creek, while updating all streams every three years. The long-term goal for Minnehaha Creek and the upper watershed streams is to provide conditions necessary to support an M-IBI above the state’s threshold for biotic impairment.
Wetlands with exceptional value vegetation are present in almost every subwatershed. Because of the importance to overall ecological integrity of preserving these values, these wetlands will be regularly monitored for invasive species by staff or trained volunteers.
To evaluate the impact of development as well as regulation intended to protect groundwater resources, a small network of surficial groundwater monitoring wells would be utilized to evaluate trends in surficial groundwater aquifer levels over time. Periodic inspection of groundwater-sensitive resources such as tamarack swamps may be useful provided they are easily accessible and are located in the vicinity of where impacts might be expected to occur. It is not known what long-term impact on groundwater quality could result from increased localized infiltration from impervious surfaces. Baseline and periodic groundwater water quality sampling would be conducted on this surficial well network to monitor for trends. The USGS or other agencies may be interested in partnering with the District on this monitoring.
The Capital Improvement Program includes funding to update the suite of special studies that serve as the basis for the District’s management planning. It also includes additional special studies to enhance the Manager’s understanding of problems and issues in the watershed and to refine management planning. These special studies include:
- Updating the Hydrologic, Hydraulic, and Pollutant Loading Study (HHPLS).
- Updating the Functional Assessment of Wetlands.
- Updating the stream assessments for Minnehaha Creek, Long Lake Creek, Gleason Lake Creek, Classen Creek, Painter Creek, and Six Mile Creek.
- Conducting a survey of first order streams and assessing their general condition.
- Developing a Water Quality Index that includes such factors as water chemistry, clarity, ecological value, human use, and aesthetics.
- Developing a Conservation Plan that identifies key species, evaluates habitat in the watershed, and develops conservation strategies to conserve and protect ecologic integrity.
- Continuing to support academic-oriented research that complements District goals and/or advances the Managers’ understanding of problems and issues in the watershed.