6.1.4 Regulation for Wetland Management

In 2003 the District completed a Functional Assessment of Wetlands that assigned wetlands in the watershed to a management classification based on existing conditions.  The District will consider amending the wetland regulatory program to manage wetlands on the basis of that classification.  In such a scenario, the level of regulatory protection would be commensurate with the quality of the wetland as determined by the Management Classifications identified in the Functional Assessment of Wetlands Report.

One of the values of linking regulation to wetland classification is that there is recognition of the varying functions and values of wetlands within a landscape.  Some wetlands within the District are minimally disturbed, exhibit exceptional habitat and diversity functions and values, and should be protected as much as possible from further impacts from development.  Other wetlands play a vital role in providing stormwater storage and treatment to help preserve water quality in a downstream resource such as a lake, stream, or another wetland, and over time this function may have led to a lower diversity of vegetation, or other characteristics of stressed or degraded wetlands.  These wetlands should be protected from further degradation as much as possible, while at the same time preserving their function.

Wetland regulation based on management classification links the management standard to the characteristics of the resource.  Wetlands that exhibit the highest level of functions and values would be protected at a much higher level to conserve those functions and values.  Wetlands that exhibit lower functions and values would still be protected, but at a lesser level, allowing some flexibility where impacts to a degraded wetland may protect a downstream resource.  This Plan recommends the following options for consideration in regards to future regulatory requirements:

  1. Amend existing or establish new District rules requiring submittal of a functions and values assessment for all proposed wetland impacts requiring a permit; mitigation of all fill in Preserve category wetlands; and specifying by management classification stormwater discharge pretreatment, buffer, hydroperiod, and other wetland standards for future development, redevelopment, or wetland-impacting activities.
  2. Require pretreatment of stormwater discharged to wetlands or infiltration areas in the areas of high aquifer sensitivity.

Table 20 below details the recommended management standards for wetlands based on management classification as developed by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR 2004) in the development of the wetland functions and values instrument, the Minnesota Routine Assessment Method (MnRAM) Version 3.0. The District will consider these standards and all other reputable sources when considering Rules and Standards related to wetland management.