6.2.1 Relationship to District Goals

Conservation activities within the Key Conservation areas would address the 17 goals established by the MCWD Board in the following general ways:

Abstraction

Promote infiltration through the conservation of minimally-disturbed uplands to preserve existing infiltration rates, especially in areas adjacent to discharge wetlands.

Ecological Integrity

Protect and improve overall ecological integrity by conserving high-value natural resources in the subwatershed, such as wetlands identified in the FAW as having exceptional or high values, or areas identified by the Minnesota County Biological Survey as high value.  While small patches of high value are important especially if they connect other high value resources, the focus is on conserving large tracts of minimally-disturbed land with corridors providing connected habitat and protected places for wildlife movement.

Water Quality

Protect water quality in lakes by limiting increases in runoff volumes and associated pollutant loading through the conservation of minimally-disturbed uplands to preserve existing infiltration and evapotranspiration rates.  Protect water quality in streams by promoting stream buffers to reduce direct runoff and protect the hyporheic zone adjacent to the stream.   Protect water quality in wetlands through differential regulation requiring a higher regulatory standard for wetlands in Key Conservation Areas.

Public Health

Assist in maintaining vegetated shorelines and streambanks by providing for the creation or preservation of stream buffers that reduce direct runoff, minimize waterfowl impacts, and provide opportunities for improved riparian zone management.

Water Quantity

Minimize increases in runoff volumes by preserving infiltration and evapotranspiration through the conservation of large tracts of wooded areas and other minimally disturbed native vegetation.

Shorelines and Streambanks

Assist in the protection and stabilization of streambanks by providing for the creation or preservation of stream buffers that reduce direct runoff and provide opportunities for improved riparian zone management.

Navigation

Assist in the protection and stabilization of streambanks by providing for the creation or preservation of stream buffers that reduce direct runoff and provide opportunities for improved riparian zone management. protecting existing stream passages; and

BMPs

Land conservation in itself is a BMP that could preserve existing infiltration rates and limit increases in runoff volumes and associated pollutant loading.  Conservation activities such as native vegetation conservation or reestablishment, tree ordinances limiting tree removals or requiring reforestation, and buffer requirements are all examples of how development and redevelopment can incorporate natural resources conservation in ways that help reduce downstream impacts of land-altering activities.

Education & Communication

Land conservation activities provide an opportunity to educate the public, elected and appointed officials, developers, LGU staff, and other stakeholders regarding the linkage between land use and status of water and ecological resources.

Ditches

Assist in the protection and stabilization of streambanks by providing for the creation or preservation of stream buffers that reduce direct runoff and provide opportunities for improved riparian zone management.

Wetlands

Protect and conserve the functions and values of the highest-quality wetlands; conserve and restore wetlands with high restoration potential to minimize further degradation; conserve high-value uplands adjacent to wetlands to serve as buffers and to preserve infiltration and hydrologic regime; and conserve flow-through wetlands to assist in buffering streams and to provide connected habitat.

Groundwater

Protect sensitive aquifer areas by requiring a higher standard of wetland management in those areas.  Promote surficial groundwater recharge through conservation of existing infiltration areas.

Floodplains

Preserve stormwater storage through the conservation of wetlands and floodplain in buffer areas adjacent to streams.

Recreation

Enhance recreation opportunities by creating connected corridors and conserving wetlands with high aesthetic value.  By potentially reducing downstream pollutant loading and new stormwater volumes, prevent further degradation of downstream water resources. 

Erosion control

Assist in the protection and stabilization of streambanks by providing for the creation or preservation of stream buffers that reduce direct runoff and provide opportunities for improved riparian zone management.

Regulation

District rules would be used to regulate certain impacts, such as wetland regulation by management classification, requiring natural resource plans as part of stormwater planning, and early consultation in the development process to assure that natural resource planning is considered in the selection of BMPs.

Public input

No specific impact.

District efforts in priority areas will be complemented by local conservation efforts in all Key areas.  As a requirement of this Plan, LGUs must identify in their local water management plans the Key Conservation Areas identified in each subwatershed plan and on Figure 33.  The local plan must also identify strategies the LGU will undertake to protect the ecological and hydrological values of those areas.  These may include such strategies as land use regulation; acquisition and management; and property owner education regarding land management strategies to maintain ecological integrity.  The District will provide technical assistance to the LGUs to support their efforts to accomplish conservation to help attain the District's and their own local conservation and natural resources management goals.