Appendix B

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District

Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan

Plan Development Process

 

 

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan 2007-2017 is the culmination of a several-year planning effort that incorporated an extensive public and technical planning process.  As detailed in Section 4.1 of the Plan, since 2000 the District has completed analyses of all its major hydrologic systems, including surface water quantity and quality modeling; water quality goal setting; stream assessments for Minnehaha Creek and the primary streams of the upper watershed; functions and values assessments of the wetland resources of the District; and a Visioning process to identify options and public preferences for the future management of Minnehaha Creek.  In addition, specialized studies on specific water resources have been conducted, including the Painter Creek Feasibility Study, the Stubbs Bay Feasibility Study, and the Gleason Lake Management Plan.    Most of these past planning efforts included an extensive public participation process.  This Plan integrates these past planning efforts into a long-range Management Plan for the watershed and the eleven subwatershed planning units.

The Hydrologic/Hydraulic and Pollutant Loading Study, or HHPLS, used an extensive public input process involving nearly 100 public meetings across the watershed to share modeling results, identify problems and gain input on appropriate approaches to addressing problems.  Participants in these Regional Teams included city staff, agency representatives, and citizens.   Most significantly, these public input sessions resulted in the development of new or refinement of existing water quality goals for 62 lakes or bays within the District.   That planning process and those goals form the foundation of this Plan.

As work began on this Plan, the Board of Managers met in a series of workshops to discuss various policy issues.  The Managers convened a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of City representatives and state and other agency staff to review and comment on these policy questions, assumptions, methods, and initial recommendations of the plans.  The TAC met seven times between May 2005 and January 2006, and discussed:

 

  • Performance Management Approach
  • Regulatory Integration
  • Land Conservation Program
  • Wetland Management Planning
  • Method for Calculating Ultimate Development
  • Method for Calculating LGU Phosphorus Load Reductions
  • Individual Subwatershed Plans

 

The Board of Managers also convened a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) of interested citizens appointed by their cities of residence to review and comment on policy questions and to provide advice and perspective on prioritizing resources.  This CAC was a separate body from the Board’s standing CAC, although there was overlap between members.  The CAC met initially five times to obtain background information on topics similar to those covered by the TAC, then met several more times to review the draft subwatershed plans and to prioritize the water resources and issues in each subwatershed.

 

District staff periodically sent email updates to an extensive email correspondence list advising interested parties as to the status of the planning process and how they could provide input.  Planning drafts of the subwatershed plans were also posted on the District’s Web site for public review and comment.

 

 

Formal Review Process

 

Minnesota State Statute 103B.231 provides a specific formal review process that includes the following milestones:

  1. 60-day release of the DRAFT Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan for review and comment to counties, the Metropolitan Council, State review agencies, the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, towns and statutory and home rule charter cities.
  2. Response in writing to comments received from the organizations noted above within 30-days of close of comment period
  3. Watershed District public hearing on the DRAFT Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan
  4. Revision of DRAFT Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan and release of the FINAL Plan to Metropolitan Council, State review agencies and the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources
  5. Final approval by the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources
  6. Adoption of the FINAL Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan by Watershed District

On September 21, 2006 the MCWD Board of Managers approved the DRAFT Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan for release.  The DRAFT Plan was submitted directly via electronic copy on compact disc to fifty-three different public and private organizations, posted on the MCWD website for download and a hard copy was made available for the public review at the MCWD offices.  Individuals requesting personal copies of the DRAFT Plan were also forwarded CD copies.

 

During the 60-day review period between September 21, 2006 and November 21, 2006, MCWD held four informational briefings at different locations throughout the watershed including Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Mound, and the MCWD offices.  Meetings consisted of a presentation by MCWD staff providing an overview of the DRAFT Plan components followed by a question and answer period.  Meetings were generally well attended and hosted approximately 90 individuals representing various organizations as well as members of the community.  As follow-up to the briefing meetings, MCWD provided presentations to two cities within the watershed at the request of city staff.

 

MCWD officially closed the 60-day review period following November 21, 2006.  In total, MCWD received comments from thirty-two different organizations and individuals, nineteen of which were statutory review organizations (State review, agencies, cities, counties, etc.).  MCWD provided response to all comments received by December 21, 2006.

 

On December 21, 2006, MCWD held a public hearing to allow for direct input from the general public on the DRAFT Plan and to discuss changes to the Plan as a result of the comments received during the review period.  Unfortunately, this meeting, while well-attended, coincided with a bout of bad winter weather and the MCWD Board of Managers resolved to continue the public hearing until January 18, 2007 to allow unable to attend the meeting an opportunity to be present at a future public hearing.  On January 18, 2007, the MCWD Board of Managers reopened the public hearing to hear comment and testimony regarding the DRAFT Plan.  Upon closing of the public hearing and a discussion by the Board, it was resolved to authorize the release of a FINAL MCWD Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan conditional upon updating the DRAFT Plan with a list of specific changes.

 

Upon competing that update, the FINAL MCWD Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan was submitted to the Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) for its final, 45-day review.  The BWSR transmitted copies to the state review agencies for final review.   On June 11, 2007 the BWSR Metro Water Planning Committee reviewed the FINAL Plan and recommended to the full BWSR Board that it be approved.  On June 27, 2007, the Board of Water & soil Resources reviewed and approved the FINAL Plan.

 

On July 5, 2007, the MCWD Board of Managers adopted the FINAL plan.

 

Attached to this summary:

  • Comments received during the 60-day review period and written MCWD responses to those comments
  • MCWD Board of Managers meeting minutes for public hearings on December 21, 2006 and January 18, 2007
  • Copies of additional written correspondence received on or before the dates of the public hearings
  • List of review organizations and persons and organizations that provided comments on the DRAFT Plan
  • Errata corrected and substantive changes made to the DRAFT Plan in response to comments received
  • Comments on the FINAL Plan received from review agencies
  • Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources Order Approving Watershed Management Plan