Focal geography: Six Mile Creek-Halsted Bay subwatershed
One of the hallmarks of our approach to watershed management is the “focal geography” – a commitment to focusing time and resources in a specific area in order to make significant, lasting improvement. The approach developed from our work in the formerly degraded stretch now known as the Minnehaha Creek Greenway, where we’ve worked since 2010 to build relationships and understand the goals of the communities and landowners in the area.
In 2015 the MCWD Board of Managers declared the Six Mile Creek-Halsted Bay subwatershed as our next focal geography, and since then we have worked to bring together the agencies and landowners in the area to find out where we can make water quality improvements that align with community goals.
This approach benefits more than just the residents of the subwatershed. This complex system of 14 lakes and hundreds of wetlands drains into Halsted Bay, which is among the most degraded bays in Lake Minnetonka. As the headwaters of the entire watershed, improvements to this system have benefits far downstream.
The area also poses great opportunity. It is currently the least developed subwatershed within MCWD but is undergoing rapid change, so the land use decisions made now will have lasting effects on the future of the region. By bringing landowners, developers and policymakers together, we are identifying opportunities to improve natural resources in ways that support vibrant, livable communities and achieve mutually beneficial goals.
We’ve convened the Six Mile/Halsted Bay Planning Partnership to ensure ongoing communication about plans, priorities and opportunities for collaboration in the region. The partnership committee has been briefed on water resource issues within the geography, have weighed in on local and agency priorities, and have helped shape the plan format and content.
The partners will continue to be involved as we identify, prioritize and implement projects in the subwatershed which may include large scale wetland restorations, carp management, in-lake and watershed phosphorus reduction actions, and others.