Buffer studies by the MN Pollution Control Agency and others show that a 50’ strip of permanent vegetation along lakes, streams, and wetland reduces the volume of runoff and the quantity of pollutants entering those waters, helping to protect and restore water quality and healthy aquatic life, natural stream functions and aquatic habitat. Buffers do not solve every water-quality problem and can/should be narrower or wider depending on specific circumstances. Increasing the number and width of buffers is a current focus of effort by Minnesota state agencies. Target buffer widths are 50 feet on lands adjacent to public waters and 16.5 feet on lands adjacent to public ditches.
Gathering and reporting, in a pithy format, water quality data is a first step in setting improvement targets. This work can be augmented through the state's citizen volunteer monitoring programs for lakes and rivers. The State of the River Report for the metro Mississippi River provides a template for a much more limited but publicly accessible report that a city, in concert with allied water organizations, could periodically produce. See BPA 19.1 for additional resources.
Organizations with which to work include a Lake Improvement District, a watershed district, a watershed management organization, a Soil and Water Conservation District, the county water planning office, a county ditch authority, Minnesota Extension, MN Dept. of Natural Resource, MN Pollution Control Agency, and Minnesota Waters.
Lake improvement targets include measures such as trophic state, pollutant levels (including TMDLs), storm/ditch drainages, health measures, water levels, groundwater levels, invasive species, public access standards, noise pollution,noise rules, and recreational carrying capacity. See a 2003 carrying capacity study from Wisconsin's Lake Ripley.
The NEMO program (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) lists two dozen staff who are available to work with cities.
Work with other organizations to determine quantitative/qualitative targets for lakes, streams, wetlands. Report routine water quality/clarity sampling under BPA 19.1.
Report at least annually to community members on targets - which must include more than TMDLs - and the status of achieving them. Report use of citizen volunteer lake/stream monitors and the Wetland Health Evaluation Program volunteer monitors.
Report % of lake, river, wetland and ditch shoreline with at least a 50' vegetation buffer; report at least three years improvements toward the targets.
Who's doing it
Burnsville - 2 star
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The City of Burnsville participates with the cities of Apple Valley, Lakeville, Eagan and Savage on the Black Dog Water Management Organization (BDWMO).
The organization is active with surface water management issues in the areas of these cities covered by the BDWMO. The BDWMO covers 17,730 acres or 27.7 sq. miles and 72% of the watershed lies within the City of Burnsville.
The City of Burnsville also has participants in CAMP. The Citizen-Assisted Monitoring Program (CAMP) is an Metropolitan Council Environmental Services--managed program for which citizen volunteers monitor the water quality of Twin Cities metro area. A total of 160 CAMP lakes were monitored in 2005.
In Burnsville, the following lakes are monitored: Alimagnet, Crystal, Earley, Keller, (South) Twin, Wood, and Sunset Pond. On a bi-weekly basis (April-October), each volunteer collects a surface water sample for laboratory analysis of total phosphorus, nitrogen, and chlorophyll-a, obtains a Secchi transparency measurement, and provides some user perception information about the lake's physical and recreational condition. The main purpose of CAMP is to provide the City with water quality information that will not only help us properly manage these resources, but will also help document water quality impacts and trends. Volunteers also increase their awareness of their lake's condition and some are even compelled to take a more active approach in protecting and managing their lakes.
For over nine years, Burnsville citizen volunteers have monitored wetlands through the Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP), a nationally recognized program that operates primarily in Dakota and Hennepin Counties. Through the program, volunteer groups collect vital information about wetland health, including biological indicators such as vegetation and macroinvertebrates (tiny animals without backbones). Because of the programs strong protocol design and training, WHEP has been extremely successful at providing quality data to Burnsville and to the Pollution Control Agency. It also provides a unique educational experience for volunteers of all levels. For more information, visit the WHEP website.
The City of Burnsville also works with Lake Associations within Burnsville to determine water quality goals.
The water "grades", clarity levels, and other goals can be found in the Water Resources Management Plan attached. Additionally, the City publishes the status of water resources annually in the city newsletter, and also provides updates to the lake associations and watershed organizations.
The City of Fergus Falls has been involved in a comprehensive plan for Lake Alice for a number of years. Interstate Engineering has been working with the city to develop targets for the water improvements and holds public meetings to report on their findings and take in public input.
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
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Year action initially completed: 1998
In 1998 , the Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee adopted the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Water Quality Standards of the Fond du Lac Reservation (Ordinance #12/98). This set contaminant criteria and designated uses for the lakes and streams within FDL's boarders. The U.S EPA approved these water quality standards in 2001.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
To implement these standards, the FDL Environmental Program designed a comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring Program, which included a three year baseline monitoring project and is designed to assess indicators for both environmental and human health.
The City of Lakeville works closely with its neighboring cities and with both the Black Dog Water Management Organization and the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization on surface water management issues and solutions.
In Lakeville, a 21-year involvement in the Citizen Assisted Monitoring Program allows the City monitor six lakes, Marion, Orchard, Kingsley, Valley, and East, on a bi-weekly basis to track water quality trends. Samples collected by local residents and staff are analyzed for various indicators of algae growth potential; surface water temperature and water transparency are also observed. This information provides the City with water quality data to use in properly managing surface water resources and serves to document water quality impacts and trends. Grades assigned by the Metropolitan Council are reported to the City annually.
The City also conducts annual studies on Marion, Lee, Orchard, and Valley lakes to monitor water quality, aquatic plants, and fish communities. The results are published annually to increase awareness of plant species and allow for a faster response to aquatic invasive species. Water reuse ponds a King Park are also included in this monitoring for chlorides, phosphorous, and bacteria to ensure that the water used in playing field irrigation does not harm aquatic organisms, promote algae growth, or adversely affect the recreational use of the park.
The City has also sponsored the Wetland Health and Evaluation Program since 2002 to provide educational opportunities and training for residents to collect data by using bio-indicators to evaluate wetlands throughout the City.
Since 1993, the City of Minnetonka has implemented a water quality monitoring program that includes routine monitoring of approximately 20 water bodies on a three-year cycle. Under the current program the monitoring data is evaluated and compared to established goals and standards. However, the monitoring program did not take the program a step further to identify BMPs to protect water quality. Recently, the City of Minnetonka was awarded $129,000 accelerated implementation grant funds from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). The clean water funds will be utilized to conduct water shed assessments of 14 selected water bodies. These assessments will be used to identify priority areas for the installation of best management practices; stormwater management; and water quality treatment efforts to protect or improve the water quality of the city’s natural resources. Additionally the identified BMs will be used to inform the city’s CIP program as well as identify practices to address known water quality issues of several impaired waters.
The Bassett Creek and Shingle Creek Water Management organizations both report on measureable, publicly announced surface water improvement targets. It is estimated that the Northwood Lake stormwater improvement project will result in an average annual phosphorous removal of 39%, or 30.48 pounds. These best management practices collect stormwater from a 110-acre total drainage area.
A management plan was created by Wenck Associates for the city of Stillwater, to assess the current conditions of Lake Lily and Lake Mckusick and to identify opportunities for improving the lakes’ ecological, aesthetic, and recreational opportunities. The plan laid out target and the recommended management activities to achieve these targets.
In the Summer of 2016, the city of Barnum will undergo treatment for Eurasian Milfoil in Bear Lake to improve water quality, the city operated campground located on the lake, as well as the public access boat landing.
Crystal is a part of the Bassett Creek and Shingle Creek Watershed Districts/Management organizations. Both watersheds measure and publish surface water improvement targets on their websites (link to both is on the City's website).
The City of Elk River works extensively with the Lake Orono Improvement Association on events, shoreland and water management, and citizen education. Elk River's "Environment Bound" television show has featured episodes about improving Lake Orono's water quality.
In the Surface Waters Management plan the city lays out a goal of getting the impaired lakes within the area off of the Minnesota Pollution Control Impaired waters list.
In March of 2014, city staff, along with other stakeholder presented at a public meeting on Wakefield lake and nutrient loading. In the presentation the city provided information on past project and future plans for how staff can reduce the phosphorus levels in Wakefield lake and the Phalen Casey chain of lakes. Provided is a link to that presentation.
The City provides ongoing education on water quality issues through the annual report for the Wood Lake Nature Center. In February of 2019, the City adopted a surface water management plan for all three watershed districts that Richfield encompasses, including Nine Mile Creek, Minnehaha Creek and the Richfield-Bloomington watershed. The latter has its own management organization (12/19/83) and management plan (July 2008) to preserve and use natural water storage and retention systems.
THE MINNESOTA POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY (MPCA) PREPARES TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY REPORTS (TMDLs) THAT ASSIGN WASTE LOAD ALLOCATIONS (WLAs) FOR POLLUTANTS OF CONCERN TO POINT SOURCES DISCHARGING TO THE IMPAIRED WATER BODIES. THE CITY OF ROCHESTER IS A REGULATED POINT SOURCE BY VIRTURE OF ITS MUNICIPAL SEPARATE STORM SEWER SYSTEM (MS4) PERMIT AND MUST IMPLEMENT WASTE LOAD REDUCTIONS TO MEET THE WLA. AT THIS TIME, THROUGH ITS MS4 PERMIT, THE CITY OF ROCHESTER IS SUBJECT TO LOAD REDUCTIONS FOR FECAL COLIFORM BACTERIA. WITHIN THE NEXT YEAR, IT WILL ALSO BE SUBJECT TO LOAD REDUCTIONS FOR TURBIDITY.
The City of St. Anthony works with Three Rivers Park District, RCWD, MWMO, Ramsey Conservation District, and the Silver Lake Homeowners Association to acheive water quality improvements at Silver Lake. The City annually provides a public meeting to present and solicite public input into their surface water management activities.
St. Cloud is an active member of the Central Minnesota Water Education Alliance (CMWEA) providing education outreach to promote water quality stewardship. It is a coalition of central Minnesota cities, counties and other organizations working in concert to provide consistent water quality educational message in a cost-effective manner. The ongoing public education campaign includes rain barrel sale, a video contest, a water blog, eco-graffiti, and a number of other innovative educational efforts.
Yes. The MS4 permit from the MN Pollution Control Agency regulates stormwater discharge within the City. Annual reports and updates are submitted to both the State and given a hearing before the City Council.
Year action initially completed: 2018 plan published
1. To protect, enhance, and restore the natural environment through sound land stewardship
practices in order to maintain a proper balance between human and environmental qualities.
2. To preserve significant open spaces and natural systems.
The City follows TMDL requirements of its 4 watersheds, and regularly works toward improving water quality, and reducing our load. TMDL loads are reported to the public in the City's storm water pollution prevention program. Water quality communication and education is provided to residents in the storm water pollution prevention program, as well as in our bi-annual environmental newsletter.
The City of Woodbury and the three watershed districts with jurisdiction in the city, Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District, South Washington Watershed District and Valley Branch Watershed District, all have adopted Surface Water Management Plans with goals for water bodies. The city has adopted numeric goals and reports the annual “lake grade” based on lake monitoring of the city lakes on the city website. The adopted goals should also be sufficient to address any impairments for lakes that are currently listed as impaired by the MPCA.