Hydes Lake

The sunset over Hydes Lake, west of Waconia.

The plan that guides the health of lakes, rivers and wetlands in Carver County is out for public comment until June 21.

Every 10 years, the Carver County Water Management Organization updates its Water Management Plan. This plan identifies goals, and guides decisions for how the organization manages lakes and rivers. It’s full of history, geology, biology, challenges and solutions in the world of water.

You could read the whole thing or skip to the part you want: water characteristics; what issues our lakes; rivers and wetlands are facing; or what projects are planned to protect and restore these waters.

Learn how our plant communities (vegetation cover) have changed in the last 124 years, and what type of soils we have, and how those two things affect water.

Learn about what animals we have living in the county. What endangered plants and animals still call this place home and should be protected, like the winged mapleleaf and Higgens eye freshwater mussels.

The plan recognizes the importance of protecting lakes, rivers, wetlands and groundwater for communities, human health and wildlife.

There are several issues, such as too much nutrients causing algae blooms, erosion and sediment pollution, and bacteria, trash and plastic pollution. There are also several strategies in place to address these and other pollutants.

Strategies usually fall into one of the categories below.

  • Managing stormwater runoff through permitting and projects. Stormwater runoff is rain or snow melt that washes pollutants off streets, parking lots and driveways and into our waterways.
  • Protecting groundwater resources. Groundwater is where all Carver County residents get their drinking water.
  • Educating citizens. Most pollution threats to lakes, rivers and groundwater are human-caused, thus prevention can occur by educating people about issues and their role in addressing them.
  • Permitting new development and redevelopment to reduce impacts from stormwater runoff.
  • Monitoring lakes, rivers and wetlands to collect data that will help identify potential issues, track changes over time, and identify effective strategies and practices.
  • Restoration of waterways with a priority for restoring wetlands. Carver County has lost over 50 percent of its wetlands. Restorations will help replace lost wetland functions including water quality treatment, water storage, shoreline protection, recreation and ecosystem diversity.

Projects are one of the most impactful methods for protecting lakes and rivers. Projects can clean the water, provide habitat for animals, and they can prevent erosion.

The Water Management Plan lists out projects for the next 10 years. This part of the plan is updated every two years to maintain flexibility to respond to needs and opportunities identified.

Projects include stream bank stabilization to prevent erosion and sediment pollution, stormwater retrofits to increase capture of sediment and phosphorus, wetland restoration, a plastics collection demonstration project, and more.

The plan is open for public comment until June 21. You can access it at www.co.carver.mn.us/water to read or submit comments.

Questions or comments can also be directed to Adriana Atcheson at aatcheson@co.carver.mn.us.

Madeline Seveland is an education coordinator with Carver County Water Management. She can be reachedat mseveland@co.carver.mn.us.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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