The Crow Wing County Board has set a public hearing April 23 to hear comments on the proposed revision to the Local Comprehensive Water Management Plan.
This proposed revision will replace the 2008 water plan that is set to expire in August. This 10-year plan is unique from past versions for the following reasons:
• It identifies local priority concerns, objectives and actions related to surface and ground water resources.
• It focuses on aquatic invasive species for the first time in plan history.
• It targets specific surface and ground water resources to focus implementation efforts.
• It includes an implementation plan for the Mississippi River.
• It uses a watershed-based, land protection model.
• It includes analysis and maps of all 125 minor watersheds in the county.
Recognizing that water does not follow political boundaries, the state of Minnesota has directed state agencies and local water planners to conduct water planning at a watershed level. A watershed is simply the area that drains to the same body of water.
Of Minnesota’s 81 major watersheds, portions of five are found within Crow Wing County, including the Pine River, Rum River, Crow Wing River, Mississippi River-Brainerd and Mississippi River-Sartell.
Within these major watersheds in Crow Wing County are 125 smaller watershed units, or minor watersheds.
Each minor watershed was classified and mapped by the amount of protected land as well as by various risk factors and water plan priorities. Protected land is defined as land in public ownership as well as lakes, rivers, easements and wetlands on private lands.
Risk factors include land that is converted from a natural, protected state to development, agricultural uses, extractive uses or other disturbed conditions.
Water plan implementation strategies such as aquatic invasive species prevention, storm water management, shoreline buffers, private forest management and agricultural best management practices were prioritized by minor watershed in order to manage limited resources to achieve the highest return on conservation investment.
This watershed-based, land protection model to county water planning is the first of its kind in the state. The proposed water plan can be viewed online at http://crowwing.us/index.aspx?NID=241.