Why update the plan?
The Water Management Plan is required under Minnesota statute. The County assumed control as the Water Management Organization authority in 1996 and subsequently adopted the first water management plan in 2001 and updated the plan in 2010. The plan needs to be updated for the following reasons.
- State statute requires the plan to be updated every 10 years. The water management organization must adopt a new plan by October 2020.
- Updating the plan slightly ahead of schedule aligns future updates better with the development of city and county comprehensive plans.
- The annual distribution of state grant funding favors projects that have been identified in a water plan.
Plan development process
Carver County Water Management Organization used a variety of strategies to engage stakeholders and the public in identifying issues that should be addressed by this plan. Strategies for working with stakeholders included the following (see Chapter 3 for additional information).
- Issue identification workshops with different stakeholder groups
- Individual meetings with city staff
- Watershed-wide outreach event
- Survey distributed to interested residents
- Citizen Advisory Committee & Technical Advisory Committee input and review during plan development
Summary of key changes from 2010 plan
- Priority Areas. The Carver County Water Management Organization covers an area approximately 320 square miles and includes six major sub-watersheds, 35 lakes over 10 acres in size, seven major streams and 15 public ditch systems. Given the size of the organization and the vast array of issues within it, there is a need for tools and methods to help focus implementation. The plan identifies the following priority areas as critical to implementation:
- Priority water bodies. Water bodies, such as lakes and streams, within the organization were prioritized based on water quality information and recreational use (among other things).
- Priority wetland restoration areas. Carver County has lost more than 50% of the wetlands that existed prior to European settlement. Wetland restoration is a valuable tool that will help replace lost wetland functions like flood storage and water quality treatment. Potential wetland restoration sites within the organization were identified and prioritized.
- Untreated urban areas. Large areas of the developed portion of the organization have minimal or no stormwater treatment. The plan prioritizes untreated urban areas so that potential stormwater retrofit project types and locations can be more easily identified.
- Greater emphasis on evaluation. Achieving the goals of this plan with limited funds requires efficient and effective operation. The plan contains a number of implementation strategies that will aid in the regular evaluation of process, programs, and projects to help the organization manage water resources effectively and efficiently.
- Streamlined issue categories & clarification of the organization's role. The 2019 plan reduces the number of issues to 6 based on input from stakeholders: water quality, water quantity, groundwater resource protection, awareness & behavior, coordination with partners, and evaluating effectiveness & progress.
- Updated implementation activities and project list. The list of implementation activities (Table 5.2) and projects (Table 5.5) have been updated to address current issues, goals, and implementation priorities.
Response to Comments
A 60-day public comment period on the draft water plan was held from April 22, 2019 to June 21, 2019. Forty-five comments were received from 13 organizations or individuals including 6 state agencies, 2 cities, 2 townships, 2 citizens, and 1 county staff member.
Thirty-two comments suggested a change or correction to the plan's text, 6 comments requested a change to a map, and 6 comments did not require a change or response. Twenty-three comments were addressed through changes to the text or a map, 16 comments were addressed through a written response but did not result in a change to the plan, and 6 comments did not require a change or response.
View the complete response to comments document.
On September 3, 2019, the County Board authorized the release of the response to comments and directed staff to make the described changes to the plan. The revised draft plan will be available September 19, 2019. A public hearing on the revised draft plan will be held October 1, 2019 at 9 AM in the County Board Room.