Wetland Plan - Watershed Goals

In accordance with the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act, the comprehensive wetland protection and management plan must include the establishment of watershed goals based on an analysis of the existing ecological conditions of the plan area and the development of corresponding goals for maintaining and improving those conditions.

The ecological condition of the plan area should be based on inventories of historic and existing wetland resources, including identification of degraded wetlands, existing high-quality wetlands, and immediate and long-term resource needs within the plan area.

The analysis of historic and existing wetlands and ecological conditions will utilize both existing information and new data developed for the wetland plan.

Existing Wetland Resources

The precise locations of all wetlands in Blue Earth County are not known. Analysis of existing wetland resources for the plan will include the best known information as well as new data generated to assist with prioritizing wetlands for restoration and enhancement. There are not enough resources to conduct an inventory and field assessment of all wetlands in the county.

Wetland Conditions

The analysis of existing wetlands will generally describe the condition of existing wetlands. In 2013, the County contracted with Stantec to conduct a wetland assessment of the conditions of a sample of wetlands representative of a variety of wetland types and range of conditions. Wetland conditions in the county range from poor to excellent, with most wetlands degraded by factors related to human influences on the surrounding land use and hydrology.

Wetland conditions do not determine public value of wetlands. For example, a wetland that is considered in poor condition by wetland scientists may have high public value for recreation because it is close to parks and trails and enjoyed for its scenic and wildlife value.

Factors Affecting Wetland Conditions

Increases in nutrients, higher water levels, suspension of bottom sediments, algae blooms and shoreline disturbance have combined to eliminate aquatic plants and accompanying populations of invertebrates in many basins.

Remaining seasonal wetlands have often been degraded by invasive species such as hybrid cattail, purple loosestrife, and reed canary grass. Excessive runoff and undesirable fish such as carp have degraded permanent wetland basins and shallow lakes. Research by the DNR’s Wetland Wildlife Research Group has clearly documented poor habitat quality in basins with high densities of even some native fish such as black bullheads and fathead minnows.

Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Long Range Duck Recovery Plan, April 2006