Local Officials and Municipal Staff
Minnesota is famous for its clean water, abundance of lakes, and friendly citizens. The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is a resource for protecting these assets. We are a resource for educating local officials and municipal staff on these topics, and has the following to offer:
- NEMO - Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials
- LID - Low Impact Development Resources
- The Power of Planning
- The Importance of Natural Resources of Quality of Life and Water Quality.
For more information on these programs, contact our Education Manager.
NEMO is an educational program for members of city councils, planning/park commissioners, other local officials and city staff that addresses the relationship between land use decisions and water quality. We can come to city hall and provide workshops on:
- Linking Land Use to Water Quality (basics of stormwater)
- Linking Land Use to Lake Quality (lakeshore development)
- Natural Resource Based Planning/Open Space
- Low Impact Development
- Reducing Impervious Surfaces
- Local Ordinances for Water Quality
- Managing Stormwater in Urban Areas (redevelopment issues)
Visit our LID web page to browse information on LID, documents and manuals, presentations and web links. Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is committed to protecting clean water by advising development to ensure that it does not sacrifice the natural resources and functions on a property. Basic concepts of LID are: preserving open space, minimizing land disturbance, incorporating natural systems, and integrating Best Management Practices that reduce the volume of stormwater runoff. Contact us.
"Planning, when done well, is among the most powerful tools available to communities. A solid plan, based on good natural resource information, guides rational land use decisions and allows the community to consider innovative tools for resource protection with fewer legal challenges to their planning authority. The plan also sends a clear message as to what the community values and wishes to preserve and, if well crafted, results in few surprises to developers, local officials or residents.
Natural resource-based planning is a process that puts the community's natural resource base at the forefront. By identifying natural resources at the beginning of the planning process, your community can determine where development is most appropriate. This way, communities can avoid the unintended consequences of the typical planning process, such as open space becoming the 'leftover' pieces, water resources being degraded and compromising community character.
- From "A Quick Guide to Using Natural Resource Information," MN DNR, 2004.
A 2009 survey* showed that 35% of people said the most attractive features of the Twin Cities are its ‘parks and trails' and its 'natural environment. The next important quality of life indicator was ‘arts and culture’ at 7%. This tells us that nature is overwhelmingly important to our quality of life here in the Twin Cities.
Without careful planning, population growth could cause communities to lose the open space areas and natural features that people value most. Knowing this, state and regional agencies have stepped up efforts to make natural resource conservation an integral part of comprehensive planning.
In addition to quality of life benefits, planning around natural resources can have water quality benefits. “Because natural areas provide free services like filtering stormwater and decreasing runoff volume, we see natural resource-based planning as an effective means of protecting water quality and important community resources,” said Mike Wyatt, District Planner.
Recognizing that conserving natural resources has water quality benefits, MCWD has initiated a Land Conservation Program.
*Metropolitan Council, 2009 Metro Residents Survey