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Crow Wing County to revise water resource planning with public input


Crow Wing County Land Services Department is revising the 2008 local

comprehensive water management plan, which is used in identifying what

works best to protect and enhance the county’s water resources.


update and revision process includes an identification of local

priority water resource concerns which will lay the framework for a new

comprehensive water plan document on how to best protect these

resources. The first water plan for Crow Wing County was adopted in

1990. During the years it was revised several times. The current water

plan was adopted in 2008. In that document, six priority concerns were

identified with the goal to protect the surface and groundwater

resources of the county. Under each priority concern were actions steps

that specifically laid out tasks to accomplish the goal. The 2008

priorities included: maintaining a water quality database, addressing

stormwater and wastewater, protecting ground water, minimizing the

effects of development on water quality and developing educational

programs to promote water quality protection.

“For the 2013

update to the water plan, we wanted to see what the citizens of Crow

Wing County identified as their top concerns,” said Mitch Brinks, water

protection specialist, in a news release. In May 2012, a letter was

sent to all riparian landowners in county’s zoning authority. In

addition to land use information, the letter asked respondents to

participate in an online survey. The survey was available at the county

website from May through October of 2012. About 300 people responded to

the survey. In addition, a request was sent to Crow Wing County

stakeholder groups, including local, state and federal agencies

involved in water management as well as builders, developers,

consultants, educators and landscaping and septic contractors. About

200 people participated in this survey. Finally, about 100 people

filled out the survey at the Crow Wing County Fair in the summer of


Based on all of the public input received, the county board

approved the following priority concerns in the fall of 2012. These

priority concerns will provide the framework for re-writing the water

plan in 2013. The top three priority concerns are:

• 1. Aquatic invasive species (includes: lake association/improvement district coordination and water access monitoring).

2. Surface water (includes: stormwater management, shoreline buffers,

wetland protection, land use and development, water sampling/data


• 3. Ground water (includes: septic system

maintenance and inspection, testing for nitrates and other

contaminants, wellhead and drinking water source protection, well

sealing of unused/abandoned wells and solid and hazardous waste


The State Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR)

also recently approved the county’s priority concerns. In his letter

recommending approval of the county’s priority concerns, BWSR Board

Chair Brian Napstad commended the county “for the outstanding process

used to select the concerns.”

The full priority concerns scoping

document, which includes the citizen survey results can be found at The 2013 water plan

document will be drafted this winter. An additional public comment

period, including a public hearing, will take place in May of 2013.