The Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District (CMSCWD) just released a draft 10-Year Management Plan Update which, once approved, will guide the agency’s work through 2032. 


Public Review and Comment

The draft management plan is available for review at The plan will be presented at a public hearing at the Scandia City Hall on Weds., Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. (in person and on Zoom). 

The public is encouraged to provide comment at that meeting and can continue to submit comments via email to until October 15, 2021. 

After the CMSCWD makes final revisions, a second public hearing will take place on Nov. 18, before the plan is sent for state agency review.


A Community-Wide Planning Effort

The management plan was developed over the course of 16 months using District-wide, agricultural, and shoreline landowner surveys and community listening sessions. More than 300 residents, landowners, and municipalities provided input. 

As a result, this plan update:

• Prioritizes projects that will achieve measurable water quality improvements (removing 7 lakes and 2 streams from the state Impaired Waters list).

• Increases the number of capital improvement projects that can leverage funding from state and federal sources.

• Provides more assistance for landowners who want to undertake projects on their own property.

• Assists local municipalities with rule updates in order to simplify and streamline the permitting process for landowners.

• Assists local municipalities as they prepare for changing precipitation patterns and increased flood risk.  

As with previous versions of the management plan, this plan includes:

• Collaborations with landowners, local units of government, and state and federal agencies.

• Strong partnerships with the Washington County Conservation District and East Metro Water Resource Education program. 

• Continuance of past water quality improvement practices and collaborations to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.


Plan Goals

The Management Plan Update identifies projects that will protect water quality and water quantity across 31 lakes, 21 streams, 17 miles of St. Croix River shoreline and hundreds of acres of wetlands. With a preliminary budget of over $13 million, CMSCWD proposes to meet the following goals over the next 10 years.


Improve and Protect Water Quality

Eleven lakes, three streams and the St. Croix River are currently listed as impaired by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Implementation of the management plan will remove these lakes and streams from the list. 

• East Boot Lake (by 2023) 

• South Twin Lake (2023)

• Hay Lake (by 2023)

• Jellum’s Lake (by 2023)

• Goose Lake (by 2030)

• Long Lake (Scandia) (by 2030)

• Fish Lake (by 2030)

• Swedish Flag stream (by 2030)

• Gilbertson’s stream (by 2030)

The plan also seeks measurable water quality improvements for Loon Lake, Louise Lake and Mud Lake, as well as improved clarity and algae reduction for Square Lake, Clear Lake, Big Marine Lake, Big Carnelian Lake, Hay Lake and Long Lake (May Township). 

Stream’s targeted for water quality improvement include the Marine Mill stream, Willow brook, Arcola stream, Falls stream, Marine Landing stream, Spring stream, Carnelian creek, Cedar Bend Trout stream, and Zavoral’s stream. 

Water quality improvements will be achieved through a combination of 16 capital improvement projects (CIPs), funded with local and state funds and federal grants, and 180 voluntary landowner projects with the CMSCWD providing cost sharing, technical assistance and rule enforcement. 


The plan calls for the CMSCWD to monitor several highly degraded wetlands to determine whether they are contributing high levels of phosphorus into nearby lakes and fueling algae blooms. If they are, CMSCWD will apply for grants for wetland restorations. 

The CMSCWD will also:

• Improve monitoring and education about chlorides (salt), 

• Increase stream health monitoring, 

• Support volunteer stream monitoring efforts, and 

• Improve communications with landowners who may have high-risk septic systems.


Flood Risk and

Resilience Planning

Changes in rainfall (as a result of climate change) pose an increased risk for flooding. The management plan calls for the CMSCWD to undertake flood risk modeling and to work with municipalities and the county to plan for resiliency. The CMSCWD will also continue inspections and maintenance of the Carnelian outlet pipe and channel.


Aquatic Invasive Species

To prevent aquatic invasive plants and animals from reaching area lakes, the CMSCWD will fund 2,000 hours of inspection services at Washington County public boat launches and provide cost-sharing support to area lake association. 


Watershed Management and Operations 

Public surveys revealed that most respondents wanted to see more consistent application of the rules. The management plan update includes more staff time for communication, permitting and enforcement efforts, and assistance to municipalities to update their rules and improve consistency between local rules and watershed rules. 


Funding Watershed Work

Funding for this work is planned to come from taxes levied across the district and state and federal grants. CMSCWD also has the authority to utilize special assessments, water management districts, district reserve funds, bonds and loans, although these tools are not expected to be used.

The updated plan proposes the following 10-year budget:

• $2,674,000 for design, construction and maintenance of CIP projects

• $2,649,084 for CMSCWD staffing

• $2,055,805 for landowner assistance, technical assistance, and cost sharing for water quality, shoreline protection and invasive species

• $1,246,958 for evaluation and monitoring of lakes, streams and shoreline vegetative cover 

• $1,189,958 for administration

• $1,093,975 for inspections and maintenance of the Carnelian channel, outlet pipe, and previous projects that the Watershed District has a responsibility to maintain 

• $517,236 for regulatory enforcement 

• $490,411 for education and outreach 

• $404,133 for invasive species action, including watercraft inspections

• $312,000 for evaluation and assessment work


What is the Carnelian-

Marine-St. Croix

Watershed District? 

The CMSCWD is a local, special-purpose unit of government formed by petition from its residents. The watershed is the only entity that monitors, plans, and implements practices to protect and improve water quality of lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. It accomplishes its goals by working with voluntary landowners, implementing rules, planning and implementing capital improvement projects, and promoting water stewardship.

CMSCWD is governed by seven Board Managers, appointed by Washington County Commissioners. It is guided by input from a Citizens Advisory Committee and a Technical Advisory Committee, as well as regular communications with local officials and state agencies. 

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.