A draft of the 2022-2031 management plan for the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District (CMSCWD) was presented for review and public comment. It can be found at https://www.cmscwd.org/10year-management-plan-update.
Administrator Mike Isensee appeared before the board of supervisors to highlight elements of the plan specific to waterways in May Township. The “theme” of the 10-year update, according to Isensee, is to keep what’s working and fill in the gaps.
Improved communication, working proactively with landowners, and improved application and enforcement of the rules are key parts of the plan.
CMSCWD proposes adding a riparian permit specialist to their staff to handle permit processing, rule enforcement, shoreline inspection, technical assistance and volunteer coordination. The district handles approximately 45 permits and 5-7 violations a year.
CMSCWD has goals for water quality improvements for Square Lake, Big Marine Lake, Big Carnelian Lake, Clear Lake, Arcola Creek, Spring Creek and Carnelian Creek. It will work to get East Boot Lake removed from the State of Minnesota Impaired Waters list, and Willow Brook stream up to District stream health goals.
The district has identified 16 capital improvement projects for grant-funded support, and it will continue its cost-sharing programs.
CMSCWD will add volunteer stream monitors as part of its effort to improve stream health.
The district is working to identify risks related to water quantity and quality. It completed a floodplain vulnerability assessment and the 10-year plan proposes to complete a vulnerability assessment under various climate change scenarios.
Maintenance of the outlet and pipe on Big Marine Lake has a budget of $50,000 a year, but Isensee warned that the pipe is 40 years old and may need preventative work at some point.
The 2022 draft budget shows a total tax levy of $850,737. This is less than the total budget of $979,959 because of partnerships and outside funding. The district has submitted grant requests for approximately $350,000 in funding for projects in future years. Half of the budget is for implementation, with only 10% going to operations and maintenance of past projects.
Supervisor Steve Magner asked about the new staff position. Isensee said that currently, enforcement is driven by resident complaints. The district would like to have baseline photos of the shoreline on 10 lakes so they can proactively identify unpermittable projects and prevent them from being completed. This would stop the homeowner from having to undo work, saving time and money.
Magner asked if the DNR didn’t already do this work. Isensee said that DNR permits only apply to work below the ordinary water level. The Watershed District work is from the shoreline to the top of the bank.
Magner said residents had reported people out on the lakes taking photos of the shoreline and that they said they were from the DNR. Isensee said the DNR had been doing a vegetation survey and an aquatic species inspection this year, but not a shoreline survey.
Magner asked if residents would be notified before shoreline photography. Isensee said there would be a lot more communication with shoreland owners in future.
The city engineer reported that gravel application had been completed and came in under budget so additional gravel would be spread on Paris Avenue Repairs were not yet completed on 130th Street.
The township engineer reported that MnDOT does not do traffic studies on township roadways, only their own state highways. The township will need to conduct its own traffic study on Ostlund Trail and Oldfield Road and then report it to MnDOT.
Residents Janice Hunton and Peter Overchuk came to the board of supervisors bringing a request from 20 residents along 144th Street and Racine Avenue Lacking adequate drainage, the road washes out after every rain. This has resulted in such dangerous road conditions that delivery drivers have warned residents they may not be able to continue deliveries.
Hunton said residents have brought the problem to the township’s attention repeatedly, and residents have been fighting a drainage problem for 30 years. They are requesting regrading of the road and sufficient class 5 lime rock to prevent further erosion.
Overchuk said former supervisor Voedisch hired a civil engineer who proposed a solution but no action was taken. “We have had band aid fixes for many years and with so many gradings, there is really no roadbed left. So even if the road is graded, we’re grading mud, and trenches just keep getting bigger.”
Board of supervisors chair John Adams and the township engineer will conduct a site visit within a week to review the situation.
The residents also requested that the township discontinue use of sodium chloride treatments (for dust control) from highway 95 to the top of the hill, for environmental reasons.
Along Ostlund Trail N., resident Ted Nesse asked that class 5 lime rock be added to the low spot where the paved road and gravel road meet so that water will drain to the ditch rather than pool and freeze in that spot.
In an email to the township, Nesse wrote that in his reading of the conditional use permit with River Grove school, “as it stands now, (the CUP) would allow the township to assess the school for most of the cost of the gravel.”
River Grove CUP
Nesse asked if progress had been made on negotiations with River Grove School on requirement 14 of the CUP related to responsibility for road costs. This was to be decided before the beginning of the school year. Staff said the CUP draft was being worked on.
At the recommendation of the planning commission, the board of supervisors approved the subdivision of a 28-acre property at 13757 Manning Trail N. The lot will be divided in two, with one lot of 10.1 acres and one of 16.59 acres.
The lot that is currently occupied by a home has three accessory structures whose total square footage is greater than allowed by zoning code for the reduced lot size. The building located within the required setback will be removed.
Building code violations
The property owner at 12xxx Square Lake Trail Court has taken action to address the building code violation and has converted the home back to a single-family unit. No progress was reported on the long-standing code violation at 13xxx 177th Street or the property at 16xxx Square Lake Trail.
• There is one vacancy for an alternate member of the planning commission.
• The Board reviewed bids for a 3-year contract with an audit firm and chose the low bidder, Abdo, Eick & Meyers, LLP.
• The Board reviewed bids for ice and snow removal and chose Miller Excavating.
• Discussion of the Arcola Mills CUP has been postponed until November.