Water is an essential part of Minnesota's outdoor recreation experience. It can be the main reason why people go to a state park, travel a particular trail, or choose a picnic spot to spend the afternoon with friends and family. Fortunately for its citizens, Minnesota's state parks and trails provide easy access to some of the state's most outstanding water resources.
Protecting wetlands and other water resources is an important part of the Parks and Trails Division's work. We accomplish this work in a number of ways, including:
- Avoiding or minimizing impacts to wetlands and lakeshores during recreational facility design;
- Restoring wetlands where they have been degraded or drained;
- Reestablishing natural stream channel dimension, pattern and profile where they have been artificially altered;
- Complying with or exceeding state buffer law requirements; and
- Collaborating with other agencies and partners to identify opportunities to improve the health and resilience of Minnesota's watersheds.
Avoiding wetlands during facility design
The Parks and Trails Division frequently maintains and expands our recreational system, including trails, campgrounds, public water access sites and more. One of the first steps in that process is to make sure we understand the water resources in the area.
We consider whether wetlands are present through delineations, We may also evaluate the area for springs, trout streams, sensitive lake shores, changing river floodplains and more.
As we work to expand Minnesota's recreational system, we use information about water resources to prevent impacts while still allowing recreational access whenever possible. In some circumstances where we aren't able to avoid impacting wetlands or shorelines, we follow processes to minimize those impacts and restore or create similar habitat elsewhere. In other circumstances, we may not expand in a given area at all in order to protect those water resources.
Upstream riverbank stabilization.
Revegetating an eroded riverbank.
Adding wetland soil after a road was removed.