Poster Presentation C Thursday, 5:00 6:00 pm C Edmund Fitzgerald Exhibit Hall

Lakeshed Assessment and Management Project

Sue McGuire, Rob Sip
Stearns County Environmental Services Department
Administration Center Room 343
705 Courthouse Square
St. Cloud, MN  56303

Greg Berg, Dennis Fuchs
Stearns County
Soil and Water Conservation District
110 2nd Street South Suite 128
Waite Park, MN  56387  

Dan Lais
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Waters
940 Industrial Drive Suite 103
Sauk Rapids, MN  56379

The Stearns County Lakeshed Assessment and Management Project was identified by the county Water Plan Advisory Committee (WPAC) as a means of protecting and enhancing lakes. The goal of the project is to combine natural resource and land use GIS data to develop a lakeshed resource management program. The project is a cooperative effort between the DNR, the Stearns County SWCD, and the Stearns County Environmental Services Department. 

Thirty-six priority lakes were identified by the WPAC for water quality monitoring. Lake origin, watershed size and type, and water quality were used as parameters to identify the lakes, with the intent that these lakes are representative of the lakes in the county. In another related study, the water quality of the project lakes is being intensively sampled and analyzed. The water quality data will be linked with the natural resource and land use data. This is an ongoing project, with six lakes being studied each year for six years. After all the identified lakes have been studied, the water quality analysis rotation will begin again. With this approach funding is possible for the study of a number of lakes and for the development of a long-term database of information.

The watershed around the lakes was delineated using the DNR Hydro extension for ArcView & Spatial Analyst, Digital Elevation Models (DEM), and topography maps. The lakeshed boundary was field checked to insure accuracy. The project used the existing data layers for wetlands, feedlots, soils, parcels, lakes, watercourses, geology, and hydrogeology. Additional data layers were developed for the lakeshed area, including shoreland boundaries, land use, septic systems, sensitive areas, erosion and other problem sites. The data was analyzed by watershed area and by parcel area. The lakeshed information is now being used to review land use applications, subdivision ordinance pre-application meetings, and natural resource conservation projects. The GIS information will be available to the public on the county web site.