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Spring Brook is a cold water trout stream, the only trout stream in Rice County
and one of the few in the state that have native brook trout. Because of this unique
fish population, the state Department of Natural Resouces harvests fish eggs from
Spring Brook to help establish brook trout in other streams in the state. The brook
drains an agricultural area of approximately 7 square miles, starting near 1-35 and
ending in the Cannon River at the southwestern edge of Northfield. In addition to
providing a habitat for brook trout, it drains agricultural land and provides a scenic
and wildlife corridor enjoyed by the residents of the area.
Land uses along the stream have been compatible with the survival of trout so
far, but future changes could affect the stream, including urban development,
increased rural housing, changes in agricultural practices, gravel mining, etc. In order
to remain cold enough for trout, the stream depends on water soaking into the ground,
then coming out through springs. It also depends on the forest cover at its lower end'
to keep the water cool.
The creek's watershed (the land that drains into the creek) includes parts of
Northfield, Dundas, and unincorporated areas of Bridgewater Township. The last mile
of the stream is within the planning boundaries for Northfield and Dundas, which are
both rapidly growing communities. Because there were no imminent plans for
activities that would degrade the stream, there was an opportunity to work with the
local residents to gauge their interest in protecting it and, ifinterest were shown, to
make plans for measures that would protect.the stream in the future.
In 1997 the Cannon River Watershed Partnership, with a 2-year grant from the
Legislative Committee on Minnesota Resources, began working with a committee
composed ofloca1landowners, representatives of the various jurisdictions, fishing
enthusiasts, and the Dept. of Natural Resources. The committee learned about the
requirements for trout streams, the local land use plans for the area, and ways in
which streams can be protected. This report summarizes the status of the stream
and watershed, and the recommendations of the committee.

Funding tor this proj~ was approved by the MN Legislature, ML 1997, Chapter' 216, Sec, 15, Subd 17(b),
as recommended by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources from the Minnesota Future
Resources Fund.
Committee members:

Bruce Albers, Bridgewater Twp. supervisor, landowner.

Dixon Bond, Northfield Economic Development Authority
Chip DeMann, Dundas Planning Commission
Frank Gates
Dr. David Halvorson
Rodney Helgeson, landowner
Roger Helgeson, landowner
Pat Rivers, DNR Fisheries (originally Desiree Hendricksen)
Ron Kes, landowner
Tim Labs or Theresa Weninger, Rice Co. SWCD
Ken Prawer, landowner
Chris Robbins and Usa Lukis, Cannon R. Watershed Partership
MaryBeth Rogers, Rice Co. Commission
Eugene Werner, landowner

Meetings were open to the public and other watershed residents who requested
invitations were specifically notified of each meeting.

Meeting Schedule:

Why is Spring Brook a trout stream? What is its condition? What does it need
in order to remain a trout stream?

July '97 - What makes a trout stream (Desiree Hendrickson, DNR


Sept. - Ditch management; DNR fisheries mgmt. (Roman Kalina, Rice Co.
Ditch Inspector, Brad Carlson, Rice Co. Extension, Desiree Hendrickson,

Oct. - Tour (Larry Gates and Desiree Hendrickson, DNR Fisheries)

Nov. - Impacts of urbanization on trout streams (Annette Drewes, DNR

Metro Trout Stream Coordinator)
What activites and plans affect the area? What do we want?
Jan. '98 - County zoning, planning; township plans (Arlyn Grussing,
Rice Co. zoning administrator; Bruce Albers, Bridgewater Twp.
Feb. - City zoning, planning (Kim Johnson, Northfield City Planner and
Chip DeMann, Dundas Planning Commission chair)
March - Discussion on vision and goals (Larry Johnson)

April- U. of M. Land Use study presented at the Northfield Library -

open to our committee and others.
May - Continued discussion on vision and goals
How can our actions remain compatible with the survival of the trout stream?

June - Landowner options (soil & water conservation, prevention and

management of ditch erosion, protecting land from development).
Roman Kalina, Rice Co. Ditch Inspector; Theresa Weninger, Rice SWCD,
and Jeanne Wright, MN Land Trust.
July - Development Options to Minimize Stormwater Runoff (Fred
Rozumalski, Barr Engineering) .
Aug. - Discussion of next steps.
Nov. - Stream monitoring results. Managing Land Use Impacts on
streams (John Hunt, Trout Unlimited)
Jan. '99 - Sign letter of support for basic recommendations.

PhY8ical Environment
Hydrology: The Spring Brook drainage area is approximately 7 sq. miles in size;
located between two larger drainage basins (WolfCreek, 45 sq. mi. and Heath Creek,
38 sq. mi.) in Rice county, MN. It flows from west to east. The upper 2/3 of the
watershed is drained by Co. Ditch 22, which was dug in 1948. The ditch joins the
natural creekjust north of 100th St.

Spring Brook has significant recharge from springs, producing cold temperatures.
Springs are found throughout the brook and ditch, especially west of Decker Ave.
where two branches of the brook come together. Based on monitoring during the
summer of 1998, he temperature of the ditch at 100th St. and Cates Ave. can reach
70 0 F (the maximum for brook trout), but cools down by the time it reaches Decker
Soil maps show hydric soils in the upper part of the watershed where the ditch now
flows. Some of these former wetlands were fed by springs (now directed into tile lines).
According to the Fish & Wildlife Service's NWI (National Wetlands Inventory) map,
several small wetlands still exist in the watershed, primarily in the flat upper reaches
and along the creek where the land is seasonally flooded.

Gates Ave.

Hydric soils

RA ••'

.••••••• 1/4 mile

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Geology: The surficial geology is composed of thin glacial deposits, underlain by
sedimentary rock. The upper layer of bedrock is the Prairie du Chien group, with a
layer of St. Peter Sandstone over it at the higher elevations. Limestone bluffs of the
Prairie du Chien are visible along the lower part of Heath Creek and Spring Brook.
West of Old Dutch Road, bluffs of white St. Peter sandstone are visible along Heath
Creek. St. Peter Sandstone caps some of the low hills in the Spring Brook watershed.

Gravel deposits can be found near the lower end of Spring Brook. In 1975 a gravel
mine was proposed for the area. Different geologists had different ideas about the
sources of the springs in the creek and whether gravel mining would affect them. One
report said that the Jordan aquifer - below the Prairie du Chien - was the source of the
springs because the potentiometric surface of this aquifer was at the surface. (The
water was under pressure and could rise to the surface through artesian springs.)
Another report said that the source of the springs was likely sand and gravel
inclusions in the Prairie du Chien. Although it did receive a conditional use permit, the
gravel pit was not developed.

Soils: Most soils in the area are sandy loams developed on glacial till. Most are
classified as prime, with erodibility as their major limitation. The low-lying pasture
between Spring Brook and Heath Creek, and the area along the south side of Heath,
are underlain by shallow bedrock.

Topography: The topography is primarily flat uplands, with a shallow escarpment

around the stream in its lower reach. The north side of the stream has a shallower
slope and wider wooded corridor; while the south side bluffis steeper and closer to the
Vegetation: The entire Spring Brook watershed was once part of the Big Woods and
was covered with dense forests of maple, basswood, elm and oak interspersed with
wetlands. Now the vegetation is primarily agricultural crops, with scattered woodlots
that are more prevalent in the western (upstream) end of the watershed.

The ditch is bordered by farm fields and in some areas by grassed buffers. In one
small stretch, it flows through a patch of woods. Willows and other shrubs have been
removed from the ditch to keep it free-flowing.

A wooded corridor of varying width exists along the stream. The widest wooded
corridor is between Decker Ave. and Dundas Blvd. It is sparse at both ends due to
grazing, with a few willows remaining along the banks. In the center, lighter grazing
keeps the understory fairly open under the tree canopy. Buckthorn, an exotic
invasive shrub, is abundant.

Significant natural features/wildlife: Spring Brook is the only trout stream in

Rice County and has a population of wild brook trout. Eight other fish species have
been found in Spring Brook, the most common being the blacknose dace and creek

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Although the DNR has no records of stocking this stream, the story locally is that
brook trout were brought there by the Schilling family some time between 1910 and
1920. However, the contract of purchase drawn up in 1910 between the Schillings
and Joel Heatwolt, the previous owner, gave Heatwold permission to continue fishing
there - indicating that there may have been trout in the stream prior to the stocking.
Most other trout streams in the state have been stocked with brown or rainbow trout
at some time, leaving very few native brook trout populations intact. The DNR has
harvested eggs from Spring Brook fish in order to develop a breeding stock for
restoring brook trout to other streams in the state. DNA testing is under way to see
whether the brook trout in Spring Brook are different from those elsewhere in the

Other wildlife using the watershed likely include deer, small mammals, reptiles,
amphibians and birds that are common in agricultural landscapes. The size and
quality of the woodlands makes it unlikely that rare species would be found there.
However, eagles that reportedly nest near the lower end of Heath Creek may use the
area for foraging.

Land Use
Current use of land: In the watershed ofSpring Brook, the land use is agricultural
with some rural residences. Around Heath Creek there is some industrial
development in the Armstrong Industrial Park. Rural subdivisions were developed
along Heath Creek near Old Dutch Rd. before the current county zoning ordinance
was adopted.

Spring Brook crosses under Dundas Blvd. and the railroad track before entering the
Cannon. Further north, between the road and the river, a yard waste composting site
and a city park (Sechler Park) are located.

Nearly the entire Spring Brook watershed is in Bridgewater Township in the

unincorporated area of Rice County. The city limits of Northfield run down Dundas
Blvd., so the mouth of the creek is in the city. About 100 acres of the stream's
watershed is in the northwest corner of the City of Dundas.

Zoning/types of uses permitted: Bridgewater Township currently has no zoning

authority, but it is responsible for maintaining township roads and culverts, and for
approving or denying annexation requests. Townships have the power to adopt and
administer their own zoning ordinances if they can demonstrate the ability to do so.
All townships in Dakota County and some in Goodhue County have their own zoning
authority, but no Rice County townships do.

Rice County has agricultural zoning, which limits rural residences to a low density.
West of Decker Ave., the County zoning is A (Agricultural). It is A-I (Agricultural/
Urban Expansion) east of Decker. The S (Shoreland) district includes a 300-ft.
corridor on each side of the creek.

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County Shoreland Zoning: The county's Shoreland district controls development
within 300 ft. of streams and 1000 ft .. of lakes through setback requirements,
controls on vegetation cutting, slope grading, etc. Shoreland rules apply only to
DNR "protected waters," which are designated on Protected Waters maps.
Spring Brook from 100th St. to its mouth is designated a protected water. The
branch that runs north from Dundas and meets the main branch of Spring
Brook near.Decker Ave. is a protected water north of 100th St. This tributary
was designated a protected water in 1996. The DNR does not require county
shoreland zoning to be extended to this section, but the county can do it

According to the county zoning ordinance, Spring Brook is a "tributary stream. tt

Single family residential is a conditional use, at the densities specified in the
Agricultural zoning district (see below). Minimum lot size is 2.5 acres, and the
setback from the ordinary high water mark is 100 ft. for dwellings and accessory
structures (in unsewered areas). Except for agricultural and forest management
uses, clear-cutting and intensive vegetation clearing are not allowed. lmpervious
surface coverage oflots must not exceed 25% of the lot area.
Cates Ave.
~ Wooded

For agricultural uses, the ordinance says that "general cultivation farming,
grazing, nurseries, horticulture, truck farming, sod farming and wild crop
harvesting are permitted uses if steep slopes and shore and bluff impact zones
are maintained in permanent vegetation or managed under an approved
conservation plan..." (The shore impact zone is the land within 50 ft. of the
.ordinary high water mark.) "Land within 300 ft. of the ordinary high water mark,
that is used for grazing of livestock shall be managed under a Soil and Water
Conservation District approved Conservation Plan to control erosion of
shoreland and to protect the natural environment" (sec. 514.013 (b) 1).

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CountyAgricultural Zoning: The Agricultural (A)zone allows one farm dwelling
and one rural residence per 1/4 - 1/4 section (about 40 acres); the lot size maybe
as small as 2.5 acres. Residential building is subject to certain conditions.
Among the conditions is one designed to prevent building on prime farmland; it
states that the 1/4 - 1/4 section on which the rural residential dwelling is built
shall have a weighted average Crop Equivalency Rating (CER) of 65 or less.
However, that provision is rarely implemented. Currently there are about 50
residences in the Spring Brook watershed; ifbuilt out at allowable densities
(assuming 30 of the current houses are farm dwellings and the 65 CER provision
is ignored), there would be approximately 140.

Feedlots up to 1500 animal units are allowed in the A zone. In shorelands and
floodplains, no new or expanded feedlots are allowed (except existing ones can
expand up to 500 a.u. in the shorelands of natural environment lakes.)
Setbacks for feedlots using liquid manure are 300 ft. from a protected
watercourse for feedlots 10-300 a.u., and 500 ft. from a protected watercourse
for feedlots over 300 a.u. For feedlots using solid manure, the setback from
protected waters is 300 ft . for all feedlot sizes. Setbacks from other surface
waters that are not protected waters, are 150 ft. for feedlots 10-300 a.u. and 300
ft. for feedlots over 300 a.u. There are also setbacks from the municipal
boundaries of Dundas and Northfield, varying from 1/4 mile to 1 mile depending
on the size and type of feedlot operation.

Manure application setbacks from streams vary from 300 ft. to 750 ft.
depending on the application method. For other surface waters and streams
with buffers, the setback varies from 75- 300 ft. For ditches, the setback is 16.5

Sand and gravel mines, demolition landfills, and agricultural equipment sales are
among the conditional uses allowed in'the A district.

The AgriculturallUrban Expansion (A-I) district is intended to retain land in

agricultural production until it is economically feasible to provide adequate public
facilities and services to the area. "It is intended that the status of all areas in
this district be reviewed, jointly, by the appropriate planning bodies who shall
determine whether there should be a transfer of all or any part of such area to
some other appropriate land use, or to indicate any changes in the existing Land
Use Plan for the particular political entity or change in the Capital Program of
the community affecting this district" (Section 510.001). In the A-I district,
residential dwellings on 35 acre lots are permitted. Feedlot standards are the
same as in the A zone. Sand and gravel mines are among the conditional uses
CityPlanning: The area east of Decker Ave. is part of Northfield IS planned
urban boundary, in which it can do comprehensive planning. The area up to a
mile and a half west of Decker is part of Dundas's planned urban boundary. This
means that approximately half of the Spring Brook watershed is within planned

6/29/99 5
urban boundaries. The Northfield comprehensive plan (1988) shows industrial
use in the entire sector between Dundas Blvd. and Decker Ave., with open space
along the stream corridors. A parcel south of Spring Brook, at the corner of
Dundas Blvd. and 100th St. E., is considered by the Economic Development
Authority (EDA) as a future industrial site, but current lack of infrastructure
and the sensitivity of the trout stream are making it a long-range option.

The consultant on the industrial development study suggested that the area
between the two creeks be residential, because it is so scenic. (The area on high
ground overlooks the Cannon River towards downtown.) The Northfield
comprehensive plan is in the process of revision.

The portion of the Spring Brook watershed that is within the city limits of
Dundas is dsignated rural residential (5-acre lots). Dundas has not yet done
planning within its planned urban boundary.


Rsheries Dunda~
easement urban .........

RR.J1i--..,.......- - _..

Trout Stream Regulations: The portion of Spring Brook in sections 2 and 3 of

Bridgewater Twp. became a designated trout stream in 1980. The portion in
Section 4 was designated in 1992. In a designated trout stream, the taking of
fish is prohibited except during the open season (the Saturday nearest April 15
till Sept. 30 in this area). Not more than one line may be used for angling at any
time. Minnows may not be taken from the stream, nor can live minnows be used
as bait (MN Rules sec. 6262.04).

DNR Easements: In the 1970s the DNR purchased perpetual easements along
a 3/4 mile stretch of stream on both sides of Decker Ave. The easements are 66
ft. wide on each side of the stream. The purpose of the easements is lito permit
the development offish habitat, including tree planting, fencing, erosion control,
installation ofinstream structures, posting of signs, and other such

6/29/99 6
improvements as are deemed necessary;" and lito permit angling by the public. II
Landowners must keep tillage at least 45 ft. back from the center line of the
stream and may not cut trees, dump, burn, or change the stream course. The
owners may continue to fish, cross the stream, and use the water for stock
watering and other purposes.

For more information on the various governmental bodies with jurisdiction over
the Spring Brook watershed, see the Summary of Jurisdictional Roles at the end
of this report (Attachment A).

Historic and Cultural Resources

The Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office has no reports of historic or

cultural resources in the watershed area. According to a letter from the State
Historic Preservation Office dated Feb. 3, 1999, three examples of earthworks or
mounds have been found in Section 11 and one in Section 2 of Bridgewater Township.
The exact locations of those archaeological sites are not disclosed.

Community Recreation

Existingfacilities: Sechler Park is a large city park located between Armstrong Rd.
and the Cannon River . The mouth of Heath Creek is at the southern edge of the
park, but the creek and river are not major features of the park. The main purpose of
the park is to provide playing fields. There is a trail from the intersection of 5th St.
and Hwy 3 through Sechler Park, connecting to the Mill Towns Trail which runs along
the ditch in Dundas Blvd. A trail bridge was constructed across Spring Brook in 1998.
The DNR did not allow the culvert under the road to be extended due to its effect on
fish habitat; consequently, The Mill Towns Trail, Cannon River Watershed
Partnership, and City of Northfield raised funds to construct the bridge.

Recreation Needs: Northfield requires a 10% parkdedication or cash donation from

developers, so if the area around the creeks were developed as residential, this set-
aside could be used to help acquire the land. There is currently no set-aside required
for industrial and commercial development.

Although Northfield has many parks and is developing a trail network, it has no
extensive public greenways along streams and rivers. The Cowling Arboretum is a
greenway along the Cannon River and Spring Creek that is owned by Carleton
College, and is very popular for running, walking and cross-country skiing. (Note:
Spring Creek is on the east side of town and is different from Spring Brook.) St. Olaf
College has trails through its restored prairie, woodland and wetlands that are also
popular. The City's comprehensive plan shows open space along Heath Creek and
Spring Brook, but the Park Development Plan (1995) shows no parks there. In
February, 1999, the Cty Council adopted a trail plan that shows extensive networks
of trails within the neighborhoods, along major roads, and along greenway corridors.

6/29/99 7,
Unpaved trails are shown along the north sides of both Spring Brook and Heath
Creek in this plan.

Access and Transportation

Existing access: Co. Rei. 1 (Millersburg·Blvd.)bisects the watershed of Spring Brook
from west to east. On the west it has an interchange with 1-35 and on the east it goes
through Dundas. (The drainage area for Spring Brook begins just east ofl-35.) The
two paved roads in the watershed are Co. Rd. 1, a county state-aid road, and Dundas
Blvd. (Co. Rd. 78). The remainder of the roads in the watershed are gravel township
roads. .

Access to the lower part of Spring Brook is from Dundas Blvd., Decker Ave. and
lOOthSt. E. A railroad track runs parallel to Dundas Blvd. on the CannonRiver side,
and this is one reason why the area around the creeks has been considered desirable
for industrial development.

There is no boating on the creek, since it is too small. However, the DNR easements
allow access for angling and for fisheries management.

Transportation plans: The Northfield draft transportation plan proposes a bridge

crossing the Cannon River and linking up to Dundas Blvd. (called Armstrong Rd.
further north), to become a major connector between housing on the other side of the
Cannon River and Hwy 19 heading toward 1-35. The bridge may go across Sechler
Park, or it may be pushed southward to cross between Heath Creek and Spring
Brook, or near lOOth St. E.

In the future, Decker Ave. and 100th St. E. may be paved and Dundas Blvd. may be
widened. Long-range transportation plans may include a road between the two
creeks and one crossing Heath.

Other Infrastructure

Existingutilities: Water and sewer 's ervice do not currently extend to the Spring
Brook watershed. The sewer line connecting Dundas to Northfield is on the other side
of the Cannon River .

Future utility plans: The City of Northfield has a sewer plan and a surface water
plan, neither of which has been formally adopted by the council. The sewer plan
shows a sewer line down the corridors of both Spring Brook and Heath Creek, crossing
the creeks at some points. The surface water plan shows proposed ponding areas for
stormwater. These two plans are based on the comprehensive plan and assume that
the area will be industrial.

The City of Dundas has recently installed sewer, water and storm sewer in its existing

6/29/99 8
developed areas and the lands immediately adjacent. A new l60-unit subdivision is
under construction just east of the Spring Brook watershed boundary, but there are
no current plans for extending sewers into the Spring Brook watershed.

6/29/99 9

Trout Stream Protection Reguirements

During the.first few months of the Committee's work, information about trout stream
protection was gathered and summarized (see "Trout Stream Protection
Requirements," Attachment B). Chief among these requirements are the need for
cold water, clean water, stable flows, lack offish barriers, and a streambed with a
rocky or cobble bottom rather than silt. The maintenance of brook trout in the
stream is not only a one-species strategy, but also an indication that the stream and
watershed are in a relatively healthy state.

A look at the effects of urbanization (Attachment C) quickly shows that uncontrolled

development is incompatible with trout stream survival. Rural impacts can also be
severe ifpollution or disruption of flow rates are the result. Good land use
management, however, can prevent stream damage (see Attachment D).

Goals for the Stream and Watershed

After looking at the development plans for the area, outlined in Part 1, and the
requirements for stream protection, committee members considered whether and
how to protect the stream. The consensus was to allow development that is
compatible with stream protection, to protect the stream corridor as open space, to
maintain agriculture in the upper part of the watershed, and to promote resource
protection and BMPs throughout the watershed. Two alternative "visions of the
watershed in 2050" were considered - one describing a permanent open space option
and the other a controlled development option. The second one, which was favored by
the participants, is included as Attachment E. Interviews with several landowners
not participating in the meetings confirmed support for that general idea. There was
no support for extensive industrial development surrounding the creek, but
landowners wished to retain the option of developing their land when the time comes
in a way that will not damage the creek.

Plans for the Future

Planning for the future involves protecting both the stream and the quality of life for
residents, landowners and citizens.

Although development of the areas near Northfield and Dundas may be many years
away, plans that are put in place now can have major impacts on that development.
Changes needed will involve altering the expansion plans for the City of Northfield and
incorporating standards for streets, sewers, stormwater and housing layouts that
have not been previously used in this area - for example: narrower streets, clustered
housing, stormwater conveyance and infiltration without storm sewers, and

6/29/99 10
placement of sanitary sewers away from the stream. Professional consulting will be
sought in order to gather the information needed on infrastructure placement and
zoning codes.

Planning for the future of this watershed will also involve care in rural development,
farming practices, road building, and resource management. Continued education and
outreachwill'be needed for that effort," . ".

The Spring Brook Committee makes the following recommendations, which may be
used as the basis for funding applications and requests for policies or actions.


1. Prevent excessive stormwater flows, stream disruption and temperature

increases through zoning and land use planning.

2. Protect the stream corridor through permanent open space designation.

3. Protect fish passage by using bridges or arch structures when constructing

stream (not ditch) crossings.

4. Repair and prevent erosion on stream and ditch banks.

5. Maintain and improve natural resource management in the watershed.

6. Monitor the stream to detect any change in fish populations, stream stability,
temperature or water quality. Use the data to form the basis for additional
research and protection measures if they are warranted.

Expected results:
1. The City of Northfield will change its Comprehensive Plan, Sewer Plan, and
Surface Water Plan so that they no longer call for industrial development
around the stream with stormwater ponds and a sewer line down the stream
corridor. A Stream Protection Overlay zoning district will be drafted, specifying
the types of development, uses, and stormwater management that will be
permitted in the watershed. This language, or variations of it, will be adopted
by Northfield, Dundas and Rice County.

2. Interested landowners will place portions of the stream corridor in permanent

easements. The lower part of the stream will eventually be included as a
natural corridor in Northfield's park and trail network.

3. Eroded areas on the stream and ditch will be repaired.

4. Interested landowners will participate in conservation programs such as

woodland and wetland protection, soil conservation practices, and vegetative

6/29/99 11
buffer establishment.

5. Fish populations, stream stablity, temperature, and water quality will be

assessed based on monitoring data. Landowners, jurisdictions and citizens will
be kept informed of the condition of the stream.

6/29/99 12
Attachment A


Please note: Only certain relevant powers are listed:

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

• Issue permits for work in a stream below the ordinary high water level, or work
that affects the course, current or cross section of a protected water.
• Administer the state Wild and Scenic River program (along Cannon River).
• Manage fisheries and do fish sampling in streams.
• Acquire and manage fisheries easements 66 ft. on each side of creek.
Minnesota Pollution ControlAgency

• Issue point source discharge permits.

• Issue feedlot permits.
• Issue stormwater permits for developments 5 acres or more.
• Administer state water quality program.
• Investigate pollution incidents, illegal dumping, etc.
• Approve wastewater treatment improvements, water and sewer hookups

Rice County

• Build and maintain county roads, culverts and ditch systems.

• Administer county zoning ordinance.
• Administer well and septic system programs, and solid waste ordinance.
• Administer county feedlot ordinance.
• Require erosion control and stormwater management measures in new
• Acquire and manage parkland and trails.
Rice Co. Soil & Water Conservation District
• Deliver farm programs, including Conservation Reserve.
• Assist farmers with conservation plans and practices.
• Assist farmers with nutrient management.
• Administer the MN Wetland Conservation Act.

Bridgewater Township
• Build and maintain township roads and culverts, cemeteries, parks, etc.
• Provide for trash disposal.
• Approve, deny or request annexation of areas into the city.

6/29/99 13
Cities ofNorthfield and Dundas

• Plan for land use and transportation in the city and within the planned urban
• Offer comments on conditional use permits in unincorporated areas within the
Urban Expansion Zone around. the city.
• Annex property into the city:
• Zone the density and type of development in the city. Set requirements
regarding subdivisions, streets, parking, drainage, etc.
• Provide water, sewer and storm sewer service. Build and maintain street
• Issue building permits and conduct inspections.
• Administer shoreland, floodplain and Wild and Scenic River rules as part of
zoning ordinance.
• Acquire parkland and trails through purchase, donation, or easement.
• Designate areas to be set aside as parkland, roads, etc. in future development.
• Require erosion control and stormwater management measures in new
• Provide assistance to businesses locating or expanding within the city.

6/29/99 14


(Minimize surface runoff and maintain groundwater recharge)
1. Limit pavement in the watershed.
2. Keep urban stormwater out of the stream. Divert it and/or infiltrate it into the
3. Do not increase ag drainage flows into the stream to the point where the
stream is damaged. (Find out how much can be tolerated. If this is "exceeded ,
compensate with increased water storage elsewhere.)
4. Restore and maintain wetlands, trees and grasslands in the watershed.
5. Use conservation tillage.
6. Do not deplete groundwater supplies through excessive pumping, or placing
sewers or storm sewers near the creek.
1. Keep trees along stream banks for shade.
2. Limit pavement in the watershed.
3. Do not block stream flow.
4. Do not use stormwater ponds (they warm up the water).
1. Use herbicides responsibly: Avoid aerial spraying, use brands that are not
toxic to aquatic life (e.g. Rodeo), and paint cut stumps rather than spraying.
2. Do not allow fertilizer, manure, septic system effluent, or waste materials to
enter the stream.
3. Maintain a grassed buffer along the ditch and a wooded buffer along the
4. Protect biologically sensitive areas in the watershed.
5. Use landscaping methods that allow for infiltration and reduce runoff


1. Use erosion control measures on farm land.
2. Require erosion control at construction sites.
3. Do not do construction around the creek at spawning time.
4. Do not clean the ditch at spawning time (fall and winter) - May & June are
5. Repair washouts and eroded banks.
6. Maintain a grass buffers along the ditches and a wooded buffer along the
7. Prevent runoff from gravel mining.
8. Use bridges instead of culverts in the creek. (If culverts are necessary, design
them to minimize effect on habitat.)
9. Do not excavate or place structures in the stream channel unless needed to
improve habitat.
1. Use watershed-based land use planning.
2. Maintain a public education program.
3. Monitor water quality and quantity.
4. Provide incentives for reducing imperviousness.
5. Provide options for landowners to voluntarily make improvements or to
provide permanent protection for the land.


SitePlIlnningfor Urban Stream Protection


Changes in stream hydrology Changes in stream morphology

Increased magnitude/frequency of severe Channel widening and downcutting

Streambank erosion
Increased frequency of erosivebankfull and
sub-bankfull floods Channel scour

Reduced groundwater recharge Shifting bars of coarse sediments

Higherflow velocities during storm events Imbedding of stream substrate

Loss of pool/riffle structure

Stream enclosure or channelization

Changes in stream water quality Changes in stream ecology

Sediment pulse during construction Shift from external productionto internal

Nutrient loads promote stream and lake algal
growth Reduced diversity of aquatic insects

Bacterial contamination duringdry and wet Reduced diversity of fish

Creation of barriersto fish migration
Higher loads of organicmatter
Degradation of wetlands, riparian zones and
Higherconcentrations of metals, springs
hydrocarbons, and prioritypollutants
Decline in amphibian populations
Stream warming

Trash and debrisjams

Site PI4nn/ng fOT urlHJi, Strt!llltl Protedio"

One such approach is described below. The 1. Watershed-based zoning

local stream protection strategy has seven
primary components that roughly correspond The future quality of an urban stream is
to normal stages of the development cycle fundamentally determined by the broad land
(Fig. 3). use decisions made by a community. It is


The SI!VeIf elements ofan ejfectfve local stnam protection strategy roughly follow each stap oftM dnelopmentcycle _
from zoning. planning. site design, construction, stabilization. andfinal occupancy,

Stream Protection Through Land Use Management
John Hunt, P.E.

I. Introduction

II. Trout Streams as a Resource

A. Relatively Rare for tbis Part of State

B. Increased Emphasis on NativeIWild Species (Brook Trout)

C. Coldwater Ecosystem is about more than just Trout

III. Priorities for Stream Protection

A. Baseline Assessment of Stream (Hydrologically, Channel Morphology,

Biological Integrity)

B. Assessment of Stream's Ultimate vs . Desired Potential

C. Does the stream need improvement, protection, or both to reach potential?

IV. Stream Rehabilitation

A. Identify limiting factors from baseline survey, address those first

B. In-channel work must be compatible with stream morphology and hydrology

V. Stream Protection

A. Individual Landowner Options

a. Permanent Acquisition (Eagle Creek)

b. Permanent Easements (Brown's Creek, Duschee Creek)
c. Private Land Use Decisions (Rotational Grazing, Buffer Strips)

B. Watershed Scale Options

a. Set-back Ordinances (Vermillion River, Riley-Purgatory Creeks, Valley

b. Innovative Stormwater Management (Eagle Creek, Brown's Creek)
c. Alternative Lawn Project (Eagle Creek)

VI. Summary
A. Well-Planned Development can be Compatible with Resource

B. Innovative and/or Non-traditional Designs or Methods are Critical

... Il ... II.


The Spring Brook watershed is primarily a rural area on the outskirts of Northfield
and Dundas. The upper part of the watershed is a prosperous farming area with
scattered woodlots, wetlands and rural residences. The soils and ditch are well
managed so that erosion is minimized and the ditch rarely has to be cleaned out. The
ditch has a grassed buffer along its banks, and most of the fields have good residue
cover, grassed waterways and other conservation practices. Some of the woods and
wetlands are in programs such as RIM that provide some long-term protection.
Feedlots are also well managed to prevent nutrients from entering the ditch. There is
a commercial area around the interchange of Hwys 35 and 1, but it does not extend
into the Spring Brook watershed.

Flood damage has been minimized by restoring some of the wetlands in the
watershed, making sure bridges are large enough, and preventing development in
the floodplain.

The lower end of the watershed is in Northfield and Dundas. The stream corridor
from Dundas Blvd. to 100th St. is a park with a trail along it. This trail connects to a
network of other trails and is a popular scenic attraction. There is no other active
recreation next to the creek, but limited fishing takes place, and the creek is not
overfished. A naturally-reproducing population of brook trout live in the creek.
Other wildlife and birds are often seen in the stream corridor, and they use it to move
back and forth to the Cannon River.

Housing has been built away from the creek in clusters to minimize paved surfaces,
and additional trees and prairie vegetation have been planted between the creek and
the homes. This open space area is protected with conservation easements.
Srormwater is managed through infiltration and overland flow , so there is no piped
discharge to the stream and no need for holding ponds.
By mutual agreement, the cities, township and county have decided to design and
locate roads and utilities to minimize impacts to the creek. Consequently, sewers do
not run along the stream, the bridges allow fish passage, and the road ditches are
designed so that runoff is collected and filtered before entering the creek.
Impervious surfaces in the watershed are kept below 400 acres.

This vision of the Spring Brook watershed in 2050 is based on comments

made by participants in the Spring Brook Committee's discussions.

·! ~
..---..-------.'_ ..-.__..•I

I 4.9 acres

--_.. -··_·PAA'"WEit
54 .1 acres
94.4 ac res

PRAWER 174 .6 acres
119.3 acres

Prawer/Gill Annexation Legend'

Request C lAnnexation Request .. Civic Use
Environmentally Significant Area Water
PIl): 0703175001 ,07031 75002, _ Core Enhancement Preserve
0702300001 , 0703400001 , _ Neighborhood Conservation i.:"JCity Boundary
_ Corridor Redevelopment i.:"J Priority Growth Area
0702350001, 0702351001 Managed Growth r:.: :Urban Expansion Area
Conservat ion Development C:"J City of Dundas
_ Infill Sites
_ Redevelopment/Intensification Sites
Developed Land in City
_::::::::II_-=::::::::::I. ._ Feel
o 250 500 750 1,000 July 6, 2009

9;4.'1 acres

P.RAWER ----II~---.tt7r.st6 !ii'er;s_,­
119.3 acr es

_.... - .........
Prawer/ Gill Annexation Legend
Request I::l Anne xation Request - - Existi ng Trail/S idewalk

PIl): 07031 75001, 0703175002,

Context Water
_ Core
Environmentally Significant Area
0702300001 ,0703400001 , Center M Preserve
070235000~0702351001 _ Corridor

FRA!\<lEWORK District
Educationa l Distric t

_::::II_-==:II__ Feet Rural

a 250 500 750 1,000 July 6, 2009
N 4H~ld

\ ........

Wcu r

54.1 acres
94.4 acres

119.3 acres 174.6 acres

09 10 11 12

PTaNer/G illAnnexatbn 1999 Ann exation Agreement
Requa Priority Growth Area

PID : 0703175001,0703175002, C Urban Expansion Area

IZ] City Hospital
0702300001,0703400001, CZl City Facilities
Open Space
Pmrl:¥G JDNth and U J:ban E~ Carleton College
l:xJLm.daI::i:s firm 200 8 N oI:t:hfi:1:i S1. Olaf College
Canp~P :l3n Pond
_ Feet
o 500 1.000 1.500 2.000 .:ll¥14,2009