LCCMR St. Croix Basin Protection: Coordinated, Innovative, Targeted
Project Description: This project links local, state, and federal governmental units, citizen–led non-profits, and design & technical expertise in an effective, well-coordinated partnership to set priorities, implement targeted on-the-ground projects, protect wildlife habitat, and promote land and water stewardship to enhance and protect the very special place the Saint Croix River Basin is to live, recreate, and work. This project will enhance efficiencies and improve environmental outcomes.
The project is divided into two main activities:
Activity 1: Craft a collective, far-reaching conservation strategy for the Basin in the project area.
The St. Croix River Association will collect and distill county water plans, Soil and Water Conservation District comprehensive plans, county water plans, municipal capitol improvement plans, National Park Service plans, DNR regional plan, nonprofit priorities, and others. These players will form the St. Croix Action Team (SCAT). From all of these plans, one master list of priorities will be created.
Building on what we know, the Team will identify strategies needed to prevent and mitigate changes that are likely to degrade land and water resources. Based on these strategies, the Team will develop prioritization matrix to be used in Activity 2 to identify priority actions. The prioritization matrix will develop criteria for multiple landscape types (rural, urban, developing land, forested, agriculture) based on factors such as:
Activity 2: Develop a basin to site prioritization protocol, identify priority conservation areas and the priority actions needed, and implement targeted projects to protect and maintain healthy landscapes and watersheds in the Basin.
Priority Conservations Areas: Using the results of the prioritization protocol approximately 3 to 7 priority conservation areas will be identified. For each area the project will:
Subwatershed Assessments: Approximately 3 to 5 Subwatershed Assessments will be conducted in priority areas. These assessments will identify sites (within parcels) and the best management practices to implement at those sites to realize water quality, ecological health, economic benefits. The results will be shared with officials and the public as educational outreach. These assessments will include detailed natural resource and water quality modeling, a prioritized list of activities and cost-benefit analysis of priority conservation actions.
Priority Actions: The subwatershed assessments will guide the development of 30 to 50 priority actions that will function as a to-do list for project partners in the identified priority areas.
Implement Projects: Out of the 30-50 priority projects, 7 will be installed in partnership with landowners, federal agencies, and others using matching funds.