4.4 Public Health

Goal 4 - Public Health

Minimize the risks of threats to public health through the development of programs, plans and policies that improve the quality of surface and groundwater resources.

Discussion

Threats to public health in the Minnehaha Creek subwatershed relate to pathogens found in the waters.  Sewage overflows from sanitary sewer breaks or improperly functioning infrastructure could result in overflows discharged to downstream water resources.   An additional potential source of pathogens is waterfowl, which are attracted to open water with easy routes from the water to vegetation on shore.  The Minneapolis Park Board monitors beaches on the lakes in Minneapolis and manages necessary closures when bacteria counts exceed state health standards.  Ongoing monitoring in Minnehaha Creek has found periodic e. coli exceedances in the Creek.  The District’s role in minimizing risks to public health will be to continue monitoring the Creek to diagnose potential sources for those exceedances and to develop a plan for addressing them.

Desired Outcomes:  Minimization of threats to public health from contact with contaminated surface waters.

Metrics:  Reported cases of illness transmission via surface water contact.

Goal 4.1 - Minnehaha Creek

Minimize risks to human health and water quality from land use activities.

Actions

  1. Work cooperatively with the state, Hennepin County and LGUs to provide BMP information and technical assistance to individual sewage treatment system owners.

Goal 4.2 - Minnehaha Creek

Maintain a vegetated shoreline on lakes, streams and wetlands where practical and effective to reduce overpopulation with waterfowl.

Actions

  1. Promote native vegetation over structural streambank stabilization where appropriate in District policies, regulations, and programs.
  2. Work cooperatively with LGUs and property owners to restore native streambank and lakeshore vegetation where appropriate.
    1. Provide education and training opportunities, technical and planning assistance, and demonstration project funding to LGUs to assist them in restoring lakeshores, streambanks and buffers on public property such as parks and open spaces, taking into consideration the balance between recreational use and ecosystem needs.
    2. Develop and distribute written material to shoreline property owners explaining the benefits of lakeshore and streambank restoration and buffer creation to waterfowl control and providing design, plant selection, installation, and maintenance advice.

Goal 4.3 - Minnehaha Creek

Require LGUs and other agencies to manage public sanitary sewer infrastructure to minimize sewage overflows and to minimize impacts from those overflows on District water resources.