The MPRB and the Hiawatha Constructed Wetland
April 27, 2019
The MPRB proposal would build a "constructed wetland" on the Hiawatha Golf Course property, although, MPRB personnel say that they will be restoring this property back to its former self as a "natural wetland". The following information has been obtained from Environmental Protection Agency documents about Constructed Wetlands.
Artificial [constructed] wetlands are wetlands that have been built or extensively modified by humans, as opposed to natural wetlands which are existing wetlands that have had little or no modification by humans, such as filling, draining, or altering the flow patterns or physical properties of the wetland. (2)
SaveHiawatha18's statement: Based on the EPA definition of "natural wetlands", the Hiawatha Golf Course property has not been a natural wetland since it was modified in the 1930's, and it can never again be considered a "natural wetland" because it is a product of extensive modifications by human beings ,and extensive changes in the neighborhoods surrounding the property.
The following information about site selection for constructed wetlands comes from EPA documents:
SaveHiawatha18's concern: Hiawatha Golf Course is in a floodplain.
SaveHiawatha18's concern: Hiawatha Golf Course is heavy in peat.
SaveHiawatha18's concern: The current plans put the wetland across the street from homes; i.e., within about 30 feet, and removes the large buffer zone that currently protects the low-lying homes.
SaveHiawatha18's concern: Lake Hiawatha has one of the highest volumes of water running through it (lowest water residency rates) of any lake in the State of Minnesota.
SaveHiawatha18's concern: The MPRB has not been diligent in maintaining the 18-hole golf course or the constructed wetlands at Lake Nokomis. If the MPRB does not maintain this new wetland, how will it serve the stated purpose of phosphorus removal over time, or will it just turn into a phosphorus saturated swamp?
(1) EPA - A Handbook of Constructed Wetlands
(2) EPA Booklet - Constructed Wetlands Treatment of Municipal Wastewater