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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Wetland Ordinance

A major item on the agenda for Monday's regular council meeting is the first reading of a revision of Maplewood's wetland ordinance, something our Environmental & Natural Resources Commission has been working on for quite some time. In case you'd rather not download the entire (20+ MB) packet for the whole meeting, there is a page on the city website just devoted to the proposed changes to the wetland ordinance. There you can find maps of the city's wetlands, and a helpful redlined version of the proposed ordinance (indicating what is the same and what is changed from current city law).

From reading the proposed ordinance, I gather that there are really two major aspects to the changes. The first is a reclassification of Maplewood wetlands, to bring our city's nomenclature in line with the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District's. This standardization would have several benefits, including cost savings for city staff time. (If we piggyback on RWMWD's classifications, then we don't have to go out and classify all the wetlands ourselves according to our own separate system; we can use the work that the Watershed District has already done.) The ordinance also would create an "A+" classification, for the special wetlands that are already at the highest rating from the Watershed District, but are so valued that they need additional protection (larger protective buffers). The city has not yet identified which specific wetlands meet this standard, but it's believed that many of them already are on public land (for example, wetlands within the Priory neighborhood preserve).

You can also read a newsbrief about the wetland ordinance on the Maplewood Review website.

Like our community as a whole, I believe our city council has a strong shared interest in protecting our environment. Updating our wetland ordinance is one of the ways we can come together to do that.

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