Technical Reports: Chub Creek Watershed Assessment 1999 - 2000
The Chub Creek watershed drains approximately 53,600 acres of land in southwestern Dakota County and portions of Rice and Scott Counties. The creek flows into the Cannon River just above Lake Byllesby. According to local residents, the Chub was a valuable fishery in the past, however, evidence suggests that fish and wildlife habitat have declined on the Chub during the last half century. Currently, agricultural landuse dominates the watershed, but urbanization of the area may occur as the Twin Cities metropolitan area sprawls south.
The Chub Creek Watershed Assessment is an initiative of the North Cannon River Watershed Management Organization and the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). With funding from these two organizations and a grant from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, the project started in the spring of 1999. The project objectives included to (1) quantitatively determine the overall health of the Chub Creek Watershed, (2) identify and prioritize resource management objectives, and (3) outline appropriate best management practices (BMPs) necessary to restore the resource. Water quality and quantity monitoring and landcover mapping by the SWCD continued through the fall of 2000. A citizen's group was established and periodic meetings were held to discuss the progress of the project and seek input on local concerns in the watershed.
In general, the health of the watershed could be described as "fair" to "good," meaning the aquatic and natural ecosystems are not functioning as well as they could be, but they are not so degraded that they are completely undesirable to wildlife, aquatic life, and citizens. There is evidence of a naturally reproducing population of northern pike, many sites possess macroinvertebrates (bugs) that indicate good water quality and habitat, and there are areas of large natural buffers and wetlands. However, there are also concerns throughout the watershed including very high levels of fecal coliform bacteria and elevated levels of ammonia, nutrients, and solids during runoff events that wash soil and other pollutants off the land. The watershed has also been subject to alteration in the way of wetland drainage and stream channelization which destroys habitat and increases water volume and erosion potential.
There are countless ways in which these concerns can be minimized. Local units of government, the North Cannon River Watershed Management Organization, and individual landowners, in cooperation with local, state, and federal agencies, can use best management practices and land protection and restoration actions to help enhance the natural resources within the Chub Creek watershed.