PINE RIVER -- The Tri-County Leech Lake Watershed submitted its recommendations for the Highway 371 corridor planning effort in a letter to Cass County and the planning consultant, Jay Blake of Dahlgren, Shardlow & Uban of St. Cloud.
Tri-County Leech Lake Watershed is a cooperative project representing areas of Cass, Hubbard and Beltrami counties surrounding Leech Lake.
John Steward, a Minnesota DNR employee, coordinates the project.
The watershed's recommendations emphasize encouraging residential subdivisions adjacent to or within municipal boundaries, so those developments can connect to municipal water and sewer systems.
Highway 371 development plans should emphasize aesthetic beauty and incorporate vegetative buffers through local ordinances, it recommends.
Commercial development should occur immediately adjacent to cities.
Wetland buffer areas should be required, as well as a no net loss of wetlands through development. Adequate wetlands should be maintained to handle storm water runoff in developing areas.
Tri-County Leech Lake Watershed calls for inventory of priority scenic forest and shoreland areas on private land and recommends purchasing conservation easements from willing sellers for scenic management and managed public lands for compatible use.
The watershed also recommends establishing a dedicated county fund for cooperative partnerships to implement and maintain a natural resources management plan.
Additional public comment will be received for the Highway 371 corridor plan at a 7 p.m. meeting June 22 at Hope Annex behind the Cass County Courthouse in Walker.
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