Chanhassen has 361 known and inventoried wetlands totaling more than 3,000 acres in area. Despite the seemingly large number of wetlands, we are in an area that has lost between 50 and 80% of all historic wetlands. A review of the historic USGS topographic maps for the area will quickly reveal the extent of the area dominated by wetlands in the early 20th century.
Wetlands range from seasonally flooded depressions to what are more typically thought of as sloughs dominated by cattails and flooded year round. The provide a variety of benefits including flood control, erosion prevention, ground water recharge, recreational and educational opportunities as well as wildlife habitat and water quality protection.
Buffers are strips of natural vegetation along the shoreline of wetlands, lakes, streams, and rivers that provide many benefits to the water and wildlife. Some of these benefits include:
- Buffers protect soils from erosional forces of rain and runoff.
- Buffers provide important upland habitat for wildlife nesting and protection from predators
- Buffers filter sediment and pollutants from stormwater runoff
- Buffers can enhance views and provide screening by adding attractive flowers, trees, and shrubs.
- Buffers can reduce maintenance and the need for irrigation.