Protecting Wetlands

Maplewood’s landscaped is dotted with wetlands - over 300 wetlands. Once maligned as swamps, people have come to understand how important wetlands are to both rural and urban areas.

Wetlands serve a variety of beneficial functions including providing food and habitat for wildlife, maintaining water quality by filtering pollutants, reducing flooding, and providing open space for human enjoyment. Wetlands are an important asset to the city and residents who live here.

Wetland Ordinance & Wetland Classifications

Activities in and around wetlands may degrade, pollute, accelerate the aging of or eliminate wetlands. Maplewood’s wetland ordinance (City Code section 12-310) helps preserve the beneficial functions of wetlands and streams by regulating surrounding land use, educating the public, and encouraging stewardship of wetlands and wetland buffers.

Maplewood’s wetlands are classified based on quality. Required wetland buffer width differs for each classification. The city’s Wetland Map (see link below) shows all regulated wetlands, their classifications, and lists buffer widths. In addition to the ordinance, Maplewood has developed a guide (see link below) to help residents understand what is permitted in wetlands and wetland buffers.

Wetland Stewardship

The city encourages residents that live on a wetland to protect the wetland and its upland buffer. The 2 important steps you can take are:

  1. Reduce fertilizer and pesticide use near the wetland.
  2. Establish a buffer of native vegetation along the wetland edge.

Restoring the wetland edge can be tricky so you’ll want to do your homework before getting started. Take a tour of the shoreline plantings at Lake Phalen to see some of the shoreline plants in bloom. Stop by Maplewood Nature Center to browse their library, which includes books on plants, wildlife, and restoration. And contact your local watershed district - the districts covering Maplewood have cost-share programs to help residents with landscape projects that help protect water quality.