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Existing Land Use and Development Constraints
Existing Land Use
The following section describes Marine’s
topography, soils, environmental constraints to
development and vegetation. The Soil Survey of Washington
and Ramsey Counties was the main source for data in this
section. Where data had not changed since 1980, text was
taken from Marine’s Comprehensive Plan completed in
The City is surrounded by a diverse landscape
consisting of level areas, ravines, and varied slopes.
The land formations are indicative of the natural
environment along major rivers that are formed by the
surface runoff process. Due to the watershed area and
volume of surface drainage, numerous ravines and
drainageways were formed in order to accommodate the
natural drainage to the river. Consequently, the aging,
intermittent streams resulted in linear land patterns
with steep slopes. This surface drainage cutting action
was also responsible for the terracing effect present
throughout the Marine area.
The northwest area of Marine is especially
characterized by numerous steep slopes and drainageways,
many of which run in a general north-south direction,
while the eastern area has basically level areas that are
separated by topographic changes similar to terraces. In
the western portion of the Marine, the level land is
separated by a gradual slope that also adds to the
The elevated level areas in Marine have numerous
depression areas that are surrounded by steep slopes,
various drainage swales, depressions, and level areas.
The City of Marine is located on a series of
relatively narrow terraces of the Jordan, St. Lawrence,
and Fraconia formations, which are covered by a
relatively thin layer of surface mantle composed of
alluvium and drift. This surface mantle varies in
thickness from approximately 60 feet on high ground in
the west edge of the City to a few feet on the low ground
along the river.
Soil Suitability and Limitations for On-Site Sewage
The City of Marine has several large areas with severe
limitations for on-site septic systems. By reason of
bedrock near the surface, steep slopes, wet or
periodically flooded areas, or slow percolation rates,
these soils have severe limitations for septic tank
drainfields. These features can be seen on the
Development Constraints Map.
1. Shallow Bedrock. Bedrock near the surface is
encountered along the St. Croix River and TH 95, as
indicated on the soils map, posing severe limitations for
private septic tank systems. Soil treatment systems which
are placed too close to fractured bedrock do not perform
well in terms of treatment of sewage effluent. Under
these conditions, sewage may move through the rock and
enter wells without receiving sufficient filtration to
remove the chemical and bacteriological contamination.
2. High Water Table. Water tables are another factor
in determining septic tank suitability. The depth of the
water table is the elevation at which the soil profile is
totally saturated. If a septic tank treatment system is
installed at this depth or deeper, no sewage effluent
will be able to move into the ground area since the soil
is already saturated. The sewage will then either back up
in the residence or seep to the surface of the ground.
A band of wet soils runs from the northern boundary of
the City through the center of the City. Other small
areas of wetlands are scattered throughout the City.
These soils are those that are periodically flooded or
have a high water table. The flooding referred to is
local ponding, which occurs after heavy rains and may
persist for several weeks or longer during the Spring.
Usually a soil that has flooding characteristics will
also tend to have a high seasonal water table.
3. Steep Slopes. Steep slopes are present throughout
Marine, especially along the St. Croix River, west of
Highway 95, and in the northwestern sections of Marine.
County ordinance prohibits the installation of a soil
absorption system on land in excess of a 13 percent
slope. Steep slopes present difficulties in residential
layout and construction as well as increased risks of
erosion, lateral seepage, and the down slope flow of
INSERT DEVELOPMENT CONSTRAINTS MAP HERE
4. Drainage Limitations. Soils with slow
percolation areas such as clay are found in the far
western edge of Marine and in scattered areas in the
southwest portions of the City. Slow percolation rates
indicate soils that are too tight to adequately treat
It should be pointed out that a great deal of the
existing housing in the City is located in areas of high
bedrock and water table and most of these properties are
connected to the existing municipal sewer system.
Locating septic drainage fields in areas of high bedrock
and water table could lead to severe pollution and water
Marine’s sewer system is limited in capacity and
extent in its current condition. Whenever possible,
future development in Marine should rely on the
City’s sewer system. When this is not possible,
caution should be used in the placement of individual
septic tanks and drainfields because Marine’s wells
are susceptible to potential ground water pollution due
to a shallow depth to bedrock and high water tables.
Environmental constraints and a limited sewer system
capacity will limit development in the City.
According to vacant land available and soils
information, it appears the following areas are best
suited for possible future development:
South of the platted area in Marine between TH 95 and
County Road 7 (Nason Hill Road). A small portion of this
area contains steep slopes.
West of the platted area in Marine, along both sides
of the railroad, south of William O’Brien State
Park. Jackson Meadows PUD is expected to consume 336
acres of this land within five years.
After an examination of air photos, significant
vegetative stands were found to exist throughout the
City, especially in the north central and northwestern
section of the City. There are also significant stands
along the St. Croix River and in the far southern reaches
of the City. This vegetation is composed mainly of elm,
oak, willow, spruce, pine, and various evergreens and
INSERT EXISTING LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT CONSTRAINTS
SMALL TOWN HISTORIC MANAGEMENT
The Lower St. Croix Management Commission is in the
process of developing a draft Comprehensive Management
Plan. The Commission is a planning team made up of the
National Park Service, the Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources, and the Wisconsin Department of
The Lower St. Croix Planning Task Force has proposed
that land along the St. Croix River from the south end of
William O’Brien State Park to the south end of Judd
Street and east of Highway 95 in Marine be a Small Town
Historic Management Area. This landscape is proposed to
be fully developed, or mostly so, but almost exclusively
single family residential and primarily historic in
character. Proposed rules for this area include
requirements for a minimum lot width of 100 feet and a
maximum building height of 35 feet.
A Rural Residential Management Area designation has
been proposed for land along the St. Croix River from
Judd Street to the north limits of Stillwater. This
landscape would provide a feeling of being on a river in
a sparsely developed landscape. Proposed rules for this
area include requirements for a minimum lot width of 200
feet and a maximum building height of 35 feet.
Marine on St Croix
This web page designed by Hugh Heimdahl