In 1955, the Minnesota Legislature authorized the creation of Watershed Districts to help form special purpose local units of government to manage water issues based on the watershed’s natural hydrologic boundaries. These districts are governed by a board of managers appointed by county commissioners located in the watershed. Each watershed district offers opportunities for citizens to get involved whether through implementing conservation practices, participating in educational events or as simple as being a proactive watershed resident. Watershed Districts are overseen by the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR).
Located in Hennepin and Carver counties; the Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District is 47 square miles. The Board’s vision is to achieve sustainable uses appropriate for each body of water in the district resulting in waters dominated by diverse native fish and plant populations; lakes with water clarity of 2 meters or more; delisting of half of all impaired lakes or stream reaches; an engaged and educated public and scientific community participating in adaptive management activities; and regulatory recommendations necessary for municipal, county and state authorities to sustain the achieved conditions. The Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District has focused on water quality issues as well as providing recreation opportunities.
Contact: 612-333-7400 - http://www.rileywd.org/default.aspx
Nine Mile Creek
As the first urban watershed district formed in Minnesota, Nine Mile Creek covers most of the cities of Edina and Bloomington along with portions of Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Hopkins, and Richfield. Nine Mile Creek Watershed District works with residents to establish rain gardens to filter storm water runoff, re-meander the channel to a more natural state, and conduct lake drawdowns to control curly-leaf pondweed and reduce phosphorous-feeding algae blooms. The District is also involved in educational efforts and helping residents become citizen monitors to take water quality measurements.
Contact: 952-835-2078 - http://www.ninemilecreek.org/index.asp
Lower Minnesota River
This watershed district runs from the city of Carver at its western end to the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers taking in portions of Carver, Dakota, Hennepin and Scott counties. The Lower Minnesota River Watershed District plays an active role with the U.S. Corps of Engineers to maintain a 9-foot navigation channel on the final 14.5 miles of the Minnesota River. On the natural resources side of its work, the District assisted the DNR in negotiations with property owners to purchase sections of the Seminary Fen site. Other partnerships involving the District include the MN Conservation Corps, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Friends of the Minnesota Valley.
Contact: 952-856-5880 - http://www.watersheddistrict.org/
High Island Creek
Established on June 14, 1957, High Island Creek Watershed District was the first watershed district to be formed in Minnesota. This district oversees nearly 245 square miles covering areas in the three counties of Sibley, McLeod and Renville. Over the last few years, High Island Creek has begun to shift some its focus on addressing broader resource and conservation issues including water quality concerns while continuing to maintain an effective drainage system as its top priority. The watershed district established and implemented a 1 rod easement on all district maintained drainage ways and achieved full landowner compliance.
Contact: 507-964-5641 - http://mnwatershed.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7BC48E6C87-75F1-4676-8BA4-33C5453BEAFB%7D
Lac qui Parle – Yellow Bank
In the late 1960s, county commissioners from Lac qui Parle, Lincoln and Yellow Medicine began the process of establishing the Lac qui Parle – Yellow Bank Watershed District. The District came into existence on April 19, 1971 after a District Court approved the inclusion of the Yellow Bank Watershed into this new entity. Watershed boundaries stretch across six counties with three in Minnesota and three in South Dakota. Today, the Lac qui Parle – Yellow Bank Watershed District works on flood control structures, overseeing a Clean Water Partnership and managing the Stone Hill / Del Clark Park west of Canby.
Contact: 320-598-3317 - http://www.lqpybwatershed.org/Home_Page.html
Upper Minnesota River
An area of 505 square miles covers the Upper Minnesota River Watershed District starting at Browns Valley and ending at Appleton with portions of Big Stone, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Lac qui Parle counties. The Upper Minnesota River Watershed District works on flood control projects including the construction of a diversion channel around the City of Browns Valley. In addition, the District has sponsored a Fourth Grade Wetland Restoration Educational Program, funded the construction of rain gardens and partnered with federal and state agencies to partially restore flows to the Whetstone River (originally diverted in the early 1940s).
Contact: 320-839-3411 - http://www.umrwd.org/index.html
Yellow Medicine River
On the south side of the Minnesota River, the Yellow Medicine River Watershed District (YMRWD) came into existence on August 27, 1971 as the result of a county petition. Portions of Yellow Medicine, Lincoln and Lyon counties make up this watershed. The District works with landowners on tiling and drainage permits, flood control projects and watershed ditch berm inspections. A major focus of the YMRWD is implementing best management practices with assistance from MPCA and the three SWCDs located in the watershed to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Yellow Medicine River and its tributaries.
Contact: 507-872-6780 - http://www.ymrwd.org/index.htm