The Brown Nicollet Cottonwood Water Quality Board is a non-regulatory, multi-county alliance which collaborates with public and private organizations to protect and improve water quality.

The Water Quality Board has a long history of supporting and protecting local watersheds, lakes, river corridors, and groundwater protection areas through education and the implementation of voluntary cost-share assistance programs. The Board educates watershed residents, farmers, and children and helps to improve river and watershed management policy. The joint powers board also cooperates with other federal, state and local agency officials, researchers, industry and agri-business representatives, and university personnel. In concert with local SWCD, NRCS, DNR, and related natural resource agencies, Board staff:

• Monitor water quality concentrations and pollutant loadings on area lakes, streams, and rivers.
• Target, market, and coordinate Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and other set conservation program installations.
• Develop soil and water conservation plans for landowners and farmers.
• Conduct topographic surveys, investigations, and research relating to soil erosion, water quality, sedimentation, feedlot management, flooding, and management practices needed to conserve water resources.
• Work with cities to develop and implement wellhead protection plans.
• Demonstrate innovative techniques for water resource protection and management.

The Water Quality Joint Powers Board was officially initiated and adopted by Brown, Nicollet and Cottonwood counties in January of 1992 by resolution in New Ulm, MN. The board was formed as a response to groundwater concerns by the city of St. Peter and area counties. Two appointed commissioners from each county govern the board and meet biannually. Staff offices are located in St. Peter, Minnesota in conjunction with Brown-Nicollet Environmental Health offices. Currently two full time staff are employed and are actively coordinating six major grant programs. Nearly 90% of the Board’s budget is allocated through private and public grant sources.

To date, active partners include Brown, Nicollet and Cottonwood County: Environmental Services, Water Planning, SWCD, NRCS, Planning and Zoning, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Board of Water and Soil Resources, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, City of St. Peter, Minnesota State University Water Resources Center, University of Minnesota, Gustavus Adolphus College, Middle Minnesota Major Watershed Group, Blue Earth Consulting, McKnight Foundation, and area agribusinesses.

Monitoring Programs
Groundwater monitoring
River and lake monitoring

Technical Programs
Drainage research
Wetland research
Wetland design and topographic surveys
• Riparian protection
• CRP management plans
• Nutrient management planning
• Private lands management
• GIS development, analysis and management
• Historical air photo archiving and rectification
Farm Bill assistance

Educational Programs

Children’s Water Festival
College level internship fall, J-term and spring semester programming

Incentive Programs
State revolving low interest loans for individual sewage treatment systems
Conservation reserve program incentives
Watershed cost-share programs

Nicollet County
Judy Hanson
David Haack

Brown County
Charles Guggisberg
Donald Wellner

Cottonwood County
John Oeltjenbruns
Norm Holmen

Kevin Kuehner - Project Director/Coordinator
Scott MacLean - Watershed Technician


Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Clean Water Partnership Grants
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Environmental Partnership Grants
Environmental Protection Agency 319 Grants
Board of Water & Soil Resources Challenge Grants


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Brown Nicollet Cottonwood Water Quality Board
322 South Minnesota Avenue | St. Peter, MN 56082 | Phone: 507-934-4140 | Fax: 507-934-8958

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