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Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

Field day touts versatile winter camelina

This cover crop endures drought, keeps nitrates out of groundwater, helps pollinators, and produces both a cooking oil and a biodiesel. What’s holding it back in Minnesota? Read more.

Meet the Drainage Management Team

As the Drainage Management Team reaches its 10-year mark, a look at the group that explores ways to apply science to agricultural drainage. Its members hail from agencies ranging from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the University of Minnesota. Read more.

Soil & Water Conservation Districts celebrate MN CREP conservation firsts

Two Minnesota counties celebrate milestones for the MN CREP program: Redwood County marks the first recorded MN CREP easement, while West Otter Tail County marks the first recorded MN CREP wetland easement. One flanks a ditch in a corn field, the other forever protects property from development. Both enhance wildlife habitat. Read more.

In Douglas County, saving Lake Ida starts with sampling

One of the largest, deepest, and cleanest of Douglas County’s 400-some lakes is in danger of degrading. A Clean Water Fund grant supports efforts to collect samples throughout the summer from a county drainage ditch to help determine the best course of action. Read more.

Agricultural wetland banking aids landowners

The Ag Bank provides opportunities for farmers to drain degraded wetlands in a way that is both legal and environmentally sustainable. It also provides options for landowners interested in restoring a wetland on their property. Read more.

Plant of the Month: Partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)

With its ability to take root in disturbed, sandy soil, partridge pea makes a good cover crop for erosion control. It’s often called “sleeping plant” because its leaflets collapse into each other when touched. Read more.

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June 20, 2018

Minnesota Office for Soil Health adds State Soil Health Specialist

St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Office for Soil Health (MOSH) announces the selection of the first State Soil Health Specialist, Anna Cates. This position provides expertise on soil health issues for agricultural and conservation professionals across the state. Read the full announcement here.

April 12, 2018

BWSR Board Committee Votes Down Additional APO Option

St. Paul, Minn. — Today, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Buffers, Soils, and Drainage Committee met in St. Paul to review public comments on a draft amendment to the Administrative Penalty Order Plan (APO) for Buffer Implementation. Based on comments received via the public notice, the Board Committee voted unanimously to reject the proposal. Read the press release here. Read the letter Executive Director John Jaschke shared with Ag groups earlier this week here.

April 2, 2018

Notice of Request for Comment on a Proposed Amendment to Administrative Penalty Order Plan for Buffer Law Implementation

St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is requesting public review and comment on a proposed amendment to the Administrative Penalty Order (APO) Plan for Buffer Law Implementation. The purpose of the amendment is to offer another option to assess penalties for noncompliance with the buffer requirements for counties and watershed districts that choose to use APO in the official control. Please visit the Buffer Program page to find more information about the proposed amendment and request for comments.

February 2, 2018

BWSR Completes Feasibility Study and Plan for Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program

St. Paul, Minn.— BWSR has completed a feasibility study and plan for a Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program – a program that would provide incentives for landowners to plant perennial and cover crops that will improve water quality. The report, posted below, includes an overview of promising crops and livestock enterprises, including perennial grasses and winter annual cover crops that keep roots in the soil and vegetation on the land throughout the year, improving soil health and wildlife habitat, storing carbon, and capturing excess nitrogen. Many of these crops can be grown for food or beverage production, grazed, used for livestock feed and bedding, or processed for applications such as bio-jet fuel, bio-based packaging, and renewable chemicals.

The study was directed by the 2016 Minnesota Legislature (Laws 2016, c. 189, s. 4) with the goal of improving water quality by increasing living cover on the landscape at a watershed scale. 

BWSR coordinated this effort with stakeholders and other state agencies, including agricultural and resource conservation interests, commodity groups, watershed districts, soil and water conservation districts, the biofuels industry, landowners, researchers at the University of Minnesota, and the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Health, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

BWSR will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to analyze water quality impacts, track the progress of crop development, and investigate emerging market opportunities. Updates will be posted to this page regularly.

Read more.

February 1, 2018

Recommendations for Accelerating Public Drainage System Acquisition and Establishment of Buffer Strips and Alternative Practices

St. Paul, Minn.—BWSR has released a report for legislative consideration containing recommendations for accelerating the establishment of buffer strips on those reaches of Minnesota’s 19,150 miles of public drainage ditches that still need vegetative buffers. The report recommends statutory changes, funding provisions, administrative policy changes, and a comprehensive outreach and education to the county and watershed district drainage authorities that manage these systems on behalf of the landowners who own them. The 2017 Legislature directed BWSR to coordinate the Drainage Work Group to evaluate and make recommendations that would accelerate the acquisition and establishment of buffer strips or alternative practices along public drainage systems in advance of the November 1, 2018 deadline established by Minnesota’s Buffer Law. The Drainage Work Group completed and approved the 23-page report in early January and on January 24, 2018 the BWSR Board accepted it and directed it be sent to the legislature. The Drainage Work Group has representatives from all the key stakeholder groups involved in the management of public drainage systems in Minnesota. Read more here.

February 1, 2018

Root Causes, Root Solutions

St. Paul, Minn.—Improvements Josh and Steph Dahl are making on their fourth-generation family farm through the Root River Field to Stream Partnership will position their Houston County dairy operation for the future. Intensive edge-of-field and in-stream monitoring data collected here and on three other southeastern Minnesota farms will pinpoint what effect specific conservation practices have on water quality. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture-led venture started with monitoring in 2010. Clean Water Fund grants from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources helped fund conservation practices in Houston, Fillmore and Mower counties. Full story here.

January 25, 2018

Root River Area Farmers Implement Conservation Practices to Reduce Soil Erosion, Protect Water Quality

St. Paul, Minn.—The Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Board of Water and Soil Resources announced that their Root River Field to Stream Partnership with local farmers is reducing soil loss and protecting water quality. Nearly 100 percent of farmers in the Root River study area have participated in a field walkover to identify those areas most susceptible to sediment and nutrient loss. In just two years, more than 60 percent of those farmers have installed or fixed conservation practices in their fields to reduce these losses. Read more here.

Announcements Archive

To view previous announcements, visit the archive

Legacy Amendment

Legacy Amendment logoInformation For Citizens: How These Dollars Are Being Spent and How You Can Participate

BWSR receives appropriations from the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment to pay for on-the-ground conservation projects that provide multiple benefits for water quality and wildlife habitat.

Buffer Program

Enacted 2015 legislation requires a new approach to buffers for designated waters in Minnesota. For more information on the Buffer Initiative, please visit

To view the State buffer page, click:

Minnesota CREP

In January 2017 Governor Mark Dayton signed a $500 million Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture. This federal, state, and local partnership will work with farmers and other landowners across 54 counties in southern and western Minnesota who choose to voluntarily implement conservation practices on up to 60,000 acres of land to restore and protect water quality and enhance habitat.

Click here to learn more about the program.

One Watershed, One Plan

One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) is an important planning initiative, conceived by local governments, passed by the legislature, and being developed by BWSR.

Click here to learn more about the program and opportunities.

Nonpoint Priority Funding Plan

The Nonpoint Priority Funding Plan (NPFP) is a criteria-based, systematic process to prioritize Clean Water Fund (CWF) nonpoint implementation investments.

Click here to learn more about the program and opportunities.

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About BWSR

BWSR Mission: Improve and protect Minnesota's water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners

BWSR is the state soil and water conservation agency, and it administers programs that prevent sediment and nutrients from entering our lakes, rivers, and streams; enhance fish and wildlife habitat; and protect wetlands. The 20-member board consists of representatives of local and state government agencies and citizens.

About BWSR


BWSR works in partnership with local government units, state and federal government agencies, and other organizations.

Local Government Units and Partner Agencies -- Overview of BWSR's conservation partners, includes directories, maps, guidance documents and publications.

Performance Review and Assistance Program (PRAP)

Performance Review and Assistance Program (PRAP) -- Through the PRAP, BWSR staff evaluate water management entities, and, where necessary, provide assistance.


The Technical Training page contains information on the Technical Training and Certification Strategy, program information, implementation details and programmatic updates.

The BWSR Training page has dates and locations of training sessions conducted by BWSR staff as well as other training-related information.


The BWSR Maps and Apps Portal contains maps and interactive web map applications that BWSR staff and partner agencies use to administer conservation programs.


Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155 | (651) 296-3767 | Fax (651) 297-5615 | TTY (800) 627-3529

An Equal Opportunity Employer