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Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

Conservation in the Glacial Hills

As he combined corn at night, Tom Beuckens anticipated the jolt that would indicate the spot where hard rains always cut a gully into the field. "It was dark and I was waiting for my wheels to drop in, and nothing happened," Beuckens said. That's when he knew the water and sediment control basins were working. Read more.

Transforming a contaminated site in a Minneapolis neighborhood

To successfully complete the Towerside District Stormwater System project and transform a neighborhood in Minneapolis the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) brought together private and public partners. Read more.

TSA 8 expands knowledge and skills for SWCD technical staff

"Our work is important because the intersection of forests and waters holds the key to water quality. A lot of our area is in a 'Protection' framework, which means that most of our resources are in good condition. But, this also means they are in need of protection" says BWSR Minor Watershed/Private Forest Management Coordinator, Dan Steward. Read more.

Landowner sign up opens to restore wetlands for road program

On January 8, 2018 the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) began accepting applications from landowners to restore wetlands that will be used to support the Local Government Road Wetland Replacement Program (LGRWRP). Read more.

Featured Plant: Red Columbine

A popular plant in woodland gardens, Red Columbine is tolerant of a wide range of soils and light levels, and is an early blooming food source for pollinators. While there are many other columbine species found in the United States and Canada, Red Columbine is the only Minnesota native Aguilegia species. It is widespread in the state, as it can grow in habitats ranging from rock outcrops and bluff prairies to oak forests. Read more.

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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.

December 21, 2017

Minnesota Awards $15.2 Million in Clean Water Fund Grants to Improve Water Quality Across the State

St. Paul, Minn. – Governor Mark Dayton commended the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Board action to improve water quality in streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater across the state. The new grants, from the state’s Clean Water Fund, include $6.5 million dollars which will be used to protect at-risk waters and restore polluted waters throughout the state. Read the press release here.

December 19, 2017

BWSR celebrates outstanding 2017 conservation work

St. Paul, Minn. – As the year draws to a close, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) recognized the excellent work done locally in Minnesota communities to advance conservation. Read the press release here.

November 13, 2017

Sign up for MN CREP continues despite Federal CRP Continuous Signup suspension

St. Paul, Minn. – In October, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced a temporary suspension of enrollment in the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP). However, Minnesota landowners are still able to participate in sign-ups for the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (MN CREP). Read the press release here.

November 8, 2017

New healthy soils initiative launched by the Board of Water and Soil Resources and the University of Minnesota

St. Paul, Minn. – Clean water depends on healthy soil – soil that supports plant growth and can absorb, hold, and filter water. Healthy soil, in turn, depends on how people manage the land. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center (WRC) have committed to expand the science of soil health and share practical information with the farmers, conservationists and others who manage our state’s soils. Read the press release here.

November 7, 2017

Opportunities on BWSR Board

St. Paul, Minn. – Want to make a difference? Yesterday Governor Mark Dayton encouraged “Minnesotans to apply for appointment to one of over 200 openings on Minnesota boards, councils, and commissions.”

There are three open positions for the BWSR board. Head to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website and search for the Board of Water and Soil Resources and you’ll see openings for a County Commissioner, SWCD Supervisor, and a Watershed District Representative. You can apply directly on the website.

For more information read Governor Mark Dayton’s announcement at

October 5, 2017

Progress Toward Buffer Compliance is Strong

St. Paul, Minn. – Minnesota landowners and Soil and Water Conservation Districts have been hard at work statewide to achieve buffer compliance. With just under one month to go until the November 1 implementation deadline, statewide buffer compliance on public waters is currently over 94%. Read the press release here.

August 30, 2017

BWSR Expands Resources Available for Landowners Pursuing Alternative Practices to Buffers

St. Paul, Minn. – At the August 24 board meeting the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) approved two additional resources for landowners pursuing alternative practices to buffers. Each resource is designed to expand the options for water quality solutions in common situations where practices other than buffers may make sense. Read the press release here.

July 11, 2017

Local Governments Join Forces to Plan for Water Management

St. Paul, Minn. – Continuing statewide work to shift local water planning to a more holistic, coordinated approach, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) approved six new planning grants for the One Watershed, One Plan program. The June 28 board action allocates up to $1,500,000 in Clean Water Fund grants to fund six planning projects to address water quality and other water issues on a watershed basis. Read the press release here. One Watershed, One Plan map of participating watersheds.

May 4, 2017

MN CREP sign-up kicks off May 15, 2017

St. Paul, Minn. – Landowners have a new option to protect their environmentally sensitive cropland with the introduction of the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (MN CREP). The kick-off for the MN CREP continuous sign-up begins May 15, 2017. Read the press release here.

January 19, 2017

Governor Dayton Signs CREP agreement

Governor Dayton signing 2017 CREP Agreement

Almost 180 conservation leaders, media, elected officials and farmers joined Governor Dayton in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, January 17 as he signed a new Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture. A great day for conservation, you can read the Governor’s press release here. To learn more about CREP, click 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