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Local Government Units and Partner Agencies

Overview of water management duties, related statutes, guidance documents, directories, and more info for LGUs:

Local Contacts
WD Directory PDF file - requires Adobe Reader
Chapter 103D (Statewide) and 103B (Metro)
Map of Watershed Districts PDF file - requires Adobe Reader
Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts

Overview of Duties

Watershed districts are local units of government that work to solve and prevent water-related problems. The boundaries of the districts follow those of a natural watershed (an area in which all water drains to one point). Minnesota has 46 watershed districts, most of which are named after the primary lake or river within the watershed. Minnesota's watershed districts do not cover the entire state. They are created through a local petition process. The specific duties of Watershed Districts vary across the state -- some focus mainly on flood damage reduction, while others have a broad range of programs and services to protect and improve water quality. Each watershed district is governed by a board of managers appointed by the county boards of commissioners with land in the watershed district. Each watershed district is also required to have a citizen advisory committee to provide input to the managers on projects and activities. Many watershed districts have paid, full-time staff; others rely on contract employees, primarily for engineering and legal services.


The Minnesota Legislature authorized the creation of watershed districts in 1955, through the Watershed Act, with the idea that water management policies should be developed on a watershed basis, because water does not follow political boundaries.The statutory purposes of watershed districts are to conserve the natural resources of the state by land use planning, flood control, and other conservation projects by using sound scientific principles for the protection of public health and welfare and the provident use of natural resources. Watershed districts have been given broad authorities, including the authority to:

Quick facts:

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

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