Within the seven county metropolitan area, watershed districts and water management organizations must develop and revise their watershed management plans every ten years. The guidance and templates on this page will help you with the process.

The update process is broken up into four major phases: initiate, draft, review and adopt (see Figure 1). Each phase consists of required and recommended steps for updating water plans, as per Minnesota Statute §103B.231 and Rule 8410. The required steps are indicated with an asterisk (*).

Metro watershed plan update process

Phase One: Initiate the update process

Step 1. Consult

WD/WMO consults with BWSR Board Conservationist to review the plan update process. Prepare to start the update process approximately 18-26 months prior to the expiration of the current plan to allow adequate time to gather priority concerns, write the plan, and meet the review timelines.  Discuss public input ideas. Set a due date for update completion and work backward to develop an internal timeline.

WD/WMO takes an official board action to start the update process. A resolution Word document (docx) indicating the intent to update their plan is encouraged.  Submit resolution to the BWSR Board Conservationist.

Step 2. Advisory committee(s)*

Engage committee(s) in the update process. The purpose of the committee(s) are to make recommendations on the issues identified in the plan (8410.0045, Subpart 2). Committees are most beneficial when their input is solicited and integrated regularly throughout the update process. WDs have a standing advisory committee and a technical advisory committee. WMOs have an advisory committee and/or other type of committee, or other public and technical participation.

Step 3. Notify*

WD/WMO notifies the required state review agencies, any county, city, township and soil and water conservation district in the area, and MnDOT. The notice describes the initiation of the plan update and requests input on water resource information; allow 60 days for response (prior to initial planning meeting).

Step 4. Initial planning meeting*

Host initial planning meeting(s) to receive, review and discuss public input.  At the initial planning meeting, the WD/WMO should discuss the planning process, issues identified during the initial 60-day agency comment period, potential goals and priorities, and discuss public input opportunities.

Step 5. Public input*

Develop a public input process that is WD/WMO Board approved and acceptable to BWSR. At least one public input meeting is required, however, multiple public meetings may be necessary to explain the planning process, the goals of the plan, and to solicit meaningful input. Citizen surveys and workshops with interest groups can be additional means to gather public input.

Step 6. Assessment*

WD/WMO performs self-assessment, gap analysis, and/or needs assessment to evaluate progress on current plan.

Step 7. Review*

WD/WMO identifies and considers all relevant plans and programs. Review any Water Resources and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) (pdf) reports, Groundwater Restoration and Protection Strategies (GRAPS) reports, and One Watershed, One Plans (1W1P) developed for the area.  

Step 8. Identify priority issues*

WD/WMO Committee(s) and Board identify and prioritize issues after assessing available information including input from the public and the resource inventory.

Phase Two: Draft plan

Step 9. Outline

WD/WMO reviews current plan sections, develop list of sections to update/revise, note areas where information is missing, or out of date. Develop and approve plan outline.

Step 10. Draft

WD/WMO develops first draft of plan. See Minnesota Rules 8410 for plan content requirements. Advisory and Technical Committees should provide input throughout the drafting process.

Step 11. Informal review

WD/WMO conducts an informal review. Gather feedback on first draft plan from required review agencies, Advisory Committee(s) and other means of public participation.

Step 12. Discuss

WD/WMO Board and Advisory Committee discuss and provide direction regarding feedback.

Step 13. Revise draft plan

WD/WMO revises draft plan per informal review and WD/WMO Board and Advisory Committee discussions. Submit second draft plan for review with WD/WMO Board approval.

Phase 3: Formal Review and Approval

Step 14. Formal review*

WD/WMO conducts first formal review of (60 day) draft plan. Allow at least 60 days for comments.

Step 15. Compile comments

WD/WMO compiles comments and prepares draft response to comments.

Step 16. Response to comments*

WD/WMO Board approves response to comments. Distribute responses to comments at least 10 days prior to public hearing.

Step 17. Public hearing*

WD/WMO conducts public hearing on (60 day) draft plan. Public hearing is held at least 10 days after distribution of response to comments and no sooner than 14 days after end of 60-day review period.

Step 18. Revise plan

WD/WMO revises (60 day) draft plan. Obtain WD/WMO Board approval to submit plan to BWSR for final review.

Step 19. Submit plan*

WD/WMO submits (90 day) final draft plan to BWSR to complete final formal review . The BWSR subcommittee will make a recommendation and send to the BWSR Board for decision.

Phase 4: Plan Adoption, Production, Distribution

Step 20. Adopt*

WD/WMO Board adopts final plan as approved by BWSR. Upon receiving notice that BWSR has approved their plan, the organization has 120 days to pass an Adoption and Implementation Resolution Word document (docx) and forward a copy of the adoption to the BWSR Regional Manager and Board Conservationist.

Step 21. Distribute*

WD/WMO prepares final plan for electronic and print distribution. WD/WMO distributes Plan to stakeholders.


Melissa King
Agency Tribal Liaison