The Minnesota Public Drainage Manual (MPDM) was first written and published in 1991 by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), in collaboration with an advisory committee and lead writers. The MPDM was updated in 2016 via contract by the BWSR, in coordination with a large stakeholder project advisory committee. The MPDM is a detailed reference document about Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 103E Drainage for drainage authorities, their advisors (attorneys, engineers, county auditors, watershed district secretaries, viewers, drainage inspectors), and others involved with state drainage law. The MPDM is available in a wiki format and has a maintenance plan (pdf) that involves the stakeholder Drainage Work Group for substantial updates within the manual. It is important to recognize that the MPDM provides guidance, but is not rule or law.

The MPDM includes detailed explanation and guidance about the numerous sections and subdivisions of Chapter 103E, including process, procedures and pertinent case law references. The MPDM also includes a Public Drainage System Best Management Practices chapter, as well as templates and forms by local government units that are involved in the administration of Chapter 103E drainage systems. Below are links to presentations about Chapter 103E and the MPDM that were used for outreach to key users of the MPDM after it was updated in 2016.

Presentations at Minnesota Public Drainage Manual Outreach Workshops

  • Chapter 2. Administrative and Legal Issues – Chapter structure and content, types of drainage law proceedings and processes, the players, involvement of engineers, recent drainage law updates, pertinent case law. - Presentation: John Kolb (RN), Kale Van Bruggen (RN) Engineers (pdf) | Broad Users (pdf)
  • Chapter 3. Engineering and Environmental Considerations – Chapter structure and content, key roles and responsibilities of engineers, Section 103E.015 considerations and coordination, environmental regulation, public waters, adequacy of the outlet, engineer’s reports, advisory reviews, and discussion of key design considerations, coordination, and common situations. - Presentations: Chris Otterness (HEI), Nathan Kestner (DNR) Engineers (pdf) | Broad Users Part 1 (pdf), Broad Users Part 2 (pdf)
  • Chapter 4. Viewing and Appraising – Chapter structure and content, key topics pertinent to the work of viewers and drainage engineers. - Presentation: John Kolb (RN), Kale Van Bruggen (RN) Engineers (pdf) | Broad Users (pdf)
  • Chapter 5. Public Drainage System BMPs – Discussion of BMPs and how they intersect with drainage system design, repair, and Chapter 103E.015 considerations. - Presentation: Erik Jones (HEI) Broad Users (pdf)

Drainage Records Database Template; Multipurpose Drainage Management Grants (pdf) – Overview of available drainage records template and records modernization guidelines, and of the Clean Water Fund, MDM Grants. - Presentation: Tim Gillette (BWSR) at Broad Users Workshops

Drainage System Acquisition of Ditch Buffer Strips and Alternative Practices (pdf) – Overview of existing authorities in Drainage Law and the Buffer Law. - Presentation: Al Kean (BWSR) at Broad Users Workshops


Tom Gile
Resource Conservation Section Manager
Dave Weirens
Assistant Director for Programs & Policy