General Information
Historical records
Public Access to Records
Additional Resources

Information provided in this chapter is intended to be guidance. Please work with your legal counsel for advice and to review of your records retention schedule and procedure. 

General Information

SWCDs are required to develop and maintain an efficient records management program (MINN. STAT. 138.17 Subd. 7). The staff is responsible for developing a records management and retention policy, which is adopted by the board. This policy should include an inventory of records and a schedule establishing a time period for retention or disposal of a records series.

The Minnesota Historical Society State Archives has guidance on “Preserving and Disposing of Government Records” (December 2016). The document includes information on the following topics:

  • What is a record
  • Taking an inventory
  • Records retention schedules
  • Preservation of archival records
  • Records disposal
  • Setting up a records storage area
  • More information

Historical records

SWCDs contain many series of records that have significant historical value. Records with historical value of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Watershed Districts are listed on State Archives government records information leaflet no 10:

Records that no longer have administrative value to a district may be eligible for transfer to the State Archives of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Public Access to Records

SWCDs are responsible to comply with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA). The Act states that government data are public unless a state or federal law indicates that the data are not public (Minnesota Statutes Chapter 13). Government data is defined as “all data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by any government entity regardless of its physical form, storage media or conditions of use” (MINN. STAT. 13.02 subd. 7.)

It is your responsibility to keep all government data in a way that simplifies public access to public data. It is also your responsibility to protect not public data. An inventory process will assist in complying with this requirement and protect your organization.

Additional Resources

There are many resources available to assist you in creating or maintaining a records management program. See below:

Minnesota Statute and Rules Related to Records Management and Data Practices

Data Practices

Electronic Management

Records Retention Schedules, Guidelines, and Forms

Records Disposal

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB)- Fiscal Retention Schedule