Water planning is the process of prioritizing water resource concerns and identifying strategies to meet goals especially at the local level. Planning is shaped by data collected by state and local agencies, state plans and strategies, and local citizen input.
A severe drought in the late 1970’s revealed a strong need for a better way to manage Minnesota’s water supplies. So, in 1985, the State of Minnesota adopted the Comprehensive Local Water Management Act, which allows counties to develop and implement comprehensive water management plans or “County Water Plans”. The plans emphasize local ownership and implementation.
Today, water planning is shifting to a watershed scale instead of on a County level scale. A watershed is an area of land where the water all drains to the same place. Watershed boundaries often do not follow the human drawn lines that define our counties, cities, and townships. St. Louis County contains 8 major watersheds within it’s boundaries all included in one plan. Seven of these watersheds are shared with other Counties or Provinces.
Starting in 2020, we are assisting the South St. Louis SWCD along with St. Louis County and other partners to begin the county’s first Watershed-level planning process for the St. Louis River Watershed. The plan will provide guidance on how the many different entities in the watershed can work together to protect and restore our shared and connected water resources.