Water Planning

Water Planning is transitioning from county-based plans to watershed-based plans. The Rainy Headwaters-Vermilion Watershed draft plan is out for public comment thru January 6, 2024. A public hearing will be held in both Ely and at Seagull Lake on January 26, 2024. Learn more here: www.nslswcd.org/rrhwvr

The St. Louis River Watershed Plan was approved in 2023. There is a plan summary, the complete plan and appendices that prioritize, target and measure the goals for a 10-year period.

The Little Fork River watershed will be the final plan the North St. Louis SWCD actively participates in plan development.  The county Comprehensive Local Water Management Plan covers the area until a watershed plan is created.

What Is Water Planning?

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. As a group, we have opted to combine the Cloquet and St. Louis River watersheds plus the Vermilion and Rainy River – Headwaters watersheds into two plans.

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.


St. Louis County Comprehensive Water Management Plan (2010-2020)

North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District

505 3rd St N, Ste A,
Virginia, MN 55792
Office Hours: 8:30 - 4 Monday-Friday and by appointment

Upcoming Board Meetings

Wednesday, June 12th at 10:30 a.m.
This meeting will be held in-person at the SWCD office. A link is available to join virtually by contacting Anita at least 2 hours prior to the meeting. The public is welcome to attend.

View Meeting Schedule »
Minnesota Clean Air and Water Legacy Amendment