Helping landowners understand and make the best choice of available options for establishing conservation practices and wildlife habitat on private land is the primary objective of Minnesota’s Farm Bill Assistance Partnership. As Minnesota’s State Buffer Program rolls out and existing Conservation Reserve Program contracts expire, the people in these positions have seen increased demand for their services. Learn more here.
Irrigation is a common management practice for farming in the sandy soils of Otter Tail, Wadena, Hubbard, and Todd counties. Those sandy soils are closely tied to ground water quality and quantity concerns. The local priority concerns of elevated nitrate levels, expanding agricultural irrigation, susceptible soils and groundwater aquifers, and local wellhead protection resulted in the local water plans identifying groundwater protection as a high priority, a priority shared by the State. Learn more here.
In December 2014 BWSR awarded a $2,200,000 Clean Water Fund grant to the Scott Watershed Management Organization (WMO) as part of its Targeted Watershed Program to address multiple impairments in the Sand Creek watershed and its tributaries. The program focuses on watersheds where the amount of change necessary to improve water quality is known, the actions needed to achieve results are identified, and a majority of those actions can be implemented within a four-year time period. Learn more here.
At the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts Annual Convention in December, Myron Jesme of the Red Lake Watershed District was honored with the 2016 Outstanding Watershed District Employee of the Year award. Learn more here.
At the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Annual Convention in December, Melissa Barrick of the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District was honored with the 2016 Outstanding District Employee of the Year award. Learn more here.
Attractive flowers and foliage and an abundance of bright red drooping berries that last through winter months give American Highbush Cranberry year-round interest. Perhaps no other shrub has been planted more often for wildlife and conservation plantings given its habitat value for birds and animals, edible fruit, pollinator benefits, effectiveness as a living snow fence and ability to stabilize soils in riparian areas. Learn more here.
Read past stories
January 19, 2017
Governor Dayton Signs CREP agreement
Almost 180 conservation leaders, media, elected officials and farmers joined Governor Dayton in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, January 17 as he signed a new Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture. A great day for conservation, you can read the Governor’s press release here. To learn more about CREP, click here.
January 12, 2017
Governor Dayton to sign CREP agreement
Join Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith on Tuesday, January 17th at 3:00 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda for a historic signing ceremony with US Department of Agriculture to establish the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in Minnesota. Reception to follow in L’Etoile Du Nord Vault (Capitol Lower Level).
January 3, 2017
Notification of Wetland Bank Service Area Closure
Effective February 2, 2017, Bank Service Area 9 – Minnesota River - will be closed and until further notice, the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) will not provide wetland replacement for Local Road Wetland Replacement Program (LRWRP) eligible road projects due to a lack of available wetland replacement credit. The closure of Wetland Bank Service Area 9 is in addition to the closure of Bank Service Area 4 – Upper Red River – and Bank Service Area 6 – St. Croix River - that went into effect December 2, 2016. Read the full notice here.
Planning Grants Available for One Watershed, One Plan
St. Paul, Minn. – Up to $1.5 million in Clean Water Funds is now available for planning grants under the One Watershed, One Plan program. These grants are for partnerships of eligilble local groups to use a systematic, science-based approach to watershed management to develop plans that provide the greatest environmental benefits to each watershed. The deadline for submittal of grant proposals is April 19, 2017. To view the request for proposals, click here.
December 22, 2016
Minnesota Approves First-Ever Comprehensive Watershed Management Plans for Yellow Medicine and Root Rivers
St. Paul, Minn. – Marking a new era in Minnesota water planning, on December 14 the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources approved the Root River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan and the Yellow Medicine River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan. These are the first two plans completed through BWSR’s One Watershed, One Plan program. Read the press release here.
December 14, 2016
$13.4 million awarded to improve Minnesota's water quality
St. Paul, Minn. – Cleaner, clearer water. Healthier lakes, rivers, and streams. Today, Minnesota took another step forward toward its water quality goals thanks to funding support provided by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) approved more than $13 million in 2017 Clean Water Fund grants at its December meeting for local government projects benefiting Minnesota’s streams, rivers, lakes and groundwater. Read the press release here. For project information and maps, click here.
December 12, 2016
BWSR Seeks Comments on Buffer Law Policies
St. Paul, Minn. – The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is charged with overseeing program implementation of the buffer law. The agency is currently seeking public comment on key components of its Buffer program. Read the release here.
December 7, 2016
Recognizing excellence in conservation
BWSR is pleased to announce the 2016 outstanding conservation award winners.
2016 Outstanding Watershed Employee of the Year
Myron Jesme, Red Lake Watershed District
2016 Outstanding District Employee of the Year
Melissa Barrick, Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District
2016 AMC/BWSR County Conservation Award
Lake and Cook Counties
November 3, 2016
ST. PAUL, MN – 25 years after its original publication, the Minnesota Public Drainage Manual (MPDM) has been updated and published in a wiki format on the Board of Water and Soil Resources website. The Minnesota Public Drainage Manual is a guidance document, not rule or law, and provides assistance to drainage authorities as they administrate Chapter 103E drainage systems. The Manual has multiple audiences: drainage authorities, their engineers, attorneys and inspectors; landowner’s; regulatory agencies; and other interested parties. The updating effort was funded through a Clean Water Fund appropriation. Thanks to the broad stakeholder community who served on the MPDM Project Advisory Committee for their many hours spent in review and comment, and to the project team including Houston Engineering, Inc., Rinke Noonan Attorneys at Law, and BWSR and MNIT project staff. Click here to enter the updated MPDM.
October 6, 2016
Innovative approach to water management takes next step
ST. PAUL, MN – Continuing statewide work to shift local water planning to a more holistic, coordinated approach, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) approved seven new planning grants for the One Watershed, One Plan program. The August 26 board action allocates up to $1,700,000 in Clean Water Fund grants to fund seven planning projects to address water quality on a watershed basis. Read the press release here.
August 29, 2016
Governor Mark Dayton issues Executive Order to reverse pollinator decline and restore pollinator health in Minnesota
ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton has issued Executive Order 16-07, requiring the state to take specific actions to reverse the decline of bees and other pollinator populations that play a crucial role in agriculture and food production. Read more about the action steps outlined for state agencies to minimize negative impact on insect pollinators in the Governor’s press release and the Executive Order.
August 24, 2016
BWSR receives $1 million in federal funding to support wetlands
St. Paul, Minn. - The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) announced today $1 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in support of the Minnesota Wetland Bank for Agriculture. Read the press release here.
August 23, 2016
BWSR issues $2 million in flood relief grants
St. Paul, Minn. - Continuing efforts to help counties recover from damages left in the wake of the heavy rains of 2014, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) announced an additional $2 million in grants in the third phase of flood relief funding. Fifteen counties will use the funds to implement conservation practices to address erosion and water quality problems associated with imminent threats to private or public improvements or to repair, rehabilitate, or replace existing conservation practices on private lands. Read the press release here. For a list of the counties, click here.
August 9, 2016
The Technical Training & Certification Program webpage is now live.
The Technical Training and Certification Program is a collaborative effort between BWSR, MACDE, MASWCD and NRCS designed to develop and maintain a highly trained, technically skilled workforce of natural resource professionals capable of meeting the conservation delivery needs of Minnesota. The webpage contains information on the Technical Training and Certification Strategy, program information, implementation details, and programmatic updates.
To view previous announcements, visit the archive
BWSR receives appropriations from the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment to pay for on-the-ground conservation projects that provide multiple benefits for water quality and wildlife habitat.
Enacted 2015 legislation requires a new approach to buffers for designated waters in Minnesota. For more information on the Buffer Initiative, please visit http://bwsr.state.mn.us/buffers/.
In January 2017 Governor Mark Dayton signed a $500 million Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture. This federal, state, and local partnership will work with farmers and other landowners across 54 counties in southern and western Minnesota who choose to voluntarily implement conservation practices on up to 60,000 acres of land to restore and protect water quality and enhance habitat.
Click here to learn more about the program.
One Watershed, One Plan
One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) is an important planning initiative, conceived by local governments, passed by the legislature, and being developed by BWSR.
Click here to learn more about the program and opportunities.
Nonpoint Priority Funding Plan
The Nonpoint Priority Funding Plan (NPFP) is a criteria-based, systematic process to prioritize Clean Water Fund (CWF) nonpoint implementation investments.
Click here to learn more about the program and opportunities.
BWSR Media Center
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BWSR Mission: Improve and protect Minnesota's water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners
BWSR is the state soil and water conservation agency, and it administers programs that prevent sediment and nutrients from entering our lakes, rivers, and streams; enhance fish and wildlife habitat; and protect wetlands. The 20-member board consists of representatives of local and state government agencies and citizens.
BWSR works in partnership with local government units, state and federal government agencies, and other organizations.
Local Government Units and Partner Agencies -- Overview of BWSR's conservation partners, includes directories, maps, guidance documents and publications.
Performance data for local government units -- Through the Performance Review and Assistance Program (PRAP), BWSR staff evaluate water management entities, and, where necessary, provide assistance.
The Technical Training page contains information on the Technical Training and Certification Strategy, program information, implementation details and programmatic updates.
The BWSR Training page has dates and locations of training sessions conducted by BWSR staff as well as other training-related information.
The BWSR Maps and Apps Portal contains maps and interactive web map applications that BWSR staff and partner agencies use to administer conservation programs.