Skip to content

Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

Maximizing benefits in Mower County

Seven miles north of Austin, Minn., a restored wetland complex represents the outcome of several years of work among various conservation partners and landowners. As a result, approximately 33 acres of marginally drained agricultural land has been restored to wetlands within an 86.7 acre conservation easement complex. The results have benefited landowners, the surrounding community, wildlife, and water quality. Read the story here.

Preserving and protecting wild rice

Minnesota is the epicenter of the world’s natural wild rice. Although once found throughout most of the state, today the heart of the state’s wild rice acreage falls within an eight-county area: Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, St. Louis, and Wadena. Wild rice shoreland encompasses a complex of shallow lakes, rivers, and shallow bays of deeper lakes that are important not just for wild rice, but wetland-dependent wildlife species. Protecting shoreland and preserving it in an undeveloped state has benefits for the wild rice crop, wildlife, and outdoor enthusiasts. Read the story here.

Bringing conservation to the next generation

When it comes to learning new things, hands-on experience is often the perfect way to bringing education to life. For the Southwest Minnesota Association of Conservation Districts, this means giving students the opportunity to get their hands dirty: seeing, touching, and even tasting what they’re learning about. Since 1992, the 11-county coalition has provided a unique, interactive experience for the region’s students to learn about and better understand the importance of our natural resources and make connections between themselves and the world in which they live. Read the story here.

Higher Education meets Clean Water in Stearns County

Stearns County residents are justly proud of two features of their local community: higher education and clean water. With five universities and colleges within its boundaries, higher education is a cornerstone of life within the county. The Mississippi River and many lakes and rivers enhance the county residents’ quality of life. Now, higher education is taking a stand for clean water. Saint Cloud State University and Saint John’s are enhancing the natural environment through the installation of water quality improvement projects on their campuses. Read the story here.

Featured Plant of the month: Leadplant

A resilient prairie shrub, Leadplant can live well over 100 years thanks to that heartiness and deep root systems that can extend ten to fifteen feet deep. The species grows in soils ranging from sands to clays, adding to its versatility and making it one of the most widespread prairie plants across the Midwest. The species is a legume, so it can fix nitrogen in the soil, benefitting other plant species. Its flowers are a rich pollen and nectar source for a wide range of native insects as well as honey bees. Learn more here.

Hold your mouse over a story to pause.

Read past stories


February 1, 2016

BWSR Seeks Nominations for Eligible Watersheds for Targeted Watershed Program

ST.PAUL, MN — The Board of Water and Soil Resources is seeking nominations for eligible watersheds to participate in the Targeted Watershed Program. This program awards grants to local government units organized for the management of water in a watershed or subwatershed where multiyear plans that will result in a significant reduction in water pollution in a selected subwatershed are in place.

This nomination period will run from February 1 through March 9, with the BWSR Board selecting watersheds at their May 25, 2016 meeting (proposed). Please visit the Apply for BWSR Grants page for additional information.

January 28, 2016

BWSR Seeks Comments on One Watershed, One Plan Operating and Plan Content Requirements

ST.PAUL, MN — The Board of Water and Soil Resources is accepting comments until March 4, 2016 on the proposed One Watershed, One Plan Operating Requirements and Plan Content Requirements procedures.  The documents can be found here.   Comments and questions should be sent to Melissa Lewis.

January 25, 2016

FY2018-19 Biennial Budget Request (BBR) update

ST.PAUL, MN — In anticipation of data gathering for the third Biennial Budget Request (BBR) this March, BWSR has prepared a BBR update that outlines process changes that include using eLINK for data entry, the connection to local water management plans, and what information LGUs should provide in their response.  Read the release here.

December 30, 2015

BWSR tracks 2015 progress for state's soil and water

ST.PAUL, MN — The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) works, in partnership with local governments and private landowners, year-round to make a difference for Minnesota’s natural resources.  Through Clean Water Fund grants, conservation easement programs, disaster relief, and more, BWSR helps local conservation staff get projects on the ground that are cleaning up and protecting our waters and our soil.  Read the press release here.

December 16, 2015

$11.7 million awarded to accelerate work toward cleaner Minnesota waters

ST.PAUL, MN — Restored shorelines, blooming raingardens, clearer lakes – throughout Minnesota these projects speak to the work being done to improve and protect our state’s natural resources thanks to the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.  Today, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) announced another wave of Clean Water Fund grants, more than $11 million to help local governments put more projects in the ground that benefit Minnesota’s streams, rivers, lakes and groundwater.   Read the release here.

December 15, 2015

Governor Dayton Pursues $795 Million in Funding for Clean Water, Wildlife Habitat

ST. PAUL, MN – Continuing his work to improve water quality and wildlife habitat, Governor Mark Dayton today submitted a $795 million proposal to the United States Department of Agriculture for a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) for Minnesota. This federal, state and local partnership would work with farmers and other landowners across Minnesota to implement conservation practices on up to 100,000 acres of land to restore and protect water quality. Funding provided through CREP would provide additional financial support for farmers and landowners as Minnesota works to implement bipartisan buffer legislation enacted last session. Read the release here.

December 9, 2015

Recognizing excellence in conservation

BWSR is pleased to announce the 2015 outstanding conservation award winners.

2015 Outstanding Watershed Employee of the Year
Dan Wilkens, Sand Hill River Watershed District

2015 Outstanding District Employees of the Year
Brad Mergens, West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District Darren Newville, East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District

2015 County Conservation Award
Lake of the Woods County, Improved Targeting and Public Value of Wetland Mitigation

October 28, 2015

DNR provides buffer mapping project details

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is providing a timeline and other details about its production of maps for the state’s new law requiring vegetative buffers around bodies of water. Read the press release here.

August 28, 2015

BWSR issues $5.6 million in flood relief grants

St. Paul, Minn. - In the year since heavy rains and flooding in the summer of 2014 devastated landscapes throughout the state of Minnesota, state and local governments have been hard at work on recovery. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) announced today a second phase of flood relief funding to help counties impacted by those historic rains. Read the press release here. For a list of counties receiving funding, click here.

August 28, 2015

BWSR Board tours southeast Minnesota on annual tour

St. Paul, Minn. - Partnership was the word of the day on August 26, as private landowners and local, state, and federal staff came together to highlight successes in local conservation in southeast Minnesota as part of the 2015 Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Board Tour. The annual tour highlights our state's local conservation delivery system in action. Read the release here.

August 5, 2015

Drainage Records Modernization & GIS Database Project Seeks Input

The DRMGDP team is seeking user and other stakeholder perspectives related to the database template and portal, as well as Drainage Records Modernization Guidelines. You can complete the questionnaire here. All responses must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 14.

For more information on the project, please visit the Drainage page.

July 13, 2015

Metro Water Management Rule Amendment becomes Effective

The Metropolitan Water Management Rule Amendment, Minnesota Rules Chapter 8410, became effective July 13, 2015. The rules pertain to cities, towns, watershed districts, and watershed management organizations in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Several changes are significant and may require action in the near future. Read the schedule for informational meetings here. Read the highlights of the rule changes here. Read the amended rule here.

July 6, 2015

FY16 Clean Water Fund Competitive Grant RFP Now Available

The Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is pleased to announce that local governments can apply for funds to protect and improve water quality in their communities.  The application period for the FY16 Clean Water Fund (CWF) Competitive Grants is open now through August 28, 2015. These funds are available as a result of the Clean Water, Land & Legacy amendment passed by Minnesota voters in 2008.  The complete Request for Proposals can be found at

June 19, 2015

Wetlands 101: What to Know Before You Work

St. Paul, Minn. - Minnesota's landscape includes roughly 10.6 million acres of wetlands. While many people think of wetlands as swampy, marshy areas with standing water and cattails, the reality is wetlands take on many forms. In addition to swampy, marshy areas, wetlands can vary from grassy meadows, to forested wetlands covered in trees and shrubs, to wet areas of cultivated farm fields. Many wetlands are actually dry for most of the year, with no standing water. Read the release here.

June 15, 2015

BWSR 2015 Legislative Summary

The Minnesota Legislature finished its 2014-15 legislative work on Saturday, June 13. Click here for a summary of the key items affecting BWSR.

Announcements Archive

To view previous announcements, visit the archive

Legacy Amendment

Legacy Amendment logoInformation For Citizens: How These Dollars Are Being Spent and How You Can Participate

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.

Buffer Initiative

Enacted 2015 legislation requires a new approach to buffers for designated waters in Minnesota. For more information on the Buffer Initiative, please visit

Minnesota CREP

On December 15, 2015 Governor Dayton submitted a $795 million proposal to the United States Department of Agriculture for a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) for Minnesota. This federal, state and local partnership would work with farmers and other landowners across Minnesota to implement conservation practices on up to 100,000 acres of land to restore and protect water quality.

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

Connect With Us:

Facebook Twitter YouTube

Email Updates:


About BWSR

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.

About BWSR


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 BWSR Training page has dates and locations of training sessions conducted by BWSR staff as well as other training-related information.


The BWSR Map Portal contains maps that BWSR staff and partner agencies use to administer conservation programs.


Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155 | (651) 296-3767 | Fax (651) 297-5615 | TTY (800) 627-3529

An Equal Opportunity Employer