The Lower Minnesota River Watershed District is celebrating 60 years of protecting calcareous fens, trout streams and bluffs overlooking the Minnesota River, and ensuring the commercial navigation of Minnesota goods and products bound for locations near and far.
The Lower Minnesota River Watershed District, unlike any other state water management organization, was formed in 1960 as a legal entity for providing local participation to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the construction of and ongoing handling of dredge material from the 9-foot navigation channel within the Minnesota River.
Today, resulting from the partnership between USACE and the district, more than 2 million tons of goods — grains, gravel, sand and salt — efficiently and cost-effectively traverse the Minnesota River waterway annually, bound for ports along the Mississippi River and out through the Gulf of Mexico.
With changes to state rules and statutes affecting watershed management organizations, the district’s goals and responsibilities were expanded to include surface and groundwater quality and quantity management, floodplain and flood management, erosion and sediment control, and public education and outreach.
Embracing the changes over the years, the district works with communities within it and adjacent to its jurisdictional boundary to protect, improve and educate residents, business owners, stakeholders and the public at large about rare and high-value resources such as trout lakes, trout streams and calcareous fens; bluff protection to minimize erosion and loss of property; and Minnesota River recreational and commercial navigation opportunities.
As the district celebrates this milestone, the focus is on enhancing connections with residents through the formation of a citizen advisory committee. The CAC, like the sponsored Freshwater Society Minnesota Water Stewards program and District Cost-Share Grant, seeks to engage people in community actions that continue to protect lakes, streams, fens and the Minnesota River.
Interested district residents are encouraged to apply to serve on the district’s CAC. Contact the district’s administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to apply.
About the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District
Established in 1960, the district is located in the southwest part of the Twin Cities metropolitan area along the Minnesota River. The boundaries encompass an area of 80 square miles, including portions of Carver, Hennepin, Dakota and Scott counties. This area extends to the bluffs on both sides of the Minnesota River and includes the Minnesota River Valley from Fort Snelling at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers and upstream to the city of Carver. Governed by five managers appointed by the counties represented, the district has levy authority under Minnesota Statutes 103B and 103D.
Learn more about the watershed district, environmental impacts and the importance of river transportation for ag products from this video: Lower Minnesota River Watershed District 60th Anniversary from Gary B on Vimeo.