1.2 Metropolitan Surface Water Management Act

The Metropolitan Surface Water Management Act (Chapter 509, Laws of 1982, Minnesota Statute Section 103B.201 to 103B.255 as amended) establishes requirements for preparing watershed management plans within the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.  The law requires the plan to focus on preserving and using natural water storage and retention systems to:

  • Improve water quality.
  • Prevent flooding and erosion from surface flows.
  • Promote groundwater recharge.
  • Protect and enhance fish and wildlife habitat and water recreation facilities.
  • Reduce, to the greatest practical extent, the public capital expenditures necessary to control excessive volumes and rate of runoff and to improve water quality.
  • Secure other benefits associated with proper management of surface water.

To ensure these objectives are realized the Metropolitan Surface Water Management Act further specified the basic content of watershed management plans.  The plans must:

  • Describe the existing physical environment, land use, and development in the area, and the environment, land use, and development proposed in existing local and metropolitan comprehensive plans.
  • Present information on the hydrologic system and its components, including the drainage systems previously constructed under chapter 103E, and existing and potential problems related thereto.
  • State objectives and policies including management principles, alternatives and modifications, water quality, and protection of natural characteristics.
  • Set forth a management plan including the hydrologic and water quality conditions that will be sought and significant opportunities for improvement.
  • Describe the effect of the plan on existing drainage systems.
  • Identify high priority areas for wetland conservation, enhancement, restoration, and establishment and describe conflicts with wetlands and land use in those areas.
  • Describe conflicts between the watershed plan and existing plans of Local Governmental Units (LGUs).
  • Set forth an implementation program consistent with the management plan that includes a capital improvement program, standards, and schedules for amending the comprehensive plan and official controls of LGUs in the watershed to bring conformance with the plan.
  • Set out procedures and timelines for amending the plan.