7.2 LGU Annual Report
Minnesota Statutes §103B.235 establishes a process for watershed district review and approval of local water plans. Typically District staff will work with LGU staff through successive versions of the draft local plan until staff finds that the plan meets content requirements and standards of Section 7.1 and is recommended for approval. If an LGU is not able to satisfy District staff and believes nevertheless that its plan is entitled to District approval, it may request to have the plan brought before the District Board of Managers without a recommendation of approval.
The District’s preference is that a local plan be revised as needed so that when it is presented to the Board of Managers it may be approved without the need for further revisions. However, if it requires only minor revisions when it comes before the Board or if the need for minor changes is identified during Board review, the Board’s approval resolution may approve the plan conditioned on identified revisions. Otherwise, typically the resolution will contain only standard conditions that implement the terms of Section 7. The Board also may include conditions as needed to address the specific circumstances in a given case.
Minnesota Statutes §103B.235, subdivision 4, states that once the district approves a local plan, the LGU must adopt and implement it within 120 days, and must complete amendment of ordinances required by the local plan within 180 days.
After the local plan is adopted, the District and LGU will coordinate watershed and local plan implementation over the course of the 10-year planning cycle. Consistency between plans and coordinated implementation will help to ensure that capital spending, land conservation, public education, regulation and other activities will be carried out to best achieve shared water resource goals in a cost-effective and transparent way.
Under the watershed law, each metropolitan-area watershed district is responsible to maintain awareness of local water plan implementation by LGUs within its boundaries. The District intends to carry out this responsibility through a process of LGU annual reporting and District monitoring of local plan implementation. The District has sought to create a framework that allows it to remain reasonably knowledgeable as to local implementation without being burdensome for LGUs. The framework also is designed so that any implementation issues are addressed through communication and collaboration to the extent possible. It seeks to respect the ability of the District and individual LGUs to make their own program and funding decisions. But it preserves the District’s ability to step in if water resource commitments and goals are not being met.