Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan update

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) is updating its Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan (Plan) as part of its ongoing commitment to water quality issues throughout the watershed.  Required by law to set the District’s goals and guide its activities, the current Plan was adopted in 2007, with the next generation Plan due in June 2017. 

We produced the publication below to highlight the philosophies and process behind developing the Plan. Read through below or click here to view as full screen. You may also download the document as a PDF.


Developing the District’s 2007 Plan involved extensive analysis of the watershed and a robust stakeholder engagement process to set long-term goals. The 2017 Plan update will build on this strong foundation and focus primarily on developing policies and processes to improve service delivery and project implementation. Consistent with past practices, the District welcomes input from our engaged communities and citizens alike.

In pursuit of a balanced urban ecology

Recognizing the relationship between our natural and built environments, the MCWD works in partnership with the public, private and civic sectors to help protect and improve our natural systems, make wise investments in public infrastructure and improve the quality of water and quality of life in our communities. The District pursues this work under three guiding principles:

  • Partnership - We will join with others in pursuing our watershed management goals 
  • Focus - We will intensify and maintain our focus on high-priority projects 
  • Flexibility – We will be flexible and creative in adapting our practices to those of our partners 

For the 2017 Plan update MCWD is proposing using a “Two-Track” approach that will allocate District resources to their highest and best use in protecting the water quality and addressing flooding throughout the watershed.

Track 1 - FocusThis track will prioritize projects, staff and financial resources to “high need” areas within the District in order to make significant, lasting improvements to the most sensitive water challenges in the watershed.

Focus Spotlight: Restoring Minnehaha Creek through its most degraded section

Beginning in 2009, the District has concentrated resources on the most urbanized section of Minnehaha Creek, through St. Louis Park and Hopkins. The District has worked closely to understand the goals of its partners, and as a result has achieved enduring, measurable improvement in the creek while leveraging resources and benefiting surrounding communities. Partners include the City of Hopkins, City of St. Louis Park, Hennepin County, multiple public agencies and private businesses.

When the series of projects is complete, the District and its partners will have achieved significant results: 550 acres of stormwater management; 1.5 miles of restored stream channel; 50 acres of newly-accessible green space; two miles of new trails and boardwalks; 150 jobs created; the connection of 600 housing units to within a 10-minute walk of transit hubs; financial contributions from at least six other organizations, and free private property easements.

Track 2 - Flexibility: The District will continue to remain responsive to needs and opportunities District-wide through project partnerships, grant funding, education programming, permitting assistance, aquatic invasive species prevention, and other District resources.

Flexibility Spotlight: Seizing opportunities for partnership

The District strives to remain open to opportunities for cost-effective partnership, often combining funds with developers, private businesses, nonprofits, and other agencies to achieve water quality benefits on projects. Recently, the City of Orono and Three Rivers Park District (TRPD) identified an opportunity to restore steep, eroding bluffs on a TRPD nature preserve on Lake Minnetonka’s Big Island. The ensuing partnership between TRPD and MCWD resulted in 1,200 feet of restored shoreline.

The project was modeled after the District’s major restoration of another section of Big Island a few years earlier in cooperation with the City of Orono. Both projects preserve habitat and prevent soil from eroding into one of the most sensitive and productive areas of the lake.

The District values input from all of its stakeholders -- local technical staff, policy makers, and the general public. There are a variety of ways to get involved:


February 2015 – Kickoff Meeting
Early 2015 – Public opinion survey
2015-2016 – Bi-monthly/quarterly advisory committee meetings
Mid-late 2016 – Plan drafting and committee review
Fall 2016 – Local subwatershed meetings
Early 2017 – Formal review process (60-day and 90-day comment periods)
June 27, 2017 – Deadline for Plan adoption


Direct questions to MCWD Lead Planner Becky Christopher: or (952) 641-4512.


Advisory Committee Meeting Materials

Policy Advisory Committee:

Technical Advisory Committee:

Citizens Advisory Committee:


Questions or Comments?