Water Planning & Wetlands
County Water Plan
The Comprehensive Local Water Management Act (Minnesota Statutes Sections 103B.301 to 103B.355) encourages counties to develop and implement a comprehensive water plan. Pursuant to the requirements of the law, this plan:
- Covers the entire area of the County;
- Addresses water problems in the context of watershed units and groundwater systems;
- Is based upon principles of sound hydrologic management of water, effective environmental protection and efficient management;
- Is consistent with comprehensive water plans prepared by counties and watershed management organizations wholly or partially within a single watershed unit or groundwater system.
One Watershed One Plan (1W1P)
Minnesota is shifting to a new water planning framework in order to align local water planning on major watershed boundaries with state strategies towards prioritized, targeted and measurable implementation plans. Waseca County is participating in the creation and implementation of two comprehensive watershed management plans for the Le Sueur and Cannon River watersheds. The Le Sueur River is currently in the plan writing process. Please visit the Le Sueur River One Watershed, One Plan Page on this website for additional information.
One Watershed, One Plan Information https://bwsr.state.mn.us/one-watershed-one-plan
Cannon River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan (CWMP)
In 2016 Waseca County and SWCD, Le Sueur County and SWCD, Rice County and SWCD, Dakota County and SWCD, Goodhue County and SWCD, Belle Creek Watershed District and North Cannon River Watershed Management Organization joined together to create the Cannon River CWMP.
The Cannon River CWMP was approved by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources in June of 2020. The plan addresses the most significant threats to our water resources and an included an implementation strategy that provides the greatest benefit to the watershed. The plan implementation is overseen by the Cannon River Watershed Joint Powers Organization.
For more information on the Cannon River One Watershed, One Plan please visit the links below:
Water Plan Task Force
Waseca County’s Water Plan Task Force functions as an advisory committee for developing and implementing the County’s local water plan’s objectives and action items. This group is composed of County commissioners, citizens, local staff and agency representatives. Task Force meetings are used as an opportunity to convene members to discuss where future efforts should be focused, based on local priorities.
When most people think of wetlands, they think of swampy, marshy areas complete with ducks and cattails. While those areas are indeed wetlands, many other wetlands look quite different and may even have no surface water for all or part of the year. Some wetlands support trees and shrubs; some are farmed. Technically, a wetland must have the following criteria:
It must have standing water or saturated (water logged) soil for at least part of the growing season; and
It must support mostly vegetation adapted to wet soil conditions.
In almost all cases, draining, filling or altering a wetland will require a permit or some other authorization in Minnesota; applicants will often need to show efforts to avoid wetlands and may be required to replace drained or filled wetland area. This includes the digging of or maintenance of ponds and drainage ditches. The following agencies will typically be involved:
Haley Byron, Waseca County Water Resource Specialist - (507-835-0615) Board of Water and Soil Resources - Alyssa Core, WCA Technician (507-923-5414) Waseca County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) - Mark Schaetzke, District Manager (507-835-4800)
United States Army Corps of Engineers - David Studenski, Area Hydrologist (651-290-5200)
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - Dan Girolamo, Area Hydrologist (507-362-4223)
For more information about wetland regulations and the MN Wetland Conservation Act contact Haley Byron.
Wetlands Regulation in Minnesota https://bwsr.state.mn.us/wetlands-regulation-minnesota
Wetland Conservation Act Application https://bwsr.state.mn.us/joint-application-form
The Enforcement Division of the Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR) enforces most of Minnesota’s wetland regulations. People concerned about unauthorized wetland activities occurring in their area should contact Haley Byron at Waseca County Planning and Zoning.
If you have a project that might affect a wetland
- Early in the process, contact the Waseca County Planning and Zoning for appropriate guidance and permits.
- Find out if the land you intend to alter is a wetland. Remember, an area can be a wetland even if it does not appear wet on the surface.
Advice for project applicants
- Begin early! Visit Waseca County Planning and Zoning office and fill out the appropriate application form as soon as possible.
- Before you purchase property for development, consider the existence of any wetlands and weight the environmental impact and financial cost of disturbing those areas against the project’s benefits. Be aware of state, federal and local regulations.
- If you proceed with a project, determine where the wetlands are and design your project accordingly.
- Thoroughly consider and document the alternatives you have considered to avoid wetland impacts.
- Consider the possible concerns of the community and the project’s neighbors and involve them early in the process.
- Provide truthful and complete descriptions of all relevant project components.