One Watershed, One Plan
Comprehensive Planning Process Begins – April, 2020
Minnesota has a long history of water management by local government. One Watershed, One Plan is rooted in this history and in work initiated by the Local Government Roundtable in 2011 which recommended that the local governments charged with water management responsibility should organize and develop focused implementation plans on watershed boundaries. The recommendation was followed by legislation that permits the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to adopt methods to allow comprehensive plans, local water management plans, or watershed management plans to serve as substitutes for one another; or to be replaced with one comprehensive watershed management plan. This legislation, and the associated BWSR program, is referred to as One Watershed, One Plan. Further Legislation was passed in 2015, defining purposes and outlining additional structure for the program.
What is One Watershed, One Plan?
One Watershed, One Plan is a voluntary planning process that can be initiated by any local water planning authority. The program is coordinated by the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources and serves as a parallel program to the MN Pollution Control Agency’s 10-year major watershed assessment program (WRAPS) for watershed monitoring and assessment. Planning for the watershed as a whole, instead of just in pieces, allows for policies and actions that are consistent from the headwaters of a river to its outlet, and also focuses planning efforts on actions that address the specific pollutants that threaten a particular watershed. Thanks to planning grants and other financial support from BWSR, there are now 27 complete or in-process one Watershed One Plans in Minnesota. The South St. Louis SWCD has chosen, along with our planning partners, to embark on a Watershed-level planning process for the St. Louis River. The Planning Partners initiated this process in 2018 and signed an Memorandum of Understanding to work together in the development of a Plan in March of 2020. A Planning grant for $314,600 was then awarded by BWSR to the fiscal agent, South St. Louis SWCD. This process is expected to take 20 months and the dedication and commitment of many partners and local groups interested in preparing a targeted, prioritized plan for protecting and restoring the St. Louis River Watershed with results (potential implementation actions) that can show measurable progress. The voluntary actions set forth in the Plan will likely be focused on smaller, regional planning areas within the larger watershed that have similar water quality challenges and characteristics.
This process and the resulting plan will not result in additional regulation; the St. Louis River 1W1P will provide guidance only on how the entities in the watershed can work together to protect those parts of the St. Louis River Watershed that are meeting water quality standards, and work towards restoring those streams and lakes in the watershed that are not currently meeting standards. Please see the links below for more information.
Who is Involved with the St. Louis River 1W1P
The St. Louis River 1W1P partners include St. Louis County, Carlton County, South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District, North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District, Carlton County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The effort will be led by the Steering Team made up of staff from these offices. Our Policy Committee, made up of elected officials from the County Boards, SWCD Boards and Fond du Lac Tribe, will approve the content of the plan, serve as a liaison to their representative governing entities and act on behalf of their constituents. An Advisory Committee will also be formed, to provide input to the Policy Committee.
Please see the links below for more information.
Memorandum of Understanding – Planning Partnership
1W1P Policy Committee Bylaws
What will come out of this effort?
Comprehensive water plans are required by Statute. Historically, not much funding has been specifically dedicated to implementing these plans, until now, thanks in part to the Land and Water Legacy Amendment. Once the plan is completed, with opportunity for public comment, and approval by the BWSR Board, the Planning Partnership will be eligible to receive funding to implement the actions set forth in the Plan. How this funding will be distributed will be decided later on in the Planning Process, but the Implementation Funding will allow those highest priority actions or projects identified in the Plan to happen, resulting in measurable progress in restoring the impaired waters and protecting the pristine waters, of this large planning area.
For more information on local water planning or the One Watershed One Plan program, please call Kate Kubiak at 218-723-4946 (ofc), 218-576-8068 (cell) or any members of the Planning Committee.
Meeting Agendas and Minutes
MPCA & Fond du Lac Band Planning Area Resources
St. Louis River: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/watersheds/st-louis-river
Cloquet River: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/watersheds/cloquet-river
Lake Superior South/Duluth Urban: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/watersheds/lake-superior-south
Fond du Lac Band Water Resources: http://www.fdlrez.com/RM/waterquality.htm
Regional One Watershed, One Plans
Lake Superior North (Completed): https://www.co.lake.mn.us/document_center/SWCD_Doc_Center/One%20Watershed%20One%20Plan%20Lake%20Superior%20North%201.pdf
Nemadji One Watershed, One Plan (in process):