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The Lower Minnesota River Watershed District (LMRWD) is unlike any other state water management organization. It was formed in 1960 as a legal entity to provide local participation to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the construction and maintenance of a nine-foot navigation channel in the Minnesota River. Because of the partnership between USACE and the LMRWD, more than two million tons of goods — grains, gravel, sand and salt — are transported cost-effectively every year between ports on the Minnesota River to ports along the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.

After its formation, the LMRWD's goals and responsibilities expanded to include surface and groundwater quality and quantity management; floodplain and flood management; erosion and sediment control; and public education and outreach. Embracing the changes over the years, the LMRWD works with communities within it and adjacent to its boundaries to protect, improve, and educate residents, business owners, stakeholders, and the public about rare and high-value resources. The LMRWD's unique resources include trout lakes and streams, calcareous fens; bluffs that are protected to minimize erosion and loss of property; and the Minnesota River, which provides recreational and commercial navigation opportunities.


From the original petition:
That the formation, and establishment of the proposed District is necessary and would be conducive to the public health and public welfare in and upon its formation the District shall cooperate with, aid, and assist the State or Federal Government and all subdivisions of agencies thereof in carrying out the purposes of the District; that the timely establishment of said Watershed District will allow the immediate inception of the plans of the US Army Corps of Engineers for the diversion and improvement of the watercourse of the Minnesota River within the District so as to provide water capacity for barges and heavy commercial river transportation on said river throughout the District, thus providing a water route for incoming and outgoing commodities of trade to serve the general agricultural and industrial areas adjacent to and within the trade area tributary to the District, all of which are of great benefit to the vast area of this State.
  • March 23, 1960LMRWD was established by the
    Minnesota Water Resources Board
    (now the Minnesota Board of Water
    & Soil Resources)
  • 1961The LMRWD adopted its first Overall Plan
  • 1972Federal Clean Water Act is passed
  • 1987Federal Clean Water Act is amended to address polluted stormwater runoff
  • 2011The LMRWD established its Third
    Generation Watershed Management Plan.
  • 2018The LMRWD established its Fourth Generation Watershed Management Plan
  • 2018The LMRWD celebrates 60 years of watershed management