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SHORELAND best management practices
or upgrade septic systems to prevent the release of waste and excess
nutrients into lakes or rivers. The Minnesota Department of Health and the
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) have established minimum
best management practices state septic system standards and county, city or townships may have local
regulations that need to be followed.

Shoreland best management practices (BMPs) are environmental
standards that minimize human impacts on water quality and the
natural food sources and habitat for wildlife with diverse native shoreland
environment. Following shoreland best management practices vegetation, which also prevents erosion problems by filtering and absorbing
will limit pollution, erosion, and habitat degradation. run-off. An existing wooded shoreline with intact under-story plants, shrubs,
and trees is a great filter strip.

Protecting water quality prevents toxins, nutrients and sediments
from creating algae blooms, excessive aquatic plant growth,
and reduced oxygen levels in lakes and streams. Shoreland areas and/or establish native shoreland filter strips near agricultural fields, along

with native trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges, and wildflowers do not developed shorelines, and other disturbed areas. Lawn grass does not
effectively absorb rainfall or filter pollutants. Lawns attract geese and require
require mowing, fertilizers or herbicides.
frequent maintenance.

Diverse shoreland vegetation provides important habitat for
desired fish and wildlife species and deep-rooted native plants
or eliminate the use of household cleaners, paints, finishes, fuels, and oil.
reduce erosion problems from storm water run-off, wind, and
Biodegradable soaps and cleaning solutions are good alternatives as they
wave action. Shorelands with healthy native vegetation deter the
break down to non-toxic compounds in the environment. Proper handling,
establishment of invasive plants. storage, and disposal of toxic chemicals will prevent pollution of both land
and water.

the size of impervious surfaces, such as roofs, decks and driveways, and
increase the area of natural vegetation to allow precipitation to be absorbed
into the soil and for groundwater recharge areas. CONTACT INFO

North Saint Louis Soil and Water Conservation District
Northland Office Building Suite 114
307 First St. South • Virginia,MN 55792
using herbicides and fertilizers along shorelines. Herbicide use can be

Soil & Water
avoided by proper management techniques. Native plants, which are 218-742-9505 •
adapted to local conditions, do not need fertilizers.

Get Involved
Join or form a lake association and work together to maintain and improve
your lake’s water quality and wildlife habitat.
This project was funded in part by the Coastal Zone Management Act, CONSERVATION DISTRICT
by NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management,
in cooperation with Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program.
How can I find out if I have wetlands on my I have some wetlands on my property; can I Cost- Share Program
property? still build a road or a structure? The North St. Louis SWCD is a local agency which provides access to
conservation and resource management services. Amongst the services we
It depends. If you wish to simply understand and enjoy, there are many Maybe. Having a wetland on one part of your property doesn’t
offer is the State Cost-Share program, where landowners or occupiers can
guides available. If you wish to manage for habitat, Local, State and affect the rest of it. It depends on the area and type of wetland,
FAQ & Answers Federal agencies have information and programs to assist landowners. If and what you plan to do. Plans can be altered during the
receive financial and technical assistance for approved practices.

you plan on construction or alterations to or near wetlands, you will need permitting process. These practices are:
to have a wetland delineation, where a licensed wetland delineator maps • Critical Area Stabilization
What are wetlands and what do they do? What does it mean to mitigate for the loss
and classifies the types of wetlands on your property. • Diversions
Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either of wetlands? • Field Windbreaks
at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of Can wetlands be created or restored? When wetlands are altered, mitigation is needed to compensate. • Shelterbelts
time during the year, including during the growing season. Often They can, but it is more difficult than it sounds. Creating a wetland takes Mitigation can be done through wetland restoration, • Grassed Waterway
called “nurseries of life,” wetlands provide habitat for thousands enhancement, or creation for functions and values that are lost on • Wastewater and Feedlot Runoff
a lot of planning and work, and it cannot be done everywhere. Simply
of species of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. When a converted wetland. • Control
placing a dam or closing a ditch will not create a wetland any more
• Filter Strips
rivers overflow, wetlands help to absorb and slow floodwaters. than simply having water means you can drink it. Restoring a wetland is • Sediment Basins
Wetlands also absorb excess nutrients, sediment, and other What are the National Wetland Inventory
possible, but it takes planning and patience. Both creation and restoration • Streambank, Shoreland, and
maps used for and will they help me locate
pollutants before they reach rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. must be done with specific goals for their design and function wetlands on my property? • Roadside Protection

The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) are maps generated by • Stripcropping
Why do they need to be protected? Am I affected by wetland regulations if I live • Terraces
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cataloguing the wetlands of the
Wetlands are very vulnerable to disturbance. Once altered, their within the city limits? • Unused Well Sealing
United States. They can help you locate wetlands, but they do not
functions often never return to what they once were. Without Yes you are. The laws apply everywhere.
qualify as delineation. NWI maps almost always understate the
protection, habitat and water quality can quickly degrade. We also offer Woodland Stewardship plans and a host of other services, so
area of wetland that actually exists.
This affects everyone downstream. In the past, wetlands were What are the basics of the wetland regulations please feel free to contact us.
for the state of Minnesota?
altered or drained without thought; Minnesota has lost 50% of its
In Minnesota, wetlands are governed by both State and Federal Laws. The Can I dig a pond on my property?
wetlands since settlement.
State law is called the Wetland Conservation Act. The Federal law is part Most likely, but it does depend on where you want your pond

of the Clean Water Act. If you are planning any activity that will impact and how big. The Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act (WCA)

wetlands, you must apply for a permit from multiple agencies. Luckily in regulates excavation in the permanently and semi-permanently

Minnesota this is handled through a combined permit application. Certain flooded areas of type 3, 4, or 5 wetlands, and in all wetland types

types and sizes of activity are exempt, but you must still have a permit. if excavation includes filling or draining or results in conversion
to non-wetland. Remember, any activity that alters a wetland is
regulated, and the permitting process must still be followed.