Maint ain

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 state septic system standards and county, city or townships may have local regulations that need to be followed.

More Informat ion

sHOreLanD best management practices WetLanDs FaQ

best management practices

Shoreland best management practices (BMPs) are environmental standards that minimize human impacts on water quality and the environment. Following shoreland best management practices will limit pollution, erosion, and habitat degradation. 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 with native trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges, and wildflowers do not require mowing, fertilizers or herbicides. Diverse shoreland vegetation provides important habitat for desired fish and wildlife species and deep-rooted native plants reduce erosion problems from storm water run-off, wind, and wave action. Shorelands with healthy native vegetation deter the establishment of invasive plants.

Creat e

natural food sources and habitat for wildlife with diverse native shoreland vegetation, which also prevents erosion problems by filtering and absorbing run-off. An existing wooded shoreline with intact under-story plants, shrubs, and trees is a great filter strip.

Prott ec Reduce Limit Avoid
and water.

and/or establish native shoreland filter strips near agricultural fields, along developed shorelines, and other disturbed areas. Lawn grass does not effectively absorb rainfall or filter pollutants. Lawns attract geese and require frequent maintenance.

or eliminate the use of household cleaners, paints, finishes, fuels, and oil. Biodegradable soaps and cleaning solutions are good alternatives as they break down to non-toxic compounds in the environment. Proper handling, storage, and disposal of toxic chemicals will prevent pollution of both land

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 218-742-9505 •

using herbicides and fertilizers along shorelines. Herbicide use can be avoided by proper management techniques. Native plants, which are 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, by NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in cooperation with Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program.

Soil & Wat er

cOnserVatiOn District

Wet lands

HOw caN I fINd OUT If I Have weTLaNdS ON my prOperty?
It depends. If you wish to simply understand and enjoy, there are many guides available. If you wish to manage for habitat, Local, State and Federal agencies have information and programs to assist landowners. If you plan on construction or alterations to or near wetlands, you will need to have a wetland delineation, where a licensed wetland delineator maps and classifies the types of wetlands on your property.

i HaVe sOme WetLanDs On my prOperty; can i STILL bUILd a ROad OR a STRUcTURe?
Maybe. Having a wetland on one part of your property doesn’t affect the rest of it. It depends on the area and type of wetland, and what you plan to do. Plans can be altered during the permitting process.

Cos Share Prog tram

The North St. Louis SWCD is a local agency which provides access to conservation and resource management services. Amongst the services we offer is the State Cost-Share program, where landowners or occupiers can receive financial and technical assistance for approved practices. These practices are: • Critical Area Stabilization • Diversions • Field Windbreaks • Shelterbelts • Grassed Waterway • Wastewater and Feedlot Runoff • Control • Filter Strips • Sediment Basins • Streambank, Shoreland, and • Roadside Protection • Stripcropping • Terraces • Unused Well Sealing We also offer Woodland Stewardship plans and a host of other services, so please feel free to contact us.

FaQ & ansWers

WHat are WetLanDs anD WHat DO tHey DO?
Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season. Often called “nurseries of life,” wetlands provide habitat for thousands of species of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. When rivers overflow, wetlands help to absorb and slow floodwaters. Wetlands also absorb excess nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants before they reach rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.

WHat DOes it mean tO mitigate FOr tHe LOss OF WetLanDs?
When wetlands are altered, mitigation is needed to compensate. Mitigation can be done through wetland restoration, enhancement, or creation for functions and values that are lost on a converted wetland.

can WetLanDs be createD Or restOreD?
They can, but it is more difficult than it sounds. Creating a wetland takes a lot of planning and work, and it cannot be done everywhere. Simply placing a dam or closing a ditch will not create a wetland any more than simply having water means you can drink it. Restoring a wetland is possible, but it takes planning and patience. Both creation and restoration must be done with specific goals for their design and function

WHat are tHe natiOnaL WetLanD inVentOry mapS USed fOR aNd wILL THey HeLp me LOcaTe WetLanDs On my prOperty?
The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) are maps generated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cataloguing the wetlands of the United States. They can help you locate wetlands, but they do not qualify as delineation. NWI maps almost always understate the area of wetland that actually exists.

WHy DO tHey neeD tO be prOtecteD?
Wetlands are very vulnerable to disturbance. Once altered, their functions often never return to what they once were. Without protection, habitat and water quality can quickly degrade. This affects everyone downstream. In the past, wetlands were altered or drained without thought; Minnesota has lost 50% of its wetlands since settlement.

am I affecTed by weTLaNd RegULaTIONS If I LIve WitHin tHe city Limits?
Yes you are. The laws apply everywhere.

wHaT aRe THe baSIcS Of THe weTLaNd RegULaTIONS FOr tHe state OF minnesOta?
In Minnesota, wetlands are governed by both State and Federal Laws. The State law is called the Wetland Conservation Act. The Federal law is part of the Clean Water Act. If you are planning any activity that will impact wetlands, you must apply for a permit from multiple agencies. Luckily in Minnesota this is handled through a combined permit application. Certain types and sizes of activity are exempt, but you must still have a permit.

can i Dig a pOnD On my prOperty?
Most likely, but it does depend on where you want your pond and how big. The Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) regulates excavation in the permanently and semi-permanently flooded areas of type 3, 4, or 5 wetlands, and in all wetland types 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.

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