Wetlands in MN


To maintain and protect Minnesota’s wetlands and the benefits they provide.



History:                        CLICK HERE to view more History >>>>History of Wetlands in MN

In 1991, reacting to public concern about Minnesota’s disappearing wetlands, the Minnesota Legislature approved.  Governor Arne Carlson signed the Wetland Conservation Act, one of the most sweeping wetland protection laws in the country.  An interim program became effective January 1, 1992.  On  January 1, 1994, the full program began.  The Legislature has amended the WCA significantly eleven times, mostly to accommodate the varying needs of the different geographic areas of Minnesota.




Local government units: cities, counties, watershed management organizations, soil & water conservation districts and townships; implement the act locally.  The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources administers the act statewide, the Department of Natural Resources enforces it. (The Morrison SWCD is the administrator of the Wetland Conservation Act for all of  Morrison County and the cities of the county).



Wetland BenefitsBenefits:

The Wetland Conservation Act recognizes a number of wetland benefits deemed important, including:

Water quality, including filtering pollutants out of surface water and groundwater, using nutrients that would otherwise pollute public waters, trapping sediments, protecting shoreline and recharging groundwater supplies;

Floodwater and storm water retention, including reducing the potential for flooding in the watershed;

Public recreation and education, including hunting and fishing areas, wildlife viewing areas and nature areas;

Commercial benefits, including wild rice and cranberry growing areas and aquaculture areas;

Fish and wildlife benefits; Low-flow augmentation during times of drought.

CLICK HERE to view more Benefits



What is a Wetland / Classifications:                                                       CLICK HERE to view moreWhat is a Wetland

To retain the benefits of wetlands and reach the legislation’s goal of no-net-loss of wetlands, the Wetland Conservation Act requires anyone proposing to drain, fill or excavate a wetland first to try to avoid disturbing the wetland; second, to try to minimize any impact on the wetland; and, finally, to replace any lost wetland acres, functions and values if the first two sequencing strategies have been exhausted.   Replacement must be decided by the Morrison SWCD, not the landowner. Certain wetland activities are exempt from the act, allowing projects with minimal impact or projects located on land where certain pre-established land uses are present to proceed without regulation.  Landowners wishing to avoid enforcement should make sure their project is indeed exempt and not attempt to interpret the law and or rules, themselves.




Wetland Types

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(CLICK ON any of the below documents to view it)

2015 WCA Report 


2014 WCA Report


2013 WCA Report


2012 WCA Report


WCA Application


Public Maintenance Road Short Form Notice


Contractor Liability Form


WCA Fee Schedule


Culvert Elevations Form


Drainage Worksheet / Application


Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) Website


USFWS site, use online mapping tool or integrate NWI into your Google Earth


Users Guide NWI Maps for Region 3


MN Certified Wetland Delineators List


Classification Wetlands Deep Water Habitats of the U.S.