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Wetland Conservation Act

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.

Protecting Wetlands

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. 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 questions?

Hi, I'm Alan Ringwelski

Landowners should always seek direction first when attempting to work around wetlands. I can answer wetland related questions.

District Technician
- (320) 631-3554

Email -

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