The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) is the local unit of government responsible for managing and protecting the water resources of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed in parts of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and its western suburbs.
The MCWD is responsible for 181 square miles that drain into the Minnehaha Creek and ultimately the Mississippi River. The watershed includes Minnehaha Creek, Lake Minnetonka, the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, and Minnehaha Falls. There are eight major creeks, 129 lakes, and thousands of wetlands within the MCWD. The MCWD also includes all or part of 27 cities and two townships in Hennepin and Carver counties.
The MCWD uses scientific research and monitoring, public education, grant programs, permitting, and collaborative initiatives with local governments, agencies, and residents, to protect the region’s lakes, rivers, and streams. Protecting and managing these resources is important for recreation, fish and wildlife, the environment, and property values.
In Pursuit of a Balanced Urban Ecology
Recognizing the relationship between our natural and built environments, the MCWD works in partnership with the public, private and civic sectors to help protect and improve our natural systems, make wise investments in public infrastructure and improve the quality of water and quality of life in our communities. In 2014 the MCWD Board of Managers formalized this partnership approach by adopting the policy "In Pursuit of a Balanced Urban Ecology in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed".
This policy guides future planning and District initiatives with the following principles:
- We will join with others in pursuing our watershed management goals
- We will intensify and maintain our focus on high-priority projects
- We will be flexible and creative in adapting our practices to those of our partners
Read the full policy here.
History and gonvernance
Established in 1967, the MCWD was created under the Minnesota Watershed District Act. The 1955 act charged watershed districts with integrating water management efforts among city, county, and state agencies. Districts receive funding through local property taxes.
The MCWD is governed by a seven-member Board of Managers, which is appointed by the boards of Hennepin and Carver counties.
Are you in the MCWD? View our interactive map here.