Why are Permits Required?

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District requires permits for properties within its boundaries in order to:

  • Protect the water resources of the MCWD for all current and future users
  • Reduce the severity and frequency of flooding  
  • Preserve floodplain and wetland storage capacity
  • Improve the chemical and physical quality of surface water
  • Reduce sediment build-up to preserve the flow of lakes and streams
  • Minimize public expenditures to correct damage in the future
  • Preserve natural shoreline and habitat for aquatic life


Watershed District Summary

The MCWD receives its authority from the Minnesota Watershed District Act.  The Minnesota Legislature has recognized the public need to conserve and protect natural resources through land utilization and flood control based on sound scientific principles.

This is important because land alteration affects the rate, volume, and quality of surface water runoff that ultimately must be accommodated by the existing surface water systems within the District. The watershed is large – 180 square miles – and its outlet, Minnehaha Creek, has limited capacity to carry water. Flooding problems already occur in the urban areas of the District along Minnehaha Creek and on Lake Minnetonka.

Land use and alteration can also reduce the quality of runoff entering the streams and water bodies of the District. The buildup of sediment in lakes and streams that results from erosion and construction activities reduces the capacity of water bodies and degrades water quality. Water quality problems already exist in many of the lakes and streams throughout the District and if water quality worsens, it can affect recreation, fish and wildlife, and reduce nearby property values.

Projects that increase the rate of stormwater runoff can aggravate existing flooding problems and contribute to new ones. Projects that fill floodplain or wetland areas can make flooding worse by reducing flood storage and the capacity of water bodies, and can degrade water quality by eliminating the natural filtering ability of the areas. Dredging projects can also degrade water quality and eliminate the natural appearance of shoreland areas.