What is a watershed district?

Watershed districts are local, special-purpose units of government that work to solve and prevent water-related problems. The boundaries of each district follow those of a natural watershed and consist of land in which all water flows to one outlet.  The districts are usually named after that watershed.

While all other government units, such as states, counties and cities have political boundaries, because water knows no boundaries and goes where it wants to, it makes sense to manage natural resources on a watershed basis.  This type of management allows for an overall, holistic approach to resource conservation.

Minnesota's 42 watershed districts are each governed by a Board of Managers appointed by the Boards of Commissioners of the counties that have land in the district.  Watershed Districts were authorized by the Legislature in 1955 when it passed the Watershed Act, MSA103D – this legislation sets out the role and responsibilities for watershed districts in Minnesota.  All meetings held by a watershed district Board are open to the public.