Environmental Advisory Council

Grant County Commissioners

Grant SWCD Supervisors

Executive Summary

Priority Concerns (PDF File)
  • Assessment of 3 Priority Concerns
  • Shoreland Classification
  • Surface Water Use

Goals and Objectives (PDF File)
  • Priority Concern 1
  • Priority Concern 2
  • Priority Concern 3

Implementation Schedule (PDF File)
  • Acronyms for Cooperators
  • Priority Concern 1
  • Priority Concern 2
  • Priority Concern 3

Appendix A: Priority Concerns Scoping Document (PDF File)
  • Introduction
  • Priority Concerns
    • Identification Process
    • Results
    • Written Responses Received
  • Summary

Appendix B: Local Government Environmental Assistance Network

  • Long Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment

Water Management Plan prepared by the Grant County Environmental Advisory Council and the Grant Soil and Water Conservation District

Executive Summary


Grant County is located in west central Minnesota, approximately 160 miles northwest of Minneapolis. It has a total land area of 546 square miles and 29 square miles of water. Grant County was first settled in the late 1860's. The first settlers were mainly hunters and trappers, followed by farmers. The county was formally organized on March 8, 1868. Elbow Lake, located in the north central part of the county was designated as the county seat. The population of Grant County in the 2000 census was 6,289 this was a 0.7% change from the 1990 census.

Grant County is fortunate to have an abundant supply of water for recreation, agriculture, industry, and home use. By planning now, we can offset problems and avoid situations that could be costly and difficult to control. If we do not take action to protect and manage our own resources, it is very likely we will find ourselves working with programs that are not necessarily responsive to the local needs and concerns. It is important that programs dealing with natural resource protection assure no one segment of the population bears the burden of protecting these resources.

The Comprehensive Local Water Management Act of 1985 (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 110B) provided counties the opportunity to develop a course of action to better manage and protect their water and related resources. The legislation recognized that local residents and those involved with water related issues in the county are in the best position to determine priorities and set direction to assure local issues are addressed in the local water plan.

Grant County passed a resolution in October of 1985 to enter into the Comprehensive Local Water Plan (CLWP) process under Chapter 110B. The original Grant County water plan was adopted in May of 1990 and implementation began that year. The plan was revised in 1997. Administration of the Local Water Plan has been the responsibility of the Grant Soil and Water Conservation district since 1990.

While many of the issues and concerns outlined in the original plan remain unchanged, Grant County has taken this opportunity to review the water plan and make the necessary revisions that reflect the water and related land resource assessments, goals, objectives, and action plans for the next ten years.

This water plan revision is the result of a cooperative effort between Local units of government, land and water managers, and local residents.

Purpose of the Local Water Management Plan:

The purpose of this updated Local Water Management Plan (LWMP) is to identify existing and potential problems and opportunities for protection, management and development of water resources and related land resources in Grant County. Pursuant to the requirements of Minn. Stat. 103B.311 subd.4, the five requirements of this plan are as follows:

1. The plan must cover the entire county.

2. The plan must address problems in the context of watershed units and groundwater systems.

3. The plan must be based upon principals of sound hydrologic management of water, effective environmental protection, and efficient management.

4. The plan must be consistent with local water management plans prepared by counties and watershed management organizations wholly or partially within a single watershed unit or ground water system.

5. The plan will cover a ten year period (2005-2015) with an implementation plan that will cover a five year period (2005-2010) and will then be updated for the remaining five years.

Description of priority concerns:

Information collected through public meetings and participation was analyzed and used to develop three priority concerns. The process used to collect this information and identify priority concerns is thoroughly described in the Priority Concerns Scoping Document in Appendix A. The three priority concerns identified to focus water management efforts in Grant County are as follows:

Priority Concern 1: Contaminated runoff from both urban and agricultural land entering surface waters.
Uncontrolled runoff from agricultural land and urban areas are contributing to the decline of surface water quality through sedimentation and nutrient loading of the counties streams, wetlands, lakes and rivers. While none of the County lakes or rivers are currently listed as impaired, monitoring data collected from 1990 to 1995 indicates that surface water resources in all county watersheds have been negatively impacted by contaminated runoff.

Priority Concern 2: Excessive runoff water volumes from urban and agricultural land.
Excessive stormwater runoff volume from urban areas as well as agricultural areas is contributing to flooding problems in all watershed areas of the County. This problem is generally related to drainage and land use conversion.

Priority Concern 3: Management of shoreland areas and surface water use. Specifically, on natural environment lakes, rivers, and sensitive areas on recreational, and general development lakes.
Grant County has many shallow lakes located in the Chippewa, Pomme de Terre and Mustinka river watersheds. These lakes are beginning to experience development pressure as the availability of land on recreational lakes has diminished. Grant County recognizes the importance of establishing shore land management ordinances and surface water use ordinances that adequately protects sensitive areas and natural environment lakes.

Summary of goals and actions:

Priority Concern 1: Contaminated runoff from both urban and agricultural land entering surface waters.

  • Promote and implement vegetated buffers adjacent to all surface water resources.
  • Protect existing buffers adjacent to protected waters from development through the County Shoreland Ordinance.
  • Promote and implement agricultural best management practices such as; conservation tillage and nutrient management on agricultural lands near surface water resources that have established vegetated buffers.
  • Encourage compliance with stormwater rules and ordinances by continuing public education and promotion of stormwater best management practices.

Cost --- $600,000.00 --- 2005 to 2010 (see implementation schedule page IV-1)

Priority Concern 2: Excessive runoff water volumes from urban and agricultural land.

  • Promote and implement the restoration of drained wetlands.
  • Promote the installation of stormwater retention basins when more than an acre of impervious surface is constructed.
  • Promote crop rotations that utilize perennial crops such as alfalfa.

Cost --- $265,000.00 --- 2005 to 2010 (see implementation schedule page IV-2)

Priority Concern 3: Management of shoreland areas and surface water use. Specifically, on natural environment lakes, rivers, and sensitive areas on recreational, and general development lakes.

  • Protect and improve water quality, and fish and wildlife habitat of protected surface water resources by initiating a process to reclassify lakes or portions of lakes where appropriate and clearly defining and mapping sensitive areas.
  • Identify and implement a process of enacting surface water use regulations on selected lakes and or portions of lakes and rivers.

    Cost --- $ 340,000.00 --- 2005 to 2010 (see implementation schedule pages IV-2 and IV-3)

    Consistency with other plans:

    In preparation of the Grant County Local Water Plan the most recent plans from several entities were examined to ensure consistency with their concerns. Major basin plans included the Red River Basin Water Quality Plan and the Minnesota River Basin Plan. Watershed plans included the Bois de Sioux Watershed District Overall Plan. Local plans included the Grant County Comprehensive Plan and Local Water Management Plans from adjacent counties. These plans were reviewed for compatibility and collaboration. The Grant County Local Water Management Plan update has utilized appropriate action items to support these plans and is consistent with goals and objectives presented in these plans.

    Recommendations to other plans and official controls:

    1. The Grant County Environmental Advisory Council recommends statewide revision of the Shoreland Regulations. While Grant County recognizes that they can adopt a more restrictive County Shoreland Ordinance that adequately protects shallow lakes and sensitive areas it would provide greater consistency for the state to provide a minimum statewide standard that adequately addresses water quality, and fish and wildlife issues created by the unforeseen development of natural environment lakes and sensitive areas on recreational and general development lakes.

    2. The Grant County Environmental Advisory Council recommends that the State of Minnesota through the Department of Natural Resources review laws and policies related to the permitting of aquacultural activities in wetlands and natural environment lakes. Specifically, it is believed that it is inappropriate to issue a permit for this use without proper notification and input from all riparian landowners and local officials.

  • This website was last updated on February 7, 2017.