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Clean Water Fund dollars come from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment that Minnesotans approved in 2008. The amendment increased the sales and use tax rate by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales from 2009 through 2034. Approximately 33% of the revenue goes into the Clean Water Fund to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater. The funds are used for water management activities such as monitoring, watershed characterization and scientific study, planning, and on-the-ground restoration and protection activities.

The Clean Water Fund Interagency Coordination Team (ICT) was formed to coordinate the use of Clean Water Fund dollars for achieving the aims of Clean Water Land and Legacy Act. The ICT includes the seven state agencies involved in protecting water quality:

  • Metropolitan Council
  • Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Minnesota Public Facilities Authority

Reporting on water quality goals

The Clean Water Legacy Act requires that the MPCA report on actions taken in Minnesota’s watersheds to meet water-quality goals and milestones. Significant updates are available by July each year, after state and federal agencies submit data from the previous calendar year.

  • Status of watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS) – The MPCA and its partners prepare WRAPS reports for each watershed to recommend the actions needed to improve and protect water quality. Use this tool to see how many Minnesota watershed have final WRAPS reports.
  • Status of total maximum daily load (TMDL) reports – TMDLs establish the amount of pollutant an impaired body of water can accept and still meet water quality standards, and the amount of reduction needed to meet the standard. Use this tool to track the MPCA's effort to develop TMDLs for all impaired waters.
  • Pollutant reductions at wastewater treatment plants – Use this tool to see how wastewater facilities in Minnesota are doing in reducing phosphorus and other pollutants from their discharges.
  • Best management practices implemented – See what actions have been taken in each watershed to reduce contaminated runoff from rural and agricultural lands. Best practices include planting cover crops, improving septic systems, stabilizing streambanks, restoring wetlands, and much more.
  • Spending on project implementation – Learn about state, local, and federal spending on projects around the state that are designed to restore or protect water quality. Track spending by county or watershed.

Learn more: Tracking Minnesota’s Legacy and Trust Funds

MPCA activities funded for FY 2024-2025

The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $318.396 million from the Clean Water Fund to water resource activities for fiscal years 2024-2025. The MPCA received $48.375 million to do water quality protection work required by state and federal laws.

Water quality monitoring: $18.1 million

The agency will continue accelerated monitoring and assessment efforts from the previous funding cycle to characterize conditions of our water resources. Intensive watershed monitoring includes biological, chemical, and habitat monitoring in watersheds to assess the water conditions. Assessments determine if waters are impaired and serve as a basis for further analysis of watershed problems, protection options, and overall watershed planning efforts.

WRAPS and TMDL development: $12.7 million

The MPCA will continue to support local government through development of watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS) that identify the sources of pollution and provide information to help local water planners prioritize and target solutions. WRAPS are developed with local partners to set strategies for impaired waters and unimpaired waters by setting reduction and protection goals and measures to guide state and local government implementation efforts.

Other activities

The funds also support:

  • groundwater monitoring and assessment.
  • septic system work, including low-income grants.
  • nonpoint- and point-source implementation, including Great Lakes restoration, and wastewater and stormwater.
  • reducing use of road salt and water softener salt.

Clean Water Fund performance report

This report is published every two years and provides a high-level overview of Minnesota’s use Clean Water Fund dollars in restoring and protecting the quality of the state’s surface water, groundwater and drinking water.

Use the Legislative Reference Library to find earlier reports in this series.

Highlights of 2024 report

Water quality achievements between 2010 and 2023 as a result of water management activities supported by Minnesota’s Clean Water Fund:

  • was a major driver of improvements in phosphorus and sediment levels in lakes, rivers, and streams and provided needed investments to address rising nitrate and chloride levels in some regions of the state.
  • upgraded 52 municipal wastewater treatment facilities, reducing phosphorus discharges by 48%, over 316,000 pounds per year.
  • engaged 84,000 visitors to the We Are Water MN exhibits at 30 sites statewide since 2016, leading to new community partnerships and broader awareness of water issues.
  • developed plans to protect the drinking water sources of nearly 800 out of the approximately 970 community water systems in Minnesota and awarded approximately 1,300 grants that support protection for local drinking water sources.
  • certified nearly 1 million acres of Minnesota farmland across more than 1,400 farms through the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program.