Revisor ID: R-04692

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is currently proposing amendments to rules governing water quality standards — Class 2 use designations (Minn. Rules ch. 7050).

The public comment period for the Notice of Hearing on the proposed rules was Dec. 12, 2022, to Feb. 3, 2023. The proposed rule amendments and related documents are provided below with the Procedural rulemaking documents.

Public hearing

The MPCA held a public hearing on the proposed rules on February 16, 2023. With the close of the rebuttal comment period on March 15, 2023, the hearing record closed. Administrative Law Judge Todnem issued her report on April 14, 2023. The judge’s report is available in the procedural rulemaking documents section below.

Proposed rule amendments

The MPCA plans to amend Minnesota Rules chapter 7050, which establishes designated uses for rivers, streams, and lakes. The proposed amendments affect Class 2 (Aquatic Life) designations. The MPCA routinely reviews use designations to ensure that assigned beneficial uses are protective and attainable as defined by the Clean Water Act and Minnesota Rule. As the result of routine monitoring, the MPCA has identified waters where the currently designated beneficial use does not accurately reflect an attainable use.

Learn more about the agency's proposed amendments:

Procedural rulemaking documents

April 14, 2023

March 15, 2023

MPCA Rebuttal response submitted to the OAH.

No Non-MPCA rebuttal responses were submitted to the OAH.

March 8, 2023

MPCA Post-hearing comments submitted to the OAH.

No Non-MPCA Post-hearing comments were submitted to the OAH.

February 2023

Notice of hearing comment period

December 2022

April 2021

Beneficial use designations for stream reaches

Water use classification tables identified in the proposed amendments.

Beneficial use designations for stream reaches. Changes to the beneficial use designation tables proposed to take effect in 2023.

Why update designated uses?

The use designations in this rulemaking were initiated based on routine monitoring and rulemaking by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The most important reason to make these changes is that the designated use for each waterbody needs to be correct and appropriate because it affects many water quality protection and restoration efforts (e.g., assessment, stressor identification, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting, total maximum daily loads). Assigning the correct beneficial uses to Minnesota’s waters also accurately documents the types and condition of Minnesota’s aquatic resources.  


The draft use designations enhance the protection and maintenance of the biological, chemical, and physical integrity of state water resources by:

  • Establishing protective and attainable designated uses. The proposal assigns beneficial uses that will result in appropriate management actions to maintain or improve aquatic life condition.
  • Assigning beneficial uses to protect high-quality water resources. Draft beneficial uses identify high quality water resources and establish higher biological goals to maintain those conditions.
  • Assigning beneficial uses to appropriately classify modified water resources. These include channelized streams and ditches and will result in achievable goals that are consistent with maintaining existing uses.
  • Documenting existing beneficial uses. The revision records the baseline goal for these waters to ensure their restoration or protection.

Technical support documents


Dates Task(s)
Spring 2020 - Dec. 2020  Development of Technical Support Document
April 5, 2021 Notice of Request for Comments published in the State Register  
Winter 2020 - Fall 2021 Informal Public Engagement
Winter 2020 - Summer 2021 Drafting of rule language/Statement of Need and Reasonableness
December 12, 2022 Notice of hearing published in State Register
February 16, 2023 Public hearing on proposed rules
Approximately 6 months after notice of hearing Adoption of rules
To be determined U.S. EPA review and approval

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