Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota (BALMM)

The Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota (BALMM) began as a locally led alliance of land and water resource agencies that coordinates efforts to protect and improve water quality in the Lower Mississippi River Basin.

  • BALMM makes water quality restoration and protection in southeast Minnesota a top priority for decision-makers at all levels
  • The group coordinates efforts to protect and restore water quality in southeast Minnesota.

To fulfill those purposes, BALMM emphasizes land use practices to improve or protect water quality, particularly in the areas of watershed management, aquifer protection and floodplain management. The alliance has adopted the following strategies.

  • Perennial vegetation: Increase acreage of well-managed hay and pastureland, vegetative buffer strips, woodlands, etc. This will increase infiltration and reduce surface runoff following rain and snow melt events.
  • Wetland protection and restoration: Work with willing landowners to restore wetland functions in critical parts of the landscape.
  • Soil conservation on row-crop land: Promote conservation tillage, contour farming and install needed structures to keep erosion at or below the replacement rate of soil erosion.
  • Urban and rural-residential land management: Reduce impacts from urban stormwater and wastewater, while managing urban development.
  • Nutrient and pesticide management: Promote optimal use of fertilizer and chemicals to minimize runoff and leaching from farm fields and urban land.
  • Animal feedlot management: Support implementation of state feedlot rules to reduce feedlot runoff and improve manure management.
  • Aggregate mining activities management: Coordinate permitting and environmental review to minimize potential impacts on groundwater and surface water while maintaining local supplies at reasonable cost.


BALMM meets every other month to discuss current issues and plan projects. Contact MPCA Watershed Project Manager Emily Zanon for the agenda and participation details.

Upcoming meetings are held at MPCA's regional office in Rochester (7381 Airport View Drive SW) unless otherwise noted:

  • September 21, 2022
  • December 21, 2022



PDF icon Lower Mississippi River Basin Plan scoping document (2001)

This Basin Plan Scoping Document was developed by BALMM participants in 2001.  This document summarizes Regional Environmental Goals, Geographic Management Strategies and Land-Use strategies.

PDF icon BALMM nitrogen memo (wq-b12-04)

The BALMM Nitrate Memo serves to summarize regional needs related to information and tools that support BALMM partners in their on-going nitrate reduction efforts. The information and tools described in the memo are specific and focused on developing a deeper understanding of nitrate leaching loss and transport in the karst system.  The memo also describes additional outreach resources that will support local government efforts to implement nitrate reduction work. In 2020, Area 7 MASWCD passed a resolution to support the BALMM Nitrogen Memo.  This highlights the regional support from 11 SE MN Soil & Water Conservation Districts.