Clean Water Fund

Clean Water Fund dollars come from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment that Minnesotans passed in 2008. The funds are used for water management activities such as monitoring, planning, and on-the-ground restoration and protection activities. CWF funds existing water quality programs through water agencies, not projects. Protecting Minnesota's waters is a joint effort between seven partner agencies on the Interagency Coordination Team (ICT) who work together on Minnesota's water resource management activities under the Clean Water Fund:

  1. Metropolitan Council
  2. Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
  3. Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  4. Minnesota Department of Health
  5. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  6. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  7. Minnesota Public Facilities Authority

The ICT was formed to coordinate the use of clean water funds and to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of funds to achieve the purposes of the 2006 Clean Water Legacy Act (MS 114D) and the 2008 Constitutional Amendment. The purpose of the Clean Water Fund ICT is to;

  • Develop CWF budget recommendations for the Governor’s consideration
  • Coordinate state agency clean water activities through ICT Subteams.
  • Provide for the integration of clean water fund programs
  • Watershed approach
  • Use systematic strategies for the 25-year life of the Amendment funding, using existing programs to avoid adding additional bureaucratic layers and to eliminate duplicating water management activities.

Background on the Clean Water Fund

On November 4, 2008, Minnesota voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the constitution to protect drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve arts and cultural heritage; to support parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater.
 
The amendment increased the sales and use tax rate by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales, starting July 1, 2009, continuing through 2034. Approximately 33% of those funds are dedicated to the Clean Water Fund to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater, with at least 5% of the fund targeted to protect drinking water sources.

Clean Water Accountability Act Reports

The MPCA is publishing watershed reports in accordance with the Clean Water Accountability Act. “Beginning July 1, 2016, and every other year thereafter, the MPCA must report on its website the progress toward implementation milestones and water quality goals for all adopted Total Maximum Daily Loads, and where available, Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies.” (Minn. Stat. 114D.26, subd. 2)

In subsequent years, the reports will be updated, and new reports will be added. Each individual watershed report provides:

  • Summarized description of the watershed
  • Water quality measurements for Total Phosphorus, Total Suspended Solids, and Nitrogen
  • Progress toward load reduction targets for each of the parameters above
  • Most commonly applied Best Management Practices for the watershed
  • Water quality improvement spending totals in the watershed

Reports

MPCA-funded activities for FY 2018-2019

The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $211.87 million of clean water funds to water resource activities for fiscal years 2018-2019. The MPCA receives $49.33 million for clean water activities. The MPCA uses these funds to meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Minnesota 2006 Clean Water Legacy Act (CWLA) which focuses on existing restoration and protection programs.

  • Continue accelerated monitoring and assessment efforts from the previous funding cycle to characterize conditions of our water resources. Statewide monitoring and assessment work is on track to meet the 10-year schedule, at a rate of about 10 percent of the watersheds each year. 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.
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Watershed restoration and protection strategies and TMDL development $19.047 million

  • Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (TMDL development): Support local government through development of watershed protection and restoration strategies (WRAPS) that diagnose sources of problems and prioritize and target solutions. In 2008, the MPCA launched a watershed approach to systematically and comprehensively conduct the state’s water-quality monitoring, and restoration and protection planning needs on a 10-year cycle. WRAPs are developed with local partners to set strategies for impaired waters and unimpaired waters by setting reduction and protection goals, milestones and measures to guide state and local government implementation efforts.
  • Enhance groundwater assessment, drinking water protection and subsurface sewage treatment systems (SSTS): $9.233M.
  • Ramp up efforts associated with nonpoint and point source implementation, including Great Lakes restoration: $3.75M.
  • Watershed research and tool development: $1M

More information on Clean Water Fund projects and reports can be found on the Legislative Coordinating Commission’s (LCC) Clean Water Fund webpage. The LCC maintains the website Minnesota's Legacy to help Minnesotans monitor how these dollars are spent.

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For more information

Assistant Water Commissioner, Rebecca Flood, 651-757-2022 or rebecca.flood@state.mn.us.

Clean Water Fund Coordinator, Celine Lyman, 651-757-2541 or celine.lyman@state.mn.us.

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