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, watershed characterization and scientific study, planning, and on-the-ground restoration and protection activities. The CWF funds existing water quality programs through water agencies, and local government implementation projects. Protecting Minnesota's waters is a joint effort of seven partner agencies on the Interagency Coordination Team (ICT) who work together on Minnesota's water resource management activities under the Clean Water Fund:
- 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
The ICT was formed to coordinate the use of clean water funds and to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of funds to local government partners 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 are 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.
- Implement a 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 (0.00375), 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 Reporting
As required by the Clean Water Legacy Act (Minn. Stat. 114D.26, subd. 2), the MPCA is reporting actions taken in Minnesota’s watersheds to meet water-quality goals and milestones. The most significant update to these reports will occur by July of each year, following the receipt of program data from other state and federal agencies for the previous year.
MPCA-funded activities for FY 2020-2021
The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $261.261 million of clean water funds to water resource activities for fiscal years 2020-2021. The MPCA receives $44.414 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.
- 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 provide information to help local water planners 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): $9.114 million
- Ramp up efforts associated with nonpoint and point source implementation, including Great Lakes restoration: $3.7 million
- Chloride reduction efforts: Assist communities in reducing salt at the source: $500,000
More information on Clean Water Fund projects and reports can be found on the Clean Water Fund webpage. The Legislative Coordinating Commission’s (LCC) also maintains the website Minnesota's Legacy to help Minnesotans monitor how these dollars are spent.
- Celine Lyman (651-757-2541)