Congress enacted Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1987, establishing a national program to control nonpoint sources (NPS) of water pollution. Rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground carrying natural and human-made pollutants into lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and ground water causes nonpoint source pollution. Atmospheric deposition and hydrologic modification are also sources of nonpoint source pollution.
The Minnesota Nonpoint Source Management Program Plan (NSMPP) is a requirement for Minnesota to remain eligible to receive NPS grant funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the CWA. However, the NSMPP is intended to reach beyond this purpose by setting Minnesota's statewide NPS goals and lay out out a statewide multi-year approach for addressing water quality problems from NPS pollution. Also, the program plan provides guidance on NPS issues for consideration by federal, state and local governmental units in other NPS planning efforts. Nonpoint source water pollution control proposals must be cited in this document to be considered for Section 319 funding.