Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA) Watersheds

The MPCA is responsible for working with partners to monitor water quality and to plan and implement projects to protect and restore water quality in the TCMA and St. Croix Basin. This work utilizes the Watershed Approach to water quality advanced by the MPCA and other state and local partners, and is supported by the Clean Water Legacy funds provided by the State of Minnesota.

Watershed Metro Map

There are 33 watershed districts (WD) and watershed management organizations (WMO) in the Twin Cities Metro Area. Click on a WD/WMO to learn more about it.

Click on a WD/WMO to learn more about it.

Lower Minnesota River WD Gun Club Lake WMO Comfort Lake-Forest Lake WD Ramsey-Washington Metro WD Scott County WMO Mississippi WMO Prior Lake-Spring Lake WD Bassett Creek WMO Capitol Region WD Sunrise River WMO Vermillion River WJP South Washington WD Lower Mississippi River WMO Valley Branch WD Pioneer-Sarah Creek WMC Elm Creek WMC West Mississippi WMO Upper Rum River WMO Vadnais Lake Area WMO Rice Creek WD Shingle Creek WMC Richfield-Bloomington WMO Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek WD Nine Mile Creek WD Carver County WMO Coon Creek WD Browns Creek WD Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix WD Black Dog WMO North Cannon River WMO Lower Rum River WMO Middle St. Croix River WMO Minnehaha Creek WD

There are 883 lakes in the seven county TCMA which includes the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington. The TCMA Watersheds also contain the area covered by the Metropolitan Area Surface Water Management Act (Minn. Stat. 103B.201 to 255), which requires local units of government in the seven county TCMA to prepare and implement comprehensive surface water management plans through membership in a watershed management organization (WMO). WMOs can be organized in three ways:

  • as a joint powers agreement between the cities and townships within the watershed;
  • as a watershed district; or
  • as a function of county government.

Most WMOs boundaries are hydrologically defined, and are at the 10 or 12-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC) sub-watershed level. Some WMO boundaries are politically determined rather than hydrologically determined.

Projects may involve small portions of local or watershed plans such as neighborhood stormwater projects, be city or watershed-wide projects to deal with identified impairments, or be Regional or basin-wide projects dealing with problems such as chloride runoff in the TCMA Watersheds from highway road salt or basin-wide runoff of nutrients affecting Lake St. Croix.

TCMA projects

Twin Cities Metropolitan Area Chloride Project. Chloride in road salt enters our surface waters, groundwater and soils after a snowmelt. This link contains information on the MPCA’s activities, efforts, status, and impacts of chloride in our waters.

Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Project: Upper Mississippi River - Bacteria. A large number of Minnesotans rely on the Mississippi River for recreational activities and drinking water. The MPCA has identified several Mississippi River reaches from St. Cloud to St. Paul as impaired for bacteria. This link contains information on the process for conducting the TMDL study which consists of evaluating the water quality problem, determining the sources of the pollutant, allocating pollutant loads to sources and areas, and developing a plan for implementing activities to restore water quality.

TCMA TMDL links

  1. Statewide TMDL projects
  2. IWAV map to find specific impaired waters.

Related information

Water management planning resources and publications

MPCA and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) are pursuing ways to better coordinate local water management planning and TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) plans.

BWSR — Resource Management and Planning has information on county and metro local water management planning.

List of WDs and WMOs in the Metro Area:

Organization

Bassett Creek WMO

Black Dog WMO

Browns Creek WD

Capital Region WD

Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix WD

Carver County WMO

Comfort Lake-Forest Lake WD

Coon Creek WD

Eagan-Inver Grove Heights WMO

Elm Creek WMC

Lower Minnesota River WD

Lower Mississippi River WMO

Lower Rum River WMO

Middle St. Croix River WMO

Minnehaha Creek WD

Mississippi WMO

Nine Mile Creek WD

North Cannon River WMO

Pioneer-Sarah Creek WMC

Prior Lake-Spring Lake WD

Ramsey-Washington Metro WD

Rice Creek WD

Richfield-Bloomington WMO

Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek WD

Scott County WMO

Shingle Creek WMC

South Washington WD

Sunrise River WMO

Upper Rum River WMO

Vadnais Lake Area WMO

Valley Branch WD

Vermillion River Watershed JPO

West Mississippi WMC