Kittson County SWCD

Kittson County SWCD

Kittson SWCD

The Kittson Soil and Water Conservation District administers several programs for the County, including Buffer Law, Wetland Conservation Act (WCA), Feedlot Program, DNR Shoreland, and County Water Planning, below are links to their website as well as links to the programs that they administrate for the county.

DNR Shoreland: The Minnesota Shoreland Management Program regulates the development of shorelands along public water ways. Landowners who own property on a lake or river should contact the Kittson SWCD with questions on standards and permit requirements that may apply to their land. The purpose of these regulations is to protect public health, enhance the quality of surface waters, conserve the economic and environmental value of shorelands and provide for the sustainable use of related land resources.


What is the Minnesota Buffer Law?

Under Minnesota Statute 103F, all public waters such as lakes, rivers, and streams in Minnesota are required to have a 50 foot buffer of perennial vegetation and a 16.5 foot buffer along ditches. Alternative practices are allowable under the law. Contact the Kittson SWCD for more information on compliance and allowable practices.

Buffer Monitoring Plan

The Kittson SWCD oversees reviewing and tracking compliance with the buffer law. The SWCD is required through the Minnesota Buffer Law to monitor compliance by reviewing all parcels on a 3-year basis. We will be reviewing and monitoring 1/3 of all buffer parcels each year as well as doing random spot checks.

Below is the Kittson SWCD Buffer Monitoring Plan. This plan highlights the process in which the Kittson SWCD will handle monitoring compliance of the Buffer Law in Kittson County.

Wetland Conservation Act

The Minnesota Legislature enacted the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) in 1991 recognizing the important benefits of wetlands.  The law regulates draining and filling wetlands and, if wetland loss is unavoidable, requires replacement.  The law is one of the most comprehensive state wetland protection laws and has been used as a model for other states.

Because local officials generally have a good grasp of community needs and values, the WCA gives administrative authority for the act to local governments.  The local government unit that delegates this program in Kittson County is the Kittson Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).  The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) oversees the act on the state level.

What is a wetland?

When most people think of wetlands, they picture swampy, marshy areas complete with ducks and cattails.  While those areas are indeed wetland, many other wetlands look quite different and may eve be completely dry for the majority of the year.  A wetland is defined by three criteria:  1) It must have mostly hydric soils; 2) Is must be generally inundated or saturated above or below the surface; and 3) It must support a prevalence of vegetation adapted to wet soil conditions.  A private consultant can help you determine if an area is a wetland.

Do you have a wetland on your property?

This link takes you to a map of Minnesota that identifies national wetlands

Why are wetlands so important?

Wetlands have been considered wasted space and drained and filled for development and crop production for many years.  In Minnesota, an estimated 11 million acres of wetlands have been lost over the last 100 years, leaving about 7.5 million acres.  This represents a 60% loss.  Far from being useless, wetlands proved many important benefits, which have only become apparent as wetland numbers have dwindled.  These benefits include:

  • Wetlands reduce flooding by slowing excess water runoff during times of heavy rainfall.
  • Wetlands improve water quality by filtering sediment, nutrients and toxic substances out of water before it washes into rivers/ditches.
  • Wetlands provide habitat for many fish, wildlife and plants.

Contact the Kittson SWCD for local wetland information and find out if the land to be altered is a wetland.  The Kittson SWCD can help you with all the appropriate steps.

Subsurface Sewage Systems

Is your septic system not working the way it should? Landowners may apply for a grant to replace septic systems that are identified to be an imminent threat to public health and safety or failing systems. This includes systems that: discharge sewage to the ground surface, backup into a dwelling or establishment, discharge sewage to surface waters or fail to protect groundwater. This program is a cost share based program. The percentage that the grant will pay of a new system is based on income, but is designed to provide a percentage to almost everyone. The money is limited and available on a first-come first-serve basis. To receive more information contact the Kittson SWCD.

Two Rivers Plus One Watershed One Plan

The Kittson SWCD along with Roseau SWCD, Roseau County, and Kittson County have adopted the Two Rivers Plus Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan to cover the two rivers, Joe River, and a portion of the Lower Red River of the North watersheds. This coordinated plan allows these agencies to work cooperatively to effectively and efficiently manage the land and water resources to protect local water quality and quantity, groundwater, drinking water, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources provides guidance and funding for this plan through the One Watershed, One Plan Program, which aims to develop prioritized, targeted, and measurable implementation plans. This plan was approved in 2021 and will be in effect for 10 years.

More information on the Two Rivers Plus Comprehensive Watershed Management plan can be found here.

Quick Links

Kittson SWCD website

Kittson County Water Plan Documents