The glacial landscape of Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, a few more wetlands, and a good deal of high groundwater. The state's past and continuing prosperity would not be possible without the ability to make productive use of land by drainage. Roads, settlements, agriculture all have relied, and will continue to rely, extensively on the ability to manage surface and groundwaters through systems of ditch and tile. But we also have come to appreciate more with time the benefits of protecting our wet environments, the places where ground and surface waters meet. Our recognition grows of the benefits of preserving these areas, both economic and non-economic -- the "ecological services" that these areas provide. Certainly it is not unusual to encounter competing public values, nor is it unusual that these values may be challenging to reconcile, particularly through the imperfect instrument of the laws. It is good public policy to pause periodically and assess how we are doing. The LCCMR commissioned this study to analyze Minnesota drainage laws and related economic and environmental considerations, and to explore alternative strategies that would best protect both the state's surface waters and the rights of property owners to make beneficial use of their land through drainage. Such a study requires strong engagement of stakeholders in order to develop creative, integrated solutions to natural resource protection and productive land use.
Date Issued
Number of Pages
Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Rights Holder
Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources
Rights Management
Public Domain