In 1969, the Minnesota Legislature enacted the State Floodplain Management Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 103F). This Act and sound floodplain management principles stress the need for a comprehensive approach to solving flood problems by emphasizing nonstructural measures, such as floodplain zoning regulations, flood insurance, floodproofing, and flood warning and response planning. By law, Minnesota's flood prone communities are required to: 1) adopt floodplain management regulations when adequate technical information is available to identify floodplain areas; and 2) enroll and maintain eligibility in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) so that the people of Minnesota may insure themselves from future losses through the purchase of flood insurance. In 1987, the Flood Plain Management Act was amended to establish a state cost-sharing grant program to help local government units plan for and implement flood hazard mitigation measures. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency with overall responsibility for implementation of the State Flood Plain Management Act.

At the state level, the DNR has promulgated minimum standards for floodplain management entitled "Statewide Standards and Criteria for Management of Flood Plain Areas of Minnesota" (Minn. Rules 6120.5000 - 6120.6200). These standards have two direct applications: 1) all local floodplain regulations adopted after June 30, 1970 must be compliant with these standards; and 2) all state agencies and local units of government must comply with Minnesota Regulations in the construction of structures, roads, bridges or other facilities located within floodplain areas delineated by local ordinance. Local floodplain regulatory programs, administered by county government, predominately for the unincorporated areas of a county, and by municipal government for the incorporated areas of a county, must be compliant with federal and state floodplain management standards. Both federal and state standards identify the 100-year floodplain as the minimum area necessary for regulation at the local level. These regulations are intended to protect new development and modifications to existing development from flood damages when locating in a flood prone area cannot be avoided.