The Alternative Shoreland Management Standards
A Product of Minnesota's North Central Lakes Pilot Project
Existing statewide minimum shoreland standards affect nearly all of Minnesota's lakes and rivers. These standards address issues of shoreland development and use like sewage treatment, stormwater management, minimum lot size and water frontage, building and septic system setbacks, building heights, subdivisions and alterations of land and vegetation close to the shore. By statute and rule, local governments with priority shorelands are required to adopt and manage the statewide minimum shoreland standards through their local land use controls and zoning ordinances. Many have also adopted stricter standards to deal with their own emerging land development issues.
Increased development and new development trends have raised concerns about impacts on water quality and lake use. The Governor's Clean Water Initiative pilot project in the five county north central lakes area around Brainerd raised these concerns through its stakeholders group. This led to the development of the alternative shoreland management standards through an advisory committee of the group. The alternative shoreland management standards provide options that a local government may use to address specific shoreland issues identified in the five county area. Other local governments outside the pilot area are either considering or in the process of adapting certain elements of the alternative shoreland standards for use in their own shoreland ordinances. The alternative shoreland standards are voluntary standards that present a "tools in the toolbox" approach to shoreland management that any local government may choose to consider to address their own development issues.
The alternative standards developed through this pilot project will be considered during the rulemaking process as the Shoreland Rules Update Project proceeds with updating the statewide shoreland management standards.
The Alternative Standards
The comparison document lists the areas that will be revised in the process, what the current rule has for that area, the proposed changes to that area, and what the five counties currently have in their ordinances in that area.
An Assessment and Rationale for the Alternative Standards (June 2006)
Sample Ordinance for Conservation Subdivisions (October 2006)
Implementation of Alternative Shoreland Standards
The Alternative Standards are currently in use or pending use in the following counties: Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing, Douglas, Hubbard, Itasca, Lake of the Woods, Meeker, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pope, Rice, Stearns
View a county-specific status of adoption of elements of Minnesota's Alternative Shoreland Management Standards (January 10, 2007).
Additional information concerning local shoreland ordinances is available from the planning and zoning office in each county.
Government Training Services Classes:
- 2007: Shoreland Management, The Next Step (Class Summary)
- Mike Mueller, Shoreland Hydrologist, Eastern Minnesota, (763) 689-7105
- Robert Collett, Shoreland Hydrologist, Western Minnesota, (320) 234-2550 x238
- DNR Area Hydrologist or county planning and zoning office
Shoreland Management History (What, Why, When)
Shoreland Standards Update Project News Releases - (Your Lake, Our Lakes)
- 2006 releases
- Updated Your Lake, Our Lakes news releases from 2005 for 2006 (June 2006)
- The new subdivision for shorelands (June 2006)
- Do we need to reforest our lakeshores? (July 2006)
- Evolution of angler ethics (July 2006)
- Three ways to reduce pollution from your lakeshore property (August 2006)
- Economics of shoreland zoning (August 2006)
- Citizens use science to improve lakeshore management (September 2006)
- 2005 releases
- We need modern shoreland standards (August 2005)
- Lawn-to-lakes are no longer ecologically smart (August 2005)
- Shorelands deserve conservation designs for subdivisions and planned unit developments (August 2005)
- Where does the rainwater go? (August 2005)
- Resorts are important to Minnesota (August 2005)
- The science of septic systems (August 2005)
- Boat density can be a problem (September 2005)
- Variances must not alter the local character of a place (September 2005)
- Becoming a good shoreline steward (September 2005)
- Identifying sensitive shorelines allows for greater protection (September 2005)
- Loss of ducks with development (September 2005)
Current Shoreland Rules
(cross-linked with Statement of Needs and Reasonableness - Microsoft Word ® document)
Shoreland Management Lake Classifications by County
A Guide for Buying and Managing Shoreland
Shoreland Management Reference Materials