Minnesota River Valley Recreation and Conservation Master Plan

Brief history and background

The Minnesota River Valley in Renville and Redwood Counties was carved into the landscape by the ancient River Warren. Today’s landscape was shaped by Native American communities, European immigrant settlers and others. The valley is widely recognized for its rich diversity of natural, cultural and historical resources which would greatly benefit from greater interpretation and conservation. The vision of this planning effort is a shared landscape that respects the cultural and agricultural heritage in the area while conserving unique and sensitive natural resources; and providing increased recreational opportunities.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has worked with partners in the upper Minnesota River area since 2009 to identify conservation and recreation management concepts that will meet a variety of interests. Those interests include the changing needs of outdoor recreationists, increasing wildlife habitat in the MN River Valley area, protecting sensitive animals and plant communities. Its aim is to continue respecting private property rights while supporting diverse local economies and healthy human communities.

Much work has been done by citizens, local governments and non-profits to build a shared landscape approach to outdoor recreation and conservation in the valley.  In 2013, The Minnesota River Valley Citizen’s Advisory Committee report formalized a number of recommendations including developing a plan for the area that involves local stakeholders.

In 2014, legislation was enacted directing DNR to develop a master plan. See 2014 MN Session Law, Chapter290-H.F. No.2852, Sec. 65.

View of Minnesota River from Skalbekken County Park

In 2015, DNR partnered with Renville and Redwood Counties to start a coordinated master planning process for the area 2 miles either side of the Minnesota River.

Minnesota River from Skalbekken County Park


Valley view from Cedar Rock WMA looking east.

While there may be two separate physical plans, the planning process and public outreach efforts will be a joint effort with DNR and the counties.

Valley view from Cedar Rock WMA looking east.


Background Information

Planning Maps

Public Input:

Add your name to the email contact list at: [email protected]

Workshop 1

You can find the following information on

  • Public Workshop 1 Presentation (7MB)
  • Public Workshop 1 Exhibits (2MB)
  • Public Workshop Small Group Questions
  • Public input Report
  • Online Survey Results

Workshop 2

Olivia, MN
Wednesday, Feb. 15
Renville County Government Center.
105 South 5th St., Olivia
Rm. 117

Redwood Falls, MN
Thursday, Feb. 16
Redwood Falls Community Center
901 E. Cook St., Redwood Falls
Rm. 2

Two public workshops discussed opportunities to expand outdoor recreation and conserve natural and cultural resources in the Minnesota River Valley (MRV) area within Redwood and Renville Counties.
Discussion groups at a public meeting Workshop #2 Materials below can be found on

  • Master Plan PowerPoint Presentation
  • Landscape Potential Analysis Map
  • Key Opportunities Map
  • If you were unable to attend the workshops, there is an online Survey open until 10 March 2017 that will be used to help prioritize master plan recommended actions.
  • WORKSHOP 2 REPORT with prioritized Master Plan actions

Review the Draft Master Plan

Recreation and Conservation Master Plan - Minnesota River ValleyA 30-day public review period for the Minnesota River Valley Recreation and Conservation Master Plan begins May 8, 2017, and ends June 8th with an open house. Stakeholders will be able to ask questions of county and state planning team representatives involved with the Master Plan or provide written comments during the open house.

The Master Plan can be found at www.mnrivervalleymasterplan.org. Printed copies of the plan are available for reading at the Renville County Environmental Office in Olivia, the Redwood County Environmental Office in Redwood Falls, the Redwood Falls Public Library and the Lower Sioux Environmental office in Morton.

Comments about the Master Plan can be sent to [email protected].


Cathi Fouchi, DNR Regional Planner
21371 State Hwy 15
New Ulm, MN 56073

The open house is from 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm.

Redwood Falls, MN
Thursday, June 8
Redwood Falls Public Library Community meeting room
509 S. Lincoln St., Redwood Falls

Thanks to all the individuals, organizations, agencies, and elected officials who have contributed time and effort to develop this master plan.

The Redwood and Renville County portion of this master plan project received funding provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) through a grant to Renville and Redwood counties.

Completed Master Plan

Final version of the Master Plan is posted at http://www.mnrivervalleymasterplan.org/master-plan

Public Comment Period Summary Report can be found at http://www.mnrivervalleymasterplan.org/master-plan in the appendix list.

Next Steps:

Once the state and counties give final approvals to the master plan, the next step is to begin implementing strategies identified in the plan. An important first step is for the project partners to convene an advisory board for the area consisting of local organizations, individuals and agencies. Secondly, special designations can be sought to add importance and raise awareness for the project. Communities will need to secure project funding through a combination of state and local funds, and private contributions.  Now the rewarding work begins as local communities join together, supported by various organizations and agencies, to bring the vision they created to realization. This will take some time and effort but will reap benefits for many generations of local residents.

For More Information, questions or comments about DNR Master Plan, please contact:

Catherine Fouchi
DNR Regional Planner
[email protected]

For More Information, questions or comments about Redwood/Renville Counties Master Plan, please contact:

Scott Wold
Redwood County Environmental Office Director
[email protected]