News release: DNR honors watershed district

January 8, 2024

Annual award highlights conservation effectiveness

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources presented its annual Watershed District of the Year award to the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District.

Dan Lais, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division Central Region manager, presented the award at the annual Minnesota Watersheds conference on Nov. 30.

The Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District, just north of Stillwater and east of Hugo in east-central Minnesota, includes approximately 81 square miles of land, 31 lakes, three designated trout streams, hundreds of acres of wetlands, and more than 17 miles of St. Croix River shoreline. 

“The district does a tremendous amount of work with property owners, local governments and the DNR to protect and restore natural shorelines and address other shoreland issues,” Lais said.

Specifically, the district

  • Formed a Shoreland Compliance Advisory Team with partners including DNR, Washington County, and municipalities to improve coordination and communication when addressing shoreland violations.
  • Conducts robust, quantitative surveys of its largest lakes using the DNR’s “Score Your Shore” method to develop baseline data and targets for improving shoreline health.

District staff also presented on natural shorelines and bioengineering at a local government forum hosted by the DNR and co-presented on the benefits of natural shorelines with DNR staff at the St. Croix River Workshop-on-the-Water.

“DNR staff greatly appreciate the district’s willingness to partner with us on important shoreland issues,” Lais said.

Information about the importance of natural shorelines and how to “score your shore” is available on the DNR website.

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