Adopting and Amending Wild & Scenic River and Lower St. Croix Riverway Ordinances

Local governments in the Wild & Scenic River and Lower St. Croix Riverway districts must have an ordinance that complies with the Wild & Scenic River or the Lower St. Croix Riverway rules.

The DNR reviews local ordinances for compliance with the relevant state rules.

Instructions for Local Governments

This process is designed so that local governments obtain conditional DNR approval of proposed ordinances or amendments in time for public hearings to consider ordinance amendments. Conditional approval means that the proposed ordinance or amendment is mostly compliant with the rules and only a few relatively minor changes may be needed before the ordinance is adopted by the board or council.

If the ordinance or amendment has major deviations from the rules or includes other complexities, work with your area hydrologist to resolve issues ahead of time. Concerns must be resolved before the DNR will issue conditional approval.

Local governments can expedite conditional approval by working with the DNR early in the process.

Step-by-Step Instructions

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Step 1: Notify the DNR of Intent to Adopt or Amend an Ordinance (Optional)

Informing the DNR gives us a chance to schedule time to help your effort stay on schedule.

  1. Complete the Notice of Intent to Adopt or Amend form.
  2. Email your materials to the DNR using the submission button below.
Step 2: Request DNR Preliminary Review of a Rough Draft Ordinance/Amendment (Optional)

The preliminary review is intended to help local governments develop “near final” language ready for conditional approval. The DNR’s involvement in this phase is especially important if the community will be adopting a new ordinance or making comprehensive changes to an existing ordinance. The DNR will comment on draft language, identify issues early, and provide suggestions on language for DNR approval.

To request a DNR preliminary review of a rough draft ordinance/amendment, submit the following items as soon as the proposed ordinance is ready:

  1. Proposed ordinance or amendment as a Word document:
    • showing all additions, deletions, and other changes from the existing ordinance or the existing ordinance, and
    • explaining why provisions have been added, deleted, or changed using comments in the Word document. Clarifying and explaining changes will reduce back-and-forth communications and expedite the review.
  2. Email explaining:
    • what you are trying to accomplish with the new ordinance or amendment, and
    • anticipated schedule for public meetings, public hearings and adoption.

Send an email, along with your proposed ordinance or amendment to the DNR using the submission button below.

Step 3: Request DNR Conditional Approval Review of Near Final Draft Ordinance/Amendment (Required)

The DNR will review proposed ordinances and amendments and provide comments for review at public hearings. The DNR will provide conditional approval if the ordinance or amendment is substantially compliant with the rules. If they deviate significantly, the DNR will suggest changes, but will not provide conditional approval until the changes have been made.

To request a DNR conditional review of a near final draft, submit the following items at least 30 days before a public hearing.

New Ordinance

  1. The proposed ordinance as a Word document.
  2. Notices of public hearings to consider the ordinance (must be submitted to the DNR at least 10 days before the public hearing, not 30 days).
  3. Email your materials to the DNR using the submission button below.

Amendment to an Existing Ordinance

  1. Proposed amendments as a Word document showing all additions and deletions.
  2. Notices of public hearings to consider the ordinance (must be submitted to the DNR at least 10 days before the public hearing, not 30 days).
  3. Email your materials to the DNR using the submission button below.

An amendment to an existing ordinance may require a comprehensive review of the entire ordinance for compliance with state rules. This will only occur in select cases where:

  • the organization differs significantly from when it was last approved by the DNR,
  • a spot check of key provisions reveals deviations from minimum standards with no record of DNR approval, or
  • there is strong citizen concern about non-compliance of the existing ordinance.

In these cases, the DNR will notify the local government immediately and work with them to make any necessary changes to achieve compliance.

Step 4: Hold Public Hearing and Revises Ordinance/Amendment Consistent with DNR Conditions (Required)

The local government holds a public hearing to consider the ordinance or amendment. The DNR comments and conditional approval letter are read and/or entered into the public record. The ordinance or amendment is revised according to DNR conditions of approval before adoption.

Step 5: Adopt Ordinance/Amendment and Request DNR Final Approval of Adopted Ordinance/Amendment (Required)

The local government governing body adopts the ordinance or amendment and submits the final adopted ordinance to the DNR. The DNR will review the ordinance or amendment adopted by the governing authority for consistency with that receiving conditional approval. If they are consistent, the DNR will send a final approval letter to the local government and the ordinance or amendment will be effective.

To request DNR review and final approval of adopted ordinance or amendment, submit the following items within 10-days of adoption.

  1. Adopted ordinance or amendment signed and dated by chief elected official (PDF document).
  2. Summary of changes made to the ordinance or amendments that deviate from conditions of approval, if any.
  3. Completed Ordinance Processing Checklist, and copies of all items required on the checklist, including affidavit of publication.
  4. Email your materials to the DNR using the submission button below.

 

Submit Materials

Email all proposed draft ordinances/amendments, checklists and public hearing notices using the submission button below. Please copy your area hydrologist.

Submit Your Materials

 

Resources

Local Government Requirements for Ordinances

  • Minnesota statutes (103F.335) and Minnesota rules (6105.0230 Subp. 2.A and 6105.0070) requires counties and municipalities with Wild & Scenic River Districts within their boundaries to have a Wild & Scenic River District ordinance in substantial compliance with the statewide Wild & Scenic rules as well as those for the designated river.
  • Minnesota statutes (103F.351 Subd. 4) and Minnesota rules (6105.0540 Subp. 1.A) requires counties and municipalities with Lower St. Croix Riverway Districts within their boundaries to have a Lower St. Croix Riverway District ordinance in substantial compliance with the Lower St. Croix Riverway rules.

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