The South Washington Watershed District (SWWD) Board meetings are the 2nd Tuesdays of the month at 6:00 pm.  The meetings are held at the City of Woodbury Public Works Conference room-2301 Tower Drive.   The meeting agenda and packet will be posted on SWWD website approximately one week prior to the meeting.


The Cottage Grove Ravine Watershed Management Organization (WMO) was formed in 1984 to manage the resources of the watershed. This WMO was based on a joint powers agreement among the five cities in the watershed. The WMO was later disbanded, and, in 1993, the Cottage Grove Ravine Watershed District was formed as the 42nd watershed district in Minnesota. In 1995, the watershed district changed its name to the South Washington Watershed District (SWWD).

In April, 2003, the SWWD petitioned the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources to enlarge the boundary and include the East Mississippi Water Management Organization. The East Mississippi Water Management Organization included all or portions of Grey Cloud Island Township, Cottage Grove, Woodbury, St. Paul Park and Newport. The enlargement was completed as part of the recommendations from the Washington County Water Governance Study in1999. The enlargement petition was approved on May 28, 2003 by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.

In 2009, Washington County petitioned BWSR to enlarge SWWD’s boundary to include 4 of the 5 subwatersheds of the former Lower St. Croix Watershed Management Organization (LSCWMO), which had dissolved. BWSR approved the petition; however, later in 2009 they contracted SWWD’s boundary by moving 3 of the new subwatersheds to the Valley Branch Watershed District in approving a citizen petition. May 2010, the SWWD petitioned BWSR in response to a mediated agreement, with the support of all affected local municipalities and organizations, to again enlarge the boundary to include the 3 additional subwatersheds from the former LSCWMO, which lie in the Lower St. Croix River Basin. The enlargement petition was approved in September 2010 by BWSR.

The South Washington Watershed District (SWWD) is located entirely in Washington County and contains portions of ten cities and townships: Afton, Cottage Grove, Denmark Township, Grey Cloud Island Township, Hastings, Lake Elmo, Newport, Oakdale, St. Paul Park and Woodbury. The watershed area and the relative portions of the watershed contained in each of the ten cities and townships are presented in Table 1-1.


Source: SWWD Watershed Management Plan, June 2007, Houston Engineering, Inc.


What is a watershed?

A watershed is all the land area that drains to a specific water resource, such as a lake or stream. Watersheds range in size from a few square miles to an entire continent. As rainwater and melting snow run downhill, they carry sediment and other materials into streams, lakes, and groundwater. Watersheds provide water for drinking, irrigation, streams, and activities such as fishing, swimming, and boating. In addition, watersheds also provide food and shelter for wildlife.
What is a watershed district?

Watershed districts are special purpose local units of government with taxing and limited regulatory authority. Water does not follow political boundaries; therefore the boundaries of a district follow the natural boundary of a watershed. A district is responsible for managing the water resources within its watershed.
What does a watershed district do?

(Adapted from: Doug Thomas, BWSR)

• Control or alleviate damage from flood waters
• Regulate the flow of streams and conserve the streams’ water
• Control or alleviate soil erosion and siltation of watercourses or water basins
• Regulate improvements by riparian property owners of the beds, banks, and shores of lakes, streams, and wetlands for preservation and beneficial public use
• Protect or enhance the water quality in watercourses or water basins; and
• Provide for the protection of groundwater and regulate its use to preserve it for beneficial purposes

How are watershed districts governed?

• Appointed board of managers (3-9)
• Not a public officer, except SWCD supervisor
• Voting resident of the District
• Serve a 3 year term, no term limits, unless restricted by the county

Annual Workplan and Budget 

The District Board annually prioritizes work activities from the long range work plan constituting targeted efforts for the coming year. These work activities translate into the annual work plan and budget for the SWWD. The annual work plan allows the District Board to establish a short term operating budget while maintaining connection to the overall long term management goals of the District. Six Management areas have been defined through which the SWWD will work to execute the annual work plan.  The areas are:  (1) Planning, (2) Regulatory, (3) Implementation & Maintenance, (4) Education & information, (5) Operational, and (6) Debt Service Fund.  According to Minnesota Statute 103D.911 the SWWD must hold a hearing and adopt a preliminary budget on or before September 15th of each year.  The Final budget certification is due to Washington County by December 31st of each year.

Management Area 2017 Budget

(1) Planning $359,917.50
(2) Regulatory $103,412.50
(3) Implemenation & Maintenance $2,258,374.00
(4) Education & Information $76,575.00
(5) Operational $358,961.11
(6) Debt Service $803,500.00
Total $3,960,740.11

CAC Committee

The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) consists of local citizens representing a variety of interests. Several CAC participants are also members of the various planning commission and environmental management committees of cities and townships within the South Washington Watershed District (SWWD). The goal is to create a connection with dedicated, concerned citizens as well as planning commission members in the watershed to further the relationship between land use and water resources.

If you are interested in applying for the CAC Committee, please submit an application to the SWWD offices.

CAC Application [PDF]

CAC Guidelines [PDF]