1st Edition

Water Policy in Minnesota Issues, Incentives, and Action

Edited By K. William Easter, Jim Perry Copyright 2011

    Minnesota has a unique role in U.S. water policy. Hydrologically, it is a state with more than 12,000 lakes, an inland sea, and the headwaters of three major river systems: the St Lawrence, the Red River of the North, and the Mississippi. Institutionally, Minnesota is also unique. All U.S. states use Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) approaches to addressing impaired waters. Every TMDL requires a substantial investment of resources, including data collection, modeling, stakeholder input and analysis, a watershed management plan, as well as process and impact monitoring. Minnesota is the only state in the union that has passed legislation (the 2007 Clean Water Legacy Act) providing significant resources to support the TMDL process. The book will be an excellent guide for policymakers and decision makers who are interested in learning about alternative approaches to water management. Non-governmental organizations interested in stimulating effective water quality policy will also find this a helpful resource. Finally, there are similarities between the lessons learned in Minnesota and the goals of water policy in several other states and nations, where there are competing uses of water for households, agriculture, recreation, and navigation.

    Foreword I. Introduction 1. Time for Action II. Overview of Minnesota's Waters and Laws 2. Interstate and International Water Management 3. Minnesota's Landscape Characteristics: The Implication for Water 4. Implementing the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and Minnesota's Clean Water Legacy Act 5. Minnesota Water Law: A Unique Hybrid III. Managing the Waters as Biophysical Resources 6. Local Scale Institutions: Lake Management Associations and Watershed Districts 7. Policy Decisions and the Changing Face of Wetlands 8. Groundwater Policy at State and Local Levels: The Science-Policy Linkage IV. Managing Competing Water Uses 9. Urbanization and Water Resources: Policy Implementation in an Era of Austerity 10. Navigation, Dredging, and Protection: The Checkered History of Channel Maintenance 11. Water-Quality: Trading and the Effects of Agricultural and Energy Policy V. Emerging Issues 12. The Impact of Climate Change on Distribution and Use of Water 13. Management of Invasive Aquatic Species 14. Flooding and Flood Management 15. Policy Complexity and Competing Uses in a 'Water Rich' State VI. Moving Toward a Progressive Future 16. Finding a Path to Water Sustainability 17. Lessons and Opportunities for Engagement by Present and Future Policy-Makers


    K. William Easter has worked on the economics of a wide range of water resource problems internationally and domestically over the past 50 years. He is currently professor of applied economics at the University of Minnesota. Jim Perry has been an active water resource professional for more than 40 years and is currently professor and head of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota.