Stormwater Management Resources

Note: links open in a new window.

The Watershed Game is an interactive, education toll that helps individuals understand the connection between land use and water quality. Participants learn how a variety of land uses impact water and natural resources, increase their knowledge of best management practices (BMPs), and learn how their choices can prevent adverse impacts.  Participants apply the tools of plans, practices, and policies that help them achieve clean water goals for protection and restoration while providing for community growth. 

Learn more about the game here.

The State of Minnesota Stormwater Manual is a comprehensive stormwater-management tool that addresses the adverse impacts of stormwater runoff facing Minnesota water professionals. The manual guides professionals and newcomers alike through the process of designing sites that control stormwater, shows how to choose the best BMPs for a site, demonstrates the impact of cold climates on runoff management--and much more. The manual can be used in conjunction with the MPCA's Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS) Community Assisance Package (5.4 MB pdf).

Download the manual at the MPCA website.

Minnesota Erosion Control Association

Minnesota Erosion Control Association

Created in 1988, MECA is an organization comprised of contractors, suppliers, engineers and government agencies whose goal is to promote effective erosion control and storm water management.

They conduct regional workshops and seminars and hold an annual erosion conference.

U of MN Extension "Stormwater U"

The main goal of the U of MN Extension Stormwater Education Program is to promote environmentally sound Water Resources Management & Policy best practices among stormwater professionals: contractors, developers, engineers, and field staff through locally tailored workshops.

Stormwater Management Practice Assessment Project

The U. of Minnesota is developing a protocol to outline and explain proper methodology for assessing stormwater best management practices (BMPs). They're looking for more accurate, cheaper and faster tools.


US EPA Coastlines:

Low Impact Development Practices Using Nature to Manage Stormwater (835 KB pdf)

EPA's Office of Water has just released a new version of EnviroMapper for Water. It provides a web-based mapping connection to a wealth of water data. It can be used to view and map data such as the uses assigned to local waters (fishing, swimming, etc), a list of impaired waters, the reasons why waters are impaired, water quality monitoring information, closures of swimming beaches, and the location of discharges. Maps can be viewed at the national, regional, state or local levels. This latest release of EnviroMapper for Water (Version 3.0) features several new layers of water data including EPA's national water quality database STORET, National Estuary Program study areas, and the location of non-point source projects. Other enhancements make it easier to locate and view these data, and instructions are included describing how to incorporate the resulting map into your own web page.
Watershed Central

New - 20092009 EPA posted a Web site called "Watershed Central" to help watershed organizations and others find key information they need to implement watershed approaches.

Watershed Central helps users find environmental data, watershed models, nearby local organizations, and guidance documents -- and other information depending on the task at hand. Watershed Central also contains links to watershed technical resources and funding, mapping applications to help find information specific to named watersheds, and includes a "Watershed Wiki" that users may use to collaborate. Watershed practitioners are encouraged to use this new Watershed Wiki to share tools, scientific findings, expertise, and local approaches to watershed management.

EPA's site is located at:

Watershed News is a publication of EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. It is designed to provide timely information to groups working at the watershed level. provides resources for stormwater educators and seasonal clean water tips for residents, focusing on the Twin Cities Metro Area.

With a grant from the MPCA, they have created an educational toolkit, the MS4 Toolkit for MS4 communities.

This toolkit was designed to help educate citizens, businesses, municipal staff and elected officials in your community about non-point source water pollution.

American RiversCatching the Rain: a Great Lakes Resource Guide for Natural Stormwater Management is a report by American Rivers that offers an easy reference to a variety of natural stormwater management approaches suitable for the Great Lakes region. It is not meant to be a technical design tool, but rather a foundation for education and research on alternative stormwater management techniques, particularly for public works staff, developers, and citizens. This handbook provides basic information on use, space requirements, cold weather considerations, and costs. Additionally, it lists a variety of sources that can provide further information on technical requirements design, supporting ordinances, and other information. Download here (1.5 MB pdf).

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality: Catalog of Stormwater BMP's

Watershed Stewardship Action Kit
The Izaak Walton League has issued its revised and updated Watershed Stewardship Action Kit for clean water advocates and activists. The toolkit is a central element to the League's longstanding Save Our Streams program, which has pioneered stream and wetland education for citizens since 1969. SOS has educated and motivated citizens to clean-up stream corridors, monitor stream health, restore degraded stream banks and protect dwindling wetland acreage. The toolkit includes a number of fact sheets on wetlands, the Clean Water Act, and watershed action plans. It also provides background on how to develop, fund, conduct, and get publicity for watershed protection projects in local communities. It includes a list of relevant publications from the Environmental Protection Agency with directions on they can be acquired. For more information, visit Izaak Walton League.
The "Stormwater Compliance Assistance Toolkit for Small Construction Operators" (601 KB pdf) is intended as a resource to help small construction operators comply with the MPCA Construction Stormwater General Permit.

A "Construction Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) Template" is available in Word and PDF formats from the MPCA.

The "Construction Stormwater Compliance Calendar" (1.8 MB pdf file) is designed to help property owners and contractors with record keeping requirements found in the Minnesota Construction Stormwater NPDES/SDS Permit.

The "Stormwater Construction Inspection Guide" (6.0 MB pdf file) is designed to assist construction site inspectors, such as staff representing various local units of government, in the procedures for conducting a compliance inspection at construction sites.

The "Stormwater Construction Inspector's Field Guide" (4.2 MB pdf file) is a pocket sized companion to the Inspection Guide.

MPCA's inspection checklist is also online and available in Word and PDF formats for both permittees and inspectors.

The book, "Plants for Stormwater Design: Species Selection for the Upper Midwest", describes 131 plant species regarding their use in stormwater-management practices. Available online at the MPCA website.

California example of a sustainable development toolkit. It has a somewhat different focus than the LakeSuperiorStreams toolkit -- the sample construction documents are a really nice supplement.

Better Site Design:
A Handbook for Changing Development Rules in Your Community

From the website:

"Covering everything from basic engineering principles to actual vs. perceived barriers to implementing better site designs, the handbook outlines 22 guidelines for better developments and provides detailed rationale for each principle. Better Site Design also examines current practices in local communities, details the economic and environmental benefits of better site designs, and presents case studies from across the country. Includes a sample Codes & Ordinances Worksheet. Published August 1998."

Now available as a free download. To order, or download, visit the Center for Watershed Protection.

LGEAN Launches Online Land Use Decisionmaking Tool

In partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region 5) and Purdue University, the Local Government Environmental Assistance Network (LGEAN) recently launched an online tool to help local government planners measure the water quality impacts of land use changes. Specifically, local governments provide information about their location, the proposed land use change, and the area's soil type. Based on community-specific climate data, the Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment (L-THIA) model estimates changes in recharge, runoff, and nonpoint source pollution resulting from proposed development.

As a quick and easy-to-use approach, L-THIA's results can be used to generate community awareness of potential long-term problems and to support planning aimed at minimizing disturbance of critical areas. L-THIA is also an ideal tool to identify the best location of a particular land use so as to have minimum impact on a community's natural environment.

L-THIA is available for free on the LGEAN Web site, and users only need an Internet browser to use the tool. A downloadable GIS extension is also available for local government officials with ArcView software. To use L-THIA, visit LGEAN's Tools and Resources page and select the "Land Use Impacts on Water Quality Model."

Stormwater Authority:

LID Low Impact Development (LID) Center
A non-profit organization balancing growth and environmental integrity.

"This site has been developed through a Cooperative Assistance Agreement under the US EPA Office of Water 104b(3) Program in order to provide guidance to local governments, planners, and engineers for developing, administering, and incorporating Low Impact Development (LID) into their aquatic resource protection programs."

Conservation Subdivision Design: A Market-Friendly Approach to Local Environmental Protection: Commentary

MN Land TrustMinnesota Land Trust

Tools ~ Conservation Planning and Development


Conservation Design Portfolio: Preserving Minnesota Landscapes Through Creative Development (858 KB pdf) - an introductory instructional pamphlet, created in response to growing concerns over impacts from land development on Minnesota's natural and cultural resources.

Northeast Illinois Planning Commission:
Changing Cost Perceptions: An Analysis of Conservation Development

The Milwaukee River Basin Partnership
Good Milwaukee watershed protection 'toolkit' site

Shoreland BMPsProtecting Our Waters: Shoreland Best Management Practices - 1998
Developed by University of Minnesota Extension Service to reduce an individuals impact on the environment. This series of fact sheets contains information on BMPs to protect water quality. Each fact sheet includes a list of contacts, A BMP checklist, FAQ and links to other fact sheet of the series.

Up north and personal: sprawl in Northern Minnesota (Minnesota Environment, November 2000) a newsletter produced by the MPCA. Presents the case for consideration and balance between development for economic well being and quality of life issues. Also some interesting statistics on costs for services per house and use per person.