DNR designates Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area

October 20, 2016

The Department of Natural Resources this week designated the state’s second groundwater management area. Designation of the central Minnesota Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area allows a more comprehensive and focused approach to ensuring that groundwater supplies will be adequate to meet human needs while protecting lakes, streams and wetlands. 

The DNR also approved a management plan for the area, designed to ensure adequate supplies of groundwater. The designated area includes parts of Stearns, Pope, and Kandiyohi counties along with smaller parts of Douglas, Meeker, Swift and Todd counties.

The Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area Plan lays out five broad objectives and describes specific actions the DNR will take. The plan was developed over two years by DNR staff and an advisory team of nearly two dozen representatives of local government, industry, and other agencies.

“Here in the land of 10,000 lakes and hundreds of streams and rivers, it’s easy to take water for granted,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “But in some parts of Minnesota, such as the Bonanza Valley, growing demands on groundwater could place our aquifers and other resources at risk if we’re not careful. This plan explains how the DNR will work to make sure our use of groundwater remains sustainable.”

The plan provides a framework within which the DNR will work with major water users, including municipalities and farmers. This cooperative effort will promote conservation, protect surface waters and water quality, improve the groundwater appropriations permitting process, and resolve any conflicts that might arise among users.

The Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area is one of three groundwater management areas under development around Minnesota. The North and East Twin Cities Metropolitan Area was designated in November 2015 and the Straight River near Park Rapids in north-central Minnesota is yet to be designated.

More information, including plans and maps for the Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area, can be found on the project webpage.