Minnesota’s watershed districts are a powerful example of watershed-level governance. Organized voluntarily through local petitions, these districts engage in many activities, including flood planning, public education, and project funding. Today, 46 watershed districts cover roughly 30% of the state.
- Because they can levy taxes and issue bonds, these districts can swiftly carry out regional solutions, saving taxpayers millions in rising construction costs.
- Over nearly 50 years, the Red River Watershed Management Board has coordinated and financed more than 60 projects to store water and reduce flooding and has helped leverage $65 million for flood projects in the region.
- By levying taxes, Minnesota’s watershed districts can swiftly construct flood resilience projects; however, watershed districts are limited in the scale of projects that they can complete.
- In states with large low-income regions and communities, the self-financing approach of Minnesota’s watershed districts may be unfeasible, as an additional tax burden may be too cumbersome.