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Action Alert-Mississippi River Corridor!

posted Dec 11, 2013, 10:59 AM by Jon Anderson

Protect the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area!

Please take a few moments to send Governor Mark Dayton and DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr a personal message regarding the Critical Area rulemaking process?

The DNR is under pressure from several corridor cities to weaken the state's proposed rules, and there is a very small window of time right now to ensure that the river's resources get the protection they deserve.

Please forward this email to those you trust and who you know who support a strong Critical Area rulemaking process and who want to protect the Mississippi River's unique natural, scenic and cultural assets now and in the future. Please use your own words to maximize the impact. Explain how you use the river and why its protection is important to you.


Please send an email or call to both Governor Dayton and DNR Commissioner Landwehr, and let them know that the Critical Area rulemaking process must be strong and protect the Mississippi River's unique natural, scenic and cultural assets now and long into the future. For maximum impact, please write in your own words and personalize your message as much as possible.

Governor Mark Dayton

Commissioner Tom Landwehr


  • The Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRCCA) is a resource of regional, statewide, national and even international significance that requires special management to retain its health and vitality. As the headwaters state, the Mississippi River is one of our claims to fame.
  • The Mississippi River is a drinking water source for more than 20 million Americans. Unfortunately, every mile of the river in the MRCCA fails to meet State standards for water quality. New standards are needed to reduce runoff pollution to the river.
  • With 30 local units of government with land-use authority along the river, some over-arching guidelines are necessary to avoid a death by a thousand cuts - the steady degradation of the very qualities that make the Mississippi such a treasure.
  • Cities will continue to have local control over development decisions in the corridor through their existing variance authority, but it is the state's responsibility to set strong standards and guidelines to protect this resource of statewide significance.
  • The Critical Area is also the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA), a national park. This is the only National Park on the entire length of the river that is river focused. In 1991, the State of Minnesota promised to revise the Critical Area standards in order to protect the newly designated National Park. It's high time to deliver on that promise!

Please be sure to include a sentence or two about why you care about the Mississippi River. Are you a birder? An angler? Do you walk/bike/run along the river?


Designated as a State Critical Area in 1976 and as a National Park in 1988, the 72-mile corridor of the Mississippi River from Dayton to Hastings has waited decades for a set of consistent, science-based rules that will ensure protection of the unique scenic, natural and cultural resources of the corridor for generations to come.

As you have probably heard, the rulemaking process for the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRCCA) was restarted this year.   This year lawmakers extended the MN Department of Natural Resources' authority to complete the MRCCA rules and provided a $100,000 appropriation to the DNR to conduct the work that remains to get them adopted into law.

Early next year, a revised version of the rules drafted in 2010 will be released, and the official public process for reviewing proposed rules will begin.

In the interim, however, DNR has been gathering input from local cities in preparation for the new draft, and there is concern that the rules could be substantially weakened as a result.

Local cities are a key partner in implementing the state's river protection rules and policies, but it would be a grave mistake to let them pick and choose which standards are needed to protect the key public values of a nationally significant resource that belongs to all Minnesotans.

Thank you so much for your help - please feel free to contact us if you have questions.