I, JESSE VENTURA, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and applicable statutes, do hereby issue this Executive Order:

WHEREAS, Minnesota has numerous agencies and programs affecting water resources making the system difficult for citizens to understand or to effectively participate in decision-making; and

WHEREAS, the sustainability of Minnesota`s water resources is of primary importance and directly affects Minnesota’s economic, environmental and community health; and 

WHEREAS, management should reflect the diversity of water resources and the differing climatic conditions throughout the state; and 

WHEREAS, many federal, state and local efforts are focused on river basins for water management purposes; and

WHEREAS, local government has a central role in water management and has instituted joint powers boards in parts or all of the Minnesota, Red and Mississippi River Basins; and

WHEREAS, the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) comprises major agencies affecting water resources and is charged with coordinating water resource management and preparing a ten-year water resources plan for Minnesota under M.S. 103A.204, 103A.43 and 103B.151; and

WHEREAS, Minnesota does not have specific goals, objectives and measurable outcomes that deal comprehensively with water resources and enable Minnesotans to evaluate regulations and programs and judge their success; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I hereby order state departments and agencies and encourage federal agencies and local government to take the following steps to unify water management in Minnesota.

1. The Environmental Quality Board shall oversee the Water Unification Initiative and guide specific activities and work through EQB Water Resources Committee.

2. Board agencies shall give priority to assisting the Board in implementing the Initiative.

3. The Board will implement the Work Plan endorsed May 20, 1999 that outlines its efforts until 2002 to carry out the Water Unification Initiative. The work plan specifies a timeframe and process to address the following components:

  • From the date of this Order until fall 2000, the Board will develop a statewide framework consisting of water-related goals, objectives and measurable outcomes for the year 2010 that will be adapted to each major river basin. The goals, and objectives and outcomes will serve as the basis for Minnesota Water Plan 2000. In addition, basin specific goals, objectives and outcomes may also be developed, under Board oversight, that would be tailored to each major river basin; these basin specific items would be created as individual basin activities occur.
  • The Board will designate interagency teams for each major river basin. Basin teams shall assist the Board in unifying state water planning and management efforts, and in developing a statewide framework of ten-year goals, objectives and measurable outcomes and adapting them to all Minnesota`s major river basins by September 2000. Basin teams will assist with obtaining public involvement and building partnerships with local groups. For planning purposes, basins may be combined or divided. Where appropriate, the Board shall create additional teams, such as for lakes or ground water, in certain basins or in groups of basins. 
  • From October 2000 until September 2002, the Board will lead efforts to work toward the goals and objectives and to measure the outcomes set forth in Minnesota Water Plan 2000. Teams shall assist the Board in directing state efforts to carry out the Plan. The work plan shall be modified, as appropriate, to outline cooperative strategies and ensure that the measurements for the identified goals and objectives are initiated.

4. The Board and the Teams shall invite the public, federal and local governments and other interests to shape the framework of ten-year goals, objectives and measurable outcomes, and help adapt this framework to individual basins. Federal agencies and local units shall be encouraged to use the objectives and outcomes in their plans.

5. The Minnesota Water Plan 2000 and water priority reports due to the legislature in September of each even-numbered year shall be used to determine water priorities, policies and the budgets of the Ventura administration.

This order shall be reviewed by the Governor, in consultation with the affected agency or agencies, every two years in order to assess its reasonableness and need.

Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 1998, section 4.035, subd. 2, this Order shall be effective fifteen (15) days after publication in the State Register and filing with the Secretary of State and shall remain in effect until rescinded by proper authority or it expires in accordance with Minnesota Statutes 1998, section 4.035, subd. 3.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have set my hand this eighteenth day of June, 1999.

Governor Ventura's initiation of the water unification project
Minnesota Environmental Quality Board. Water program
Publication Date: 
November 1, 2005
Document type(s):