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Subpart 1.


The commissioner shall classify all public waters in accordance with the following criteria:


size and shape;


amount and type of existing development;


road and service center accessibility;


existing natural characteristics of the waters and shorelands;


state, regional, and local plans and management programs;


existing land use restrictions; and


presence of significant historic sites.

Subp. 1a.


The classes of public waters are natural environment lakes, recreational development lakes, general development lakes, remote river segments, forested river segments, transition river segments, agricultural river segments, urban river segments, and tributary river segments. All of the river classes except tributary consist of watercourses that have been identified as being recreationally significant on a statewide basis. The tributary class consists of all other watercourses identified in the protected waters inventory. General descriptions of each class follow:


Natural environment lakes are generally small, often shallow lakes with limited capacities for assimilating the impacts of development and recreational use. They often have adjacent lands with substantial constraints for development such as high water tables, exposed bedrock, and unsuitable soils. These lakes, particularly in rural areas, usually do not have much existing development or recreational use.


Recreational development lakes are generally medium-sized lakes of varying depths and shapes with a variety of landform, soil, and groundwater situations on the lands around them. They often are characterized by moderate levels of recreational use and existing development. Development consists mainly of seasonal and year-round residences and recreationally-oriented commercial uses. Many of these lakes have capacities for accommodating additional development and use.


General development lakes are generally large, deep lakes or lakes of varying sizes and depths with high levels and mixes of existing development. These lakes often are extensively used for recreation and, except for the very large lakes, are heavily developed around the shore. Second and third tiers of development are fairly common. The larger examples in this class can accommodate additional development and use.


Remote river segments are primarily located in roadless, forested, sparsely-populated areas of the northeastern part of the state. Common land uses include multiple-use forestry, some recreation facilities, and occasional seasonal or year-round residential. Low intensity recreational uses of these river segments and adjacent lands are common. This class has limited potential for additional development and recreational use due to land suitability and road access constraints.


Forested river segments are located in forested, sparsely to moderately populated areas with some roads in the north-central part of the state. Predominant land uses include multiple-use forestry, some recreation facilities, seasonal residential, and, within commuting distances of several cities, some year-round residential. Low-intensity recreational uses of these rivers and adjacent lands are common. This class has substantial potential for additional development and recreational use.


Transition river segments are generally either located within the Minnesota and Mississippi river valleys, or within the middle reaches of several rivers in all regions except the north-central and northeast. Common land uses include forested within riparian strips and mixtures of cultivated, pasture, and forested beyond. Some seasonal and year-round residential development exists, particularly within commuting distance of major cities. The types and intensities of recreational uses within this class vary widely.


Agricultural river segments are located in well-roaded, intensively cultivated areas of the western and southern regions of the state. Cultivated crops are the predominant land use, with some pasture and occasional feedlots, small municipalities, and small forested areas. Residential development is not common, but some year-round residential use is occurring within commuting distances of major cities. Some intensive recreational use occurs on these river segments in particular areas, but overall recreational use of these waters and adjacent lands is low. Although potential exists for additional development and recreation, water quality constraints and competing land uses, particularly agriculture, will inhibit expansions.


Urban river segments are located within or adjacent to major cities throughout the state. A variety of residential and other urban land uses exists within these segments. Recreational uses of these segments and adjacent lands are common, but vary widely in types and intensities. These segments have potential for additional development, for redevelopment, and for additional recreational use, although recreational use on some of these segments competes with commercial river traffic.


Tributary river segments consist of watercourses mapped in the Protected Waters Inventory that have not been assigned one of the river classes in items D to H. These segments have a wide variety of existing land and recreational use characteristics. The segments have considerable potential for additional development and recreational use, particularly those located near roads and cities.

Subp. 2.

Supporting data.

Supporting data for shoreland management classifications is supplied by the records and files of the Department of Natural Resources, including maps, lists, and other products of the Protected Waters Inventory; data and publications of the Shoreland Update Project; the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Statewide Outstanding Rivers Inventory; Bulletin No. 25 (1968); and Supplementary Report No. 1 - Shoreland Management Classification System for Public Waters (1976) of the Division of Waters, Minnesota's Lakeshore, part 2, Statistical Summary, Department of Geography, University of Minnesota; and additional supporting data may be supplied, as needed, by the commissioner. These publications are incorporated by reference, are available through the Minitex interlibrary loan system, and are not subject to frequent change.

Subp. 3.

Classification procedures.

Public waters shall be classified by the commissioner. The commissioner shall document each classification with appropriate supporting data. A preliminary list of classified public waters shall be submitted to each affected local government. Each affected local government shall be given an opportunity to request a change in the proposed classification. If a local government feels such a change is needed, a written request with supporting data may be submitted to the commissioner for consideration. If a local government requests a change in a proposed shoreland management classification and the public water is located partially within the jurisdiction of another governmental unit, the commissioner shall review the recommendations of the other governmental units before making a final decision on the proposed change.

Subp. 4.


The commissioner may, as the need arises, reclassify any public water. Also, any local government may at any time submit a resolution and supporting data requesting a change in any shoreland management classification of waters within its jurisdiction to the commissioner for consideration.

Subp. 5.

Modification and expansion of system.

The commissioner may, as the need arises, modify or expand the shoreland classification system to provide specialized shoreland management standards based upon unique characteristics and capabilities of any public waters.

Statutory Authority:

MS s 105.485


13 SR 3029

Published Electronically:

June 11, 2008

Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes