103C.331 POWERS OF DISTRICT BOARDS.
Subdivision 1. General authority.
A soil and water conservation district is a governmental
and political subdivision of this state, and a public body, corporate and politic, and has the
following powers in addition to any others prescribed by law.
Subd. 2. Advisory assistance.
The supervisors may invite the legislative body of a
municipality or county in the district to designate a representative to advise and consult with the
supervisors of the district on questions of program and policy that may affect the property, water
supply, or other interests of the municipality or county.
Subd. 3. Surveys, investigations, and research.
A district may conduct surveys,
investigations, and research to identify the problems and preventive practices specified in section
. To avoid duplication of research activities, no district shall initiate any research
program except in cooperation with a state agency or an agency of the United States.
Subd. 4. Publication of information.
A district may publish its comprehensive plan and
the results of its surveys, investigations, and research and may disseminate information to the
public concerning any of its activities.
Subd. 5. Demonstration projects.
A district may conduct demonstration projects within
the district on lands owned or administered by a state agency, with the cooperation of the
administering agency, and on other lands with the consent of the land occupier, to demonstrate
practices which implement the state policy specified in section
Subd. 6. Implementation of practices.
A district may implement any necessary practices
within the district, including structural measures and works of improvement for any purpose
specified in section
, methods of cultivation, the use of vegetation, and changes in
use of land, on:
(1) lands acquired by the district;
(2) lands owned or administered by a state agency, with the cooperation of the administering
(3) other lands, with the consent of the land occupier.
Subd. 7. Implementation of soil and water conservation policy.
A district may cooperate
or enter into agreements with and furnish financial or other aid to a land occupier or appropriate
agency, to implement the policy specified in section
, within the district, subject to
conditions the district board determines is necessary.
Subd. 8. Acquisition and maintenance of property.
A district may acquire any rights or
interests in real or personal property by option, purchase, exchange, lease, gift, grant, bequest,
devise, or otherwise. It may maintain, operate, administer, and improve any properties acquired. It
may receive income from the properties and expend the income to implement this chapter and
. It may sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of any of its property or
Subd. 9. Use of machinery and supplies.
A district may make available, on terms it shall
prescribe, to land occupiers within the district, agricultural and engineering machinery and
equipment, fertilizer, seeds, and seedlings, and other material or equipment which will assist land
occupiers to implement practices on their land specified in section
Subd. 10. Construction of improvements.
A district may construct, install, improve,
maintain, and operate structures and works necessary or convenient to perform an operation
authorized under this chapter and sections
Subd. 11. Comprehensive plan.
(a) A district may develop and revise a comprehensive plan,
specifying practices to implement the state policy specified in section
(1) the construction, maintenance, and operation of structural measures;
(2) methods of cultivation;
(3) the use of vegetation;
(4) cropping programs;
(5) mechanical practices;
(6) changes in use of land;
(7) water quality improvement practices;
(8) other land use, soil erosion reduction, and agricultural practices; and
(9) related technical standards and specifications.
(b) The plan shall include a classification of the soil types within the district as determined
by the Minnesota Cooperative Soil Survey.
(c) The plan must identify the areas within the district where erosion, sedimentation, and
related water quality problems appear most in need of control methods.
(d) The plan shall be consistent with the statewide framework water resources plan, the
statewide water quality management plan, and the state board's soil and water program plan.
(e) Each district that applies for cost-sharing funds under section
shall submit to
the state board an annual work plan for the high priority erosion, sedimentation, and water quality
problems in the district. The work plan shall be prepared as required by the rules of the state
board. In preparing the annual work plan, the district shall actively identify and seek out land
occupiers with high priority erosion problems who have not participated in cost-sharing contracts
and encourage their participation in programs to control their erosion problems.
Subd. 12. Assumption of conservation projects.
(a) A district may take over by
purchase, lease, or otherwise, and may improve, maintain, operate, and administer a soil or
water conservation, erosion-control, erosion-prevention, water quality improvement, watershed
protection, flood prevention, or flood control project in its boundaries undertaken by the United
States or by a state agency.
(b) A district may accept donations, gifts, grants, or contributions in money, services,
materials, or otherwise from the United States, a state agency, or other source to accomplish
the authorization in this section. A board may enter into a contract or agreement necessary or
appropriate to accomplish the transfer. A board may use or expend money, services, materials, or
other things to accomplish an authorized purpose.
Subd. 13. Authority for suit and contracts.
A district may sue and be sued in its name,
have perpetual succession unless terminated as provided in section
, make and execute
contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers, and make,
amend, or repeal rules and regulations consistent with this chapter and sections
Subd. 14. Compensation for work or projects.
As a condition for extending benefits for the
performance of work upon lands not owned or administered by a state agency or the district, the
supervisors may require compensation or contributions in money, services, materials, or otherwise,
commensurate with the cost or reasonable value of the operations or work conferring the benefits.
Subd. 15. Agreements for federal assistance.
(a) A district may submit an application
and enter into an agreement or contract with the secretary of agriculture or other designated
authority to obtain or use federal assistance under any law providing for federal assistance for an
authorized purpose of the district.
(b) A district may:
(1) acquire without cost to the federal government any land, easements, or rights-of-way
needed in connection with works of improvement installed with federal assistance;
(2) assume the proportionate share of the cost of installing works of improvement involving
federal assistance determined by the secretary or other designated authority to be equitable in
consideration of anticipated benefits from the improvements;
(3) make arrangements satisfactory to the secretary or other authority to defray costs of
operating and maintaining works of improvement in accordance with prescribed regulations;
(4) acquire or provide assurance that land occupiers have acquired the water rights and other
rights, pursuant to state law, needed to install, maintain, and operate the works of improvement;
(5) obtain agreements to carry out recommended soil and water conservation measures
and prepare farm plans for owners of not less than 50 percent or other required percentage of
the lands situated in a drainage area above a retention reservoir installed with federal assistance,
as prescribed by applicable federal law, and may do any other acts necessary to secure and use
Subd. 16. Budget.
The district board shall annually present a budget consisting of an
itemized statement of district expenses for the ensuing calendar year to the boards of county
commissioners of the counties in which the district is located. The county boards may levy an
annual tax on all taxable real property in the district for the amount that the boards determine
is necessary to meet the requirements of the district. The amount levied shall be collected and
distributed to the district as prescribed by chapter 276. The amount may be spent by the district
board for a district purpose authorized by law.
Subd. 17. Funds for state and national associations.
A district may appropriate funds to
provide membership in state and national associations that have as their purpose the betterment
and improvement of soil and water conservation district operations. A district may participate
through designated representatives in the meetings and activities of the associations. A district
may appropriate funds to defray the actual and necessary expenses of its representatives in
connection with the associations' membership. The expenses may be paid only upon the
presentation of a verified itemized claim.
Subd. 18. Liability insurance.
A district may procure liability insurance as provided in
, automobile insurance on personal cars while used on official business, insurance
on the contents of district offices, and workers' compensation insurance, or may require the
counties in which the district is located to include the district in the counties' insurance coverage
for these purposes.
Subd. 19. Administration of official controls.
A district may accept delegation from the
state, a county, or a city of authority to administer soil and water conservation-related official
controls, as defined in section
103B.305, subdivision 7
, of the county or city. Prior to the
delegation, the district and the state, county, or city agreement must include provisions that:
(1) provide for the source of funding for administering the official controls;
(2) the district will provide notice and hearing in the same instances that the county or
city would; and
(3) identify who will provide legal advice and support for administration and enforcement.
Subd. 20. Coordination and cooperation.
In implementing its authorities, a district shall
cooperate as far as possible with federal, state, and local agencies and with private organizations
in order to avoid duplication and to enhance implementation of public and private conservation
initiatives within its jurisdiction.
History: 1990 c 391 art 3 s 19; 1992 c 450 s 1; 2003 c 104 s 25-28