The Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District (PLSLWD) was formed on March 4, 1970 at the request of local residents through a citizen’s petition. The District covers about 42 square miles in Scott County, MN. Water in the PLSLWD primarily flows from the southwest to the northeast through Spring, Upper Prior and Lower Prior Lakes, and then north through the Prior Lake Outlet Channel to the Minnesota River near Valley Fair amusement park.
The highest ground in the watershed is 1,100 feet above sea level and is found along the eastern boundary of the watershed in Section 23 of Spring Lake Township. The lowest ground in the watershed that is tributary to Prior Lake is the shore of Lower Prior Lake. The water level of Prior Lake varies around elevation 902 feet above sea level. Prior Lake was essentially a landlocked basin until an outlet structure and channel were constructed in 1983.
You can view these selections from our six video YouTube mini-series to learn more: 1. Meet the Prior Lake- Spring Lake Watershed District, 2. Citizens Create a Watershed District, 3. The Outlet Structure for Prior Lake and 6. Citizens Make a Difference.
Our Mission Statement:
Our mission is to manage and preserve the water resources of the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District to the best of our ability using input from our communities, sound engineering practices, and our ability to efficiently fund beneficial projects which transcend political jurisdictions.
Who is the PLSLWD?
Board of Managers – The PLSLWD is administered by a five-person Board of Managers appointed by the Scott County Commissioners. All of the District’s policies, goals, and accomplishments are directed by the citizens who serve on the Board. Monthly meetings are open to the public and meeting materials and minutes can be found on the Board Materials & Minutes page of our website.
Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) – The District also receives guidance from citizen representatives on the CAC who provide input and recommendations to the Board of Managers on projects, reports and prioritization. They also act as the primary interface for the Board to address current issues of concern of local citizens. Monthly meetings are open to the public. Meeting materials and minutes can be found on the Citizen Advisory Committee Materials & Minutes page of our website.
Staff – The District employs six permanent staff members. This team handles the day-to-day operation of the District, from reading Prior Lake levels, to reviewing development plans, to managing monitoring data, to answering calls from interested citizens. Board and staff contact information can be found under the Contact tab.
Volunteers – Volunteers play an integral role in the watershed district. Residents can participate in water quality events throughout the year, assist with monitoring, and guide implementation strategies by serving on committees. Visit our Volunteer Opportunities page to learn more!
The Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District is highlighted in the documentary, “What is a Watershed District?”.
What does the PLSLWD do?
The Board of Managers oversees many efforts to conserve, protect and manage water resources within the PLSLWD. The District works closely with local cities, townships, Scott County and state agencies to accomplish its goals. All of the District’s activities are outlined in its comprehensive plan, called the Water Resources Management Plan, available in the District Reports section. Ongoing activities include:
- Water quality monitoring
- Land management (filter strips, wetland restoration)
- Lake water quality improvement efforts (aquatic plant management, water quality education, cost-share projects)
- Permitting and inspection of development and other land-disturbing activities
- Prior Lake outlet operation and maintenance, and long-term planning for Prior Lake water levels (including enhancement of the Prior Lake Outlet Channel)
- Business, homeowner, and youth education
For specific District maps, visit the Maps section, which is located under the “About” drop down in the main menu, or use the interactive map on the Waterbodies page. View these selections from our 6 video YouTube mini-series to learn more: 4. Slow Down the Water! and 5. Keep the Water Clean!.
We do Watersheds: The Movie
MPCA produced a 4-part video series on Minnesota’s watershed approach to restoring and protecting the state’s water quality. Check out the videos here.