Lakes & Rivers

Shorelines & Wetlands

Crow Wing County has over 400 lakes and 75 rivers with over 2,000 miles of shoreline. These areas are an important buffer to the lake / stream ecosystem and if disturbed can impact water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Shoreland areas are defined and regulated differently by various entities. In general, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has jurisdiction for any activities below the ordinary high water level (OHWL). Wetter areas above the OHWL are wetlands and are regulated by the Wetland Conservation Act.

Lake Water Quality and Watershed Information Map - A map showing the lake water quality trend for the larger lakes in Crow Wing County. Users can click on the lake to pull up additional information, including links to water quality reports and factsheets as well as the lake association website.

Brochure cover for small lake management showing a lake from ground level with shoreline and trees in background Opens in new window

(Select the image to download)

Shoreland District

In Crow Wing County the shoreland zone is defined as 1,000 feet from a lake and 300 feet from a stream. It is divided into the shoreland protection zone and shoreland buffer zone. These areas can be viewed in the Shoreland District (PDF). A permit is required for most dirt moving and vegetation alteration in shoreland zones, especially inside the building setback. Please refer to Crow Wing County's shoreland alteration factsheet (PDF).

Conservation Easements

Conservation easements are an interest in real property that places certain restrictions on the use of the property for conservation purposes. These easements are also an agreement between the landowner and the easement holder.

The goal, from MN State statute 84C.01 is "retaining or protecting natural, scenic, or open-space values of real property, assuring its availability for agricultural, forest, recreation, or open-space use, protecting natural resources, maintaining or enhancing air quality, or preserving the historical, architectural, archaeological, or cultural aspects of real property."

Conservation Easement in Minnesota can be acquired and held by (1) governmental entities othewise authorized to hold real property and 2 charitable organizations whose purpose meets the statutory definition of conservation easement.

Conservation easements provide flexibility to accommodate a landowner's interest in protecting the land while still retaining ownership.

Parcels over 5 acres with 400+ feet of lake frontage are eligible for a grant to pay for the closing costs associated with the easement. Please see the factsheet (PDF) or visit our grants page for more information.


Additional Information