The Elk River Watershed Association (ERWA) was formed in 1994 as a result of the Local Water Planning efforts in Sherburne and Benton Counties. Concerned citizens identified the water quality of the Elk River and lakes in the Elk River Watershed as priorities for improvement. The two counties determined that the watershed approach would be the most effective way to improve water quality. A Joint Powers Board was formed by Sherburne and Benton Counties for the purpose of coordinating efforts within the Elk River Watershed. The Board of Directors consists of one county commissioner, one Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) supervisor and two members-at-large from each county.
The ERWA is focused on improving water quality by working with agricultural, urban and residential landowners. The efforts of the ERWA have resulted in many conservation practices that reduce pollutants to lakes and streams. The ERWA also funds water quality monitoring and water quality education programs. All projects are funded through grants and donations.
A number of grants the ERWA have received have been made possible through the Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment. Please click here for more information on how the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) receives appropriations from this amendment to pay for on-the-ground conservation projects that provide multiple benefits for water quality and wildlife habitat.