Rules & Permits

Carnelian Marine St. Croix Watershed District's Regulatory Program Goals
To ensure reasonable and consistent standards that will protect the region's water resources for generations to come, the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District (CMSCWD) is charged by state law to issue and monitor permits. The CMSCWD regulatory program goals are to protect and improve the quality of water resources within the District, prevent future property losses due to flooding, and efficiently coordinate District permitting with local, county, state, and federal permitting and enforcement efforts. Ultimately, the goal is to balance property owners' use of their property with ensuring the protection and management of water and surrounding resources so that residents and visitors can enjoy local lakes, rivers, and streams.

Why are Permits Required? 
The Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District Requires Permits for Properties within its Boundaries in Order to:

  • Protect the water resources of the CMSCWD for all current and future users
  • Reduce the severity and frequency of flooding  
  • Preserve floodplain and wetland storage capacity
  • Improve the chemical and physical quality of surface water
  • Reduce sediment build-up to preserve the flow of lakes and streams
  • Minimize public expenditures to correct damage in the future
  • Preserve natural shoreline and habitat for aquatic life

When Do I Need a CMSCWD Permit?

Land Disturbance/Grading

  • Any land disturbance of ¼ acre or more, if any part of the disturbed area is within 1,000 feet of and tributary to a groundwater-dependent natural resource or public water.
  • A land disturbance of 5,000 square feet or more that includes creating impervious surface within 1,000 feet of a tributary to a groundwater-dependent natural resource or public water.
  • Any land disturbance of one acre or more.
  • Any disturbance of the natural shoreline or streambank partially or wholly below the ordinary high-water mark of a waterbody.
  • Any alteration of stormwater flows at a property boundary by changing land contours, diverting or obstructing surface or channel flow, or creating a basin outlet.

New Construction or Reconstruction

  • Any redevelopment activity, new or reconstructed, that disturbs more that 50 percent of the existing impervious surface and results in a net increase in impervious surface.

Variances from City or County

  • Any parcel of land that is subject to a variance from the applicable shoreland or St. Croix Riverway ordinance relating to structure setback from the property line adjacent to the resource
  • Any use of the bed of any waterway – including the placement of culverts, driveways, trails, and utilities
  • Alteration or filling of land below the 100-year flood elevation of any waterbody, wetland, or stormwater management basin, or place fill below the 100-year flood elevation of a landlocked basin
  • Any activity that alters the character or hydrology of a wetland including filling excavating, pumping water or the grazing of livestock in a wetland
  • Any activity that requires a District permit under a different rule than erosion control. (Example: stormwater management, lake, stream, wetland buffers, watercourse and basin crossing, or floodplain and drainage alterations)

Application Submission
Complete permit applications are due 28 days prior to the monthly board meeting. Please see the complete Permit Submittal Deadline Guide for more information. A complete application must be submitted in order to be considered.  A pre-application meeting with District staff is encouraged prior to development and submittal of plans. Please see the complete CMSCWD Permit Process Guidance for more information.