Water Resources

Saint Paul's location on the Mississippi River has had a profound influence on the city and its patterns of development, beginning with the first settlement and extending in to the 21st Century. It is important to respect our city's valuable river, lakes, and wetlands including the Mississippi River and understand how the water resources play a critical role in making Saint Paul the most livable city in America.

What is Saint Paul Doing?

  • Staffing a Water Resources Coordinator position since January 2008 to guide implementation of the city's water resources management programs.
  • Coordinating the Water Resource Working Group, and inter-departmental team to collaborate and provide guidance on city's water resource management programs.
  • Enacting a new water quality ordinance (Chapter 1) to prevent pollution and reduce surface water impacts from improper behaviors.
  • Piloting permeable pavement in a residential alley in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood.
  • Establishing green infrastructure and Transit-Oriented Development along Green Line through a multi-agency partnership to evaluate opportunities and establish a comprehensive framework.
  • Emphasizing green infrastructure as a key focus of the West Side Flats Master Plan update.
  • Incorporating boulevard rain gardens into Residential Street Vitalization Program projects.
  • Supporting the city’s tree canopy goals by incorporating forestry into stormwater management designs.
  • Implementing a salt management plan and enhancing fleet equipment to reduce chloride use while maintaining traffic safety and mobility.

City of Saint Paul Water Resource Work Group

The city's Water Resource Work Group was established by Council Resolution 08-1400. The work group consists of inter-departmental staff representing key departments that have water resource considerations. Representatives are from the Mayor’s Office, Parks & Recreation Department, Planning & Economic Development, Public Works, Regional Water Services, and Safety & Inspection Department. The primary functions of the work group are:

  • To establish an internal training and communication framework for water resource protection;
  • To coordinate revisions to the city’s Storm Water Permit (NPDES MS4 Stormwater Management Program) and amendments to city ordinances; and
  • To develop a strategy to successfully compete for State’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment dollars establishing water resource policy, water resource/stormwater project review and authorization, and other approvals on water resource initiatives that are handled through normal city channels.

The work group holds staff meetings on a regular basis. Currently meetings are held the first Tuesday of the month. During the meetings staff discuss various issues, topics and opportunities related to the group’s function. The staff comprising the group are able to provide departmental perspectives, operational considerations, and insight on current or desired activities. The group also hosts external water resource agency local partners in the discussions. The group strives to foster communication, improve awareness and support the city’s water resource management efforts.

What Can I Do?

Watch the video below from Capitol Region Watershed District to learn more about how water moves through the city. 

Additional Resources

Questions? Contact Wes Saunders-Pierce, Water Resource Coordinator, at 651-266-9112 or wes.saunders-pearce@ci.stpaul.mn.us