Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRCCA)
The Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRCCA) is along the Mississippi River extending through the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area from Dayton to Hastings. The MRCCA was designated a "Critical Area" in 1976 by Executive Order following passage of the Minnesota Critical Areas Act of 1973. The Executive Order was the governing regulation until it was superseded by MRCCA rules in 2017 (Minnesota Rules Chapter 6106). The rules more consistently protect habitat, scenic views, and water quality, and allow development to address contemporary needs.
Local MRCCA zoning regulations are administered as an overlay district to guide building and construction, vegetation management and removal, and land alteration. The rules do not regulate water surface use. The City's ordinance amendment process was recently completed with the adoption of the MRCCA Ordinance.
If you want to perform work on your property and your property falls within the Mississippi River Critical Corridor area, you may need to apply for an administrative review to gain an MRCCA permit. Use this map to find out if your property is within the MRCCA boundary and see the FAQ section below to determine if the work you want to perform needs a permit. If you need to apply for a permit, the application forms are below.
- How do I know if my property is within an MRCCA district?
You can use the DNR's district and boundary map to enter your address to find out if you are within an MRCCA district.
- When do I need to apply for a permit?
The following require an administrative review permit within an MRCCA boundary:
- Construction of buildings, structures, building additions, decks, or alterations as defined by this section within the primary conservation areas.
- Construction or replacement of rock riprap, retaining walls, and other erosion control structures within the bluff impact zone and water quality impact zone.
- Land alterations that involve more than ten cubic yards of material or affects an area greater than 1,000 square feet within the water quality impact zone.
- Installation and/or alteration of sewage treatment systems within the MRCCA boundary.
- Vegetation removal and vegetation restoration within the primary conservation areas.
- Interim or temporary uses within the primary conservation areas.
- Ramps and private water access and viewing facilities within the primary conservation areas.
- Stormwater management facilities in the bluff impact zone and water quality impact zone.
- Water-oriented accessory structures.
The following require a conditional use permit within an MRCCA boundary:
- In the river towns and cities district, structures over 48 feet.
- Wireless communication towers.
- Nonmetallic mining.
- Land alterations in excess of 150 cubic yards.
- What do I need to submit when applying for a permit?
When applying for an MRCCA permit, you need to provide the following:
1. A complete MRCCA application form,
2. A complete supplemental application (if your project involves intensive vegetation clearing or land alterations),
3. The required fee,
4. A detailed project description, and
5. An aerial photo and/or scaled site plan showing the location and label of the proposed project area.
- What is a primary conservation area (PCA)?
Primary conservation areas (PCAs) are natural and cultural resources. The most common PCAs are the following:
1. bluff impact zone
2. shore impact zone
5. native plant communities
6. significant vegetative stands
- How do I know if my property has a primary conservation area (PCA)?
You can use the DNR's primary area conservation mapping application to find out if your property has a PCA. After opening the online mapper, enter your property address in the search box. The online mapper will then zoom in to your property and you will be able to see if there are any PCAs on your property. PCAs are identified in the map legend.
- What does it mean if a PCA exists on my property?
If one or more PCAs exist on your property, you will need to ensure that any future construction, landscaping, or land alteration activities comply with the PCA protective standards and permit requirements in your local MRCCA zoning regulations. See the MRCCA ordinance for local restrictions or the DNR's page for an overview.
- Who is the DNR contact for the City of Champlin?
The area hydrologist that covers the City of Champlin is Wes Saunders-Pearce. He can be contacted at 651-259-5822 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Can I maintain my lawn and landscaping without a permit?
Yes, maintenance of your existing lawn, landscaping, and gardens are allowed without a permit. Repair of existing riprap and retaining walls are also allowed without a permit. If you want to rebuild or construct new retaining walls or riprap, then you would need a permit.
- What if I want to perform work below the OHWL?
DNR approval is required for work at or below the Ordinary High Water Level (OWHL) for construction or replacement of riprap, retaining walls, and other erosion control structures before the city can issue the permit.
- What is a water-oriented accessory structure?
A water-oriented accessory structure is a small building or other improvement, except stairways, fences, docks, and retaining walls, that, because of the relationship of its use to public waters, needs to be located closer to public waters than the normal structure setback. Examples include gazebos, screen houses, fish houses, pump houses, and detached decks and patios.
The regulations on water-oriented accessory structures are the following:
One water-oriented accessory structure is allowed for each riparian lot or parcel less than 300 feet in width at the ordinary high water level, with one additional water-oriented accessory structure allowed for each additional 300 feet of shoreline on the same lot or parcel. Water-oriented accessory structures must:
1. Not exceed 12 feet in height;
2. Not exceed 120 square feet in area;
3. Be placed a minimum of ten feet from the ordinary high water level; and
4. Not be placed within the bluff impact zone.