Bluff standards update

The Lower Minnesota River Watershed District recently updated its Watershed Management Plan, which adopts standards to protect, preserve and manage surface water and groundwater resources. While many of the standards are consistent with Bloomington’s practices, a few amendments to the City Code are needed.

The standard requiring the most attention relates to protecting steep slopes along the Minnesota River Valley from soil erosion. Historically, Bloomington has taken pride in protecting the bluffs with its Bluff Protection Overlay Zoning Districts, which are delineated based on elevation lines. However, the Watershed District Plan steep slopes district identifies steep areas based on slope percentage. A map comparing the two districts is provided at

The Planning Division will be updating the bluff protection overlay districts and related code sections to adjust for the difference. Study meetings and public hearings will be scheduled, mailings will be sent to affected property owners and informational meetings will be held summer 2019. To learn more and stay up-to-date, visit