The map below is a representation of topography throughout Stearns County. Topography is determined in large part by underlying geology and refined by glaciation and stream erosion. Three major landforms in the County are: hilly lake regions or morainic hills; rolling till plains; and relatively flat outwash plains to the west. Lowest elevation areas tend to follow streams and lake complexes while highest elevation flat areas support agriculture. The prominent hills in the northern and eastern part of the County, created by glacial moraines, provide desirable amenities for developing areas. Development in these hills presents water quality challenges such as protecting soils from erosion (see sidebar) and keeping wooded areas intact.

Soil Erosion Resources: The following resources and regulations are examples of tools used to help manage and protect Stearns County’s soil resources. These tools, and others should be referenced when making planning decisions that impact these resources.

  • The Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation (SWCD) District: The SWCD is a local unit of government that manages and directs natural resource management programs at the local level. The SWCD works in both urban and rural settings, with landowners and with other units of government, to carry out a program for the conservation, use, and development of soil, water, and related resources.
  • Construction – Best Management Practices: Improperly treated and untreated runoff from exposed soils of a construction site can cause soil erosion and sedimentation problems resulting in the pollution of lakes, rivers, and other water bodies. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is a resource for learning more about best management practices (BMPs) to address soil erosion at a construction site. See the MPCA Stormwater Manual for more information.

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