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Wetland & Shoreland Protection Ordinances

This is a summary of Burnsville ordinances related to ponds, lakes, and wetlands. It is your responsibility to review the full
City Code to make sure that you are complying with rules and regulations.


Ordinance 10-8-5: Wetlands Overlay District Standards

Wetlands are defined as areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater and support wetland plant species. Wetlands are important because they help maintain water quality, reduce flooding and erosion, provide fish and wildlife habitat, and are an integral part of our community's natural landscape.

Is your neighborhood pond classified as a wetland? Take a look at the Water Body Designations map, or call City Natural Resources staff at 952-895-4550.

The City has established ordinances to protect wetlands, summarized here: 

  • Without a permit, alteration of a wetland is prohibited. This includes activities such as construction, filling, draining, dredging, and removal of native vegetation.
  • Dumping in wetlands is not allowed. This includes leaves, grass clippings, rock, sand, soil, and any other material. [Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act]
  • Buffer strips must be maintained along all wetlands based upon the classifications listed in the table below. Buffer strips are areas of undisturbed groundcover along a wetland, which may not be mowed, cut, or fertilized. Buffer strips are important because they filter sediment, chemicals, and other pollutants.

Wetland Classification

Permanent Buffer Strip Average Width (feet)

Minimum Permanent Buffer Zone Width (feet)

Percent Native Vegetation













Management 2






Ordinance 10-8-10:  Shoreland Overlay District

Applies to these lakes: Alimagnet, Black Dog, Crystal, Earley, Horseshoe, Keller, Twin, and Wood. 

The purpose of the ordinance is to protect environmentally sensitive shoreline areas by limiting activities such as construction, grading, and alteration of vegetation. Read the full ordinance (Title 10, Chapter 8, subchapter 10) on the City Code website. For assistance and to inquire about permits, contact the City Planning Department.


  • Removal or treatment of aquatic plants such as duckweed and cattails is regulated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). If the DNR defines your pond or lake as a Public Water, you will need to apply for a permit if you want to remove or treat aquatic plants.  A definition of Public Waters is available on the DNR website.  Also, be a good neighbor and talk to your pond neighbors before proceeding with any pond treatments.
  •  Feeding of ducks and geese is prohibited. [Ordinance 6-2-30] 
  • To protect water quality, lawn fertilizer may not be deposited on impervious surfaces, such as driveways, sidewalks, and roadways. In addition, lawn fertilizer may not be applied within 20 feet of the edge of any wetland, pond, or lake. [Ordinance 7-9-3]

 For watercraft (boating) rules for ponds and lakes, visit our Watercraft Rules page.

If you have questions about wetlands, ponds, or lakes in Burnsville, contact  Natural Resources staff at 952-895-4574.


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