Permitting Overview

The Pelican River Watershed District is charged by state law to issue and monitor permits for land alteration activities meeting certain requirements to ensure our water resources are protected for generations to come.  Through the permitting process, the PRWD works with property owners and local governments to protect our waters by maintaining or increasing water quality within the District.  The ultimate goal is to permit and monitor the land use within the District to ensure the surrounding water resources can be enjoyed by all.

View the complete Rules document from the link below

Watershed Rules


The District has adopted a permit program which requires property owners to obtain approval for the following plans:

  • Shore impact zone alterations (including ice pressure ridge modification and vegetation removal)
  • Rip-rap or beach sand blankets (installation, repair, or replacement)
  • Bluff Impact Zone/Steep Slope area within shoreland district alterations
  • Retaining walls (installation, repair, or replacement within shore impact or bluff impact zones
  • Impervious surface coverage (total cumulative coverage)
    More than 25% of lot coverage
    1 acre (43,560 sq. ft.)  or greater
              ~more than 10,000 sq. ft. in Shoreland District
  • Subdivisions, plats, or planned unit developments (PUD’s)
  • Highway, road, street, parking lot, or public water access (construction or reconstruction)
  • Bridge and/or Culverts, inlets to Waters of the State, stormsewers (new or changes to existing structures)
  • Groundwater de-watering – (discharges to Waters of the State)

Permits at PRWD fall in to six general categories, Shoreline Impact Zone Alteration, Impervious Surface, Subdivision/Planned Unit Development (PUD), Bluffs and steep slopes, Roads/Bridge/Culverts, and Groundwater de-watering. The graphic below may help explain project permit requirements.


In short, you need a permit if you intend to make any alterations in the shore impact zone, build or add on to your property, build a subdivision, planned unit development, parking lot or road, perform dewatering, erect a retaining wall or work on steep slopes within the district.

Permit Application Materials


Additional Information

Detroit Lakes Flood Plain Map

Detroit Lakes Flood Plain Ordinance

Additional Permits

Some projects will require additional permits.  Be sure to check with other agencies for their permit requirements before you begin.

Becker County Planning and Zoning
Otter Tail County Planning and Zoning
City of Detroit Lakes
MN DNR Division of Waters
MN Pollution Control Agency
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

And as always, contact Gopher State One Call before you dig! or 1 (800) 252-1166

If you have any additional questions please Contact Us

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Recent Water Levels
Detroit 1333.9 ft
Last Updated: 7/24/2017
Floyd(s) 1353.9 ft
Last Updated: 8/3/2017

Melissa 1328.0 ft
Last Updated: 7/24/2017
Sallie 1329.0 ft
Last Updated: 7/24/2017

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