The Elk River Watershed Association (ERWA) was created in 1994 as a joint powers board of Benton & Sherburne Counties and Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in Minnesota. 
Since its formation, the ERWA has primarily focused on working with land owners to reduce non‐point sources of pollution within the Watershed.
The Elk River Watershed is located within the Source Water Protection Area for St. Paul and Minneapolis. The Elk River flows into the Mississippi River approximately 25 miles upstream to the St. Paul and Minneapolis Mississippi River intakes. Therefore, land use activities and decisions within the Watershed directly influence the quality of the source water arriving at the water intakes of the two cities.
The Purpose of the ERWA is to:
  • Coordinate actions related to common activities in the Sherburne and Benton County comprehensive local water management plans
  • Reduce property damage and the negative water quality impacts caused by flooding
  • Evaluate the Watershed to determine where flooding originates
  • Protect water resources that meet state water quality standards
  • Improve water resources that do not meet state water quality standards 
The Vision​ of the ERWA is:
  • Become a highly effective and visible Watershed organization 
  • Implement conservation projects
  • Improve water quality
  • Reduce flooding
  • Increase active stewardship
For a more detailed ERWA Strategic Plan, please click on the link below.