Natural Resources


If you have just moved to Sartell or have lived in Sartell for awhile you may have noticed Sartell has many "wetlands". But what constitutes a "wetland" and what can I do or not do with a wetland?

Defining a wetland: Wetlands come in many shapes, sizes, and appearances. In fact some "wetlands" are not even wet but dry for most of the year. Vegetation in a wetland may consist of grasses, sedges, shrubs, trees, or other native vegetation. Some common terms for specific types of wetlands include: bogs, marshes, open water, swamps, and wet meadows.  

How do I determine where the official wetland line is? 

  1. Look at the plat map for your property and look for the wetland line depiction. Look for measurements which show distances and give clues as to where the wetland line is in relation to property corners. Call the Planning Dept at 320-258-7316 if you do not have a copy of the plat or for further assistance. 
  2. Obtain a wetland delineation survey from an Environmental Services company. Typically Land Surveying companies employ these services. 

Why are wetlands important: Wetlands protect and improve water quality, protect neighborhoods from flooding, help filter and control surface water runoff, and provide a diverse habitat for many different kinds of fish and wildlife. Wetlands are unique and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 1/3 of the United States threatened and endangered species live in wetlands! Wetlands provide prime breeding habitat for wildlife so loss of a wetland can have a devastating impact. According to the MN Pollution Control Agency its estimated that over 10.6 million acres of wetlands exist in MN...this equates to 20% of the states land cover! This is more area then the lakes and rivers combined! However big this number appears it is still only a small percentage of what existed prior to colonization. This is why it is important that we protect the remaining wetland habitats. 

Cutting of non-native brush and acceptable maintenance activities within wetland: 

  • cutting brush less than 3 inches in diameter or trimming tree branches
  • removing dead, diseased trees
  • removing noxious weeds or similar hazards
  • planting native wetland plants
  • limited mowing/trimming of plants

Non-permissible activities:

  • no tilling or digging in wetland (including grubbing out stumps) 
  • no adding soil or throwing brush and/or tree branches into the wetland 
  • cannot remove any native vegetation or existing vegetation which will cause loss of vegetation in the wetland 
  • cannot place any material like: soil, sand, gravel, minerals, or excessive water 
  • no structures or buildings  
  • excavation or dredging any soil, sand, gravel, mineral, aggregate, or organic material 
  • cannot alter the water level or water table by draining, ditching, trenching, impounding, or pumping 
  • cannot disturb surface drainage characteristics, sedimentation patterns, flow patterns, or flood retention characteristics by grading or altering existing  topography

Additional Resources for wetland information:


Plant Identification:  

Stearns County Soil and Water:  

Army Corps of Engineering:  


Sartell Wetland City Code:  Click here


How can we improve water quality in our City, Region, State, and beyond? The less complicated and simple answer is to manage our stormwater better. Stormwater impacts every water source.  Oil, chemicals, litter and other debris get washed into lakes, rivers, wetlands, and other water sources by stormwater. The better we prevent contaminants from entering the storm sewer system the more we can prevent our water resources from becoming polluted or impaired. 

5 Tips to lessen stormwater pollution:

1. Pick-up after your pet! According to a University of MN study 76% of the phosphorus in our lakes comes from pet waste. Phosphorus is what turns our lakes green and scummy! See this link: 

2. Contain oil, grease, metals, and coolants from vehicles. Recycle old oil, antifreeze, and other fluids. Fix and maintain your vehicle to prevent leaks. 

3. Wash your car on the lawn not on your driveway. Washing your vehicle on the driveway allows any containment's to wash down your driveway and into the storm sewer system. 

4. Cut down your use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Fertilizing before a rainstorm could allow the chemicals to wash down into the storm sewer system and lessen the effectiveness of your fertilizer application.

5. Plant more trees! Trees help hold stormwater and prevent runoff.  

For more great tips please visit: