Lake Classficiations

Public waters within Itasca County are classified according to policies contained in Minn. Stat. Chapt. 103F and Minn. Rules 6120.2500-6120.3900 and are listed in the Itasca County Public Waters Classification List. Shoreland Overlay Zoning Districts have been established for the following classes of public waters: General Development lakes, two categories of Recreational Development lakes, three categories of Natural Environment lakes, Phosphorus Sensitive lakes, multiple shoreland management areas, Trout Streams, Remote river segments, Forested river segments and Tributary river segments. Itasca County has adopted a special river classification and zoning district for the Big Fork River Management Plan Corridor and two special classifications and zoning districts for the Mississippi Headwaters River Corridor, Wild and Scenic.  To find your lake classification please click HERE.

​Shoreland Overlay Districts comprise of land located within the following distances from public waters: 1,000 feet from the Ordinary High Water Level of a lake, pond or flowage;  300 feet from a river or stream or the landward extent of a floodplain designated by Ordinance on a river or stream, whichever is greater. Whenever the shorelands of two or more public waters shall overlay, then the Shoreland area for each such public water may be reduced to coincide with the topographic divide between those waters. If there is not a topographic divide clearly delineated, then the midpoint between the two water bodies would regulate the appropriate classification.
​Below are descriptions of each classification:

General Development (GD) lakes. GD lakes are large, deep lakes or lakes of varying sizes and depths with high levels and mixes of existing development. These lakes are extensively used for recreation and except for the very large lakes are heavily developed around the shore. Second and third tiers of development are common. ​
Recreational Development (RD) lakes. RD lakes are medium-sized lakes of varying depths and shapes with a variety of landform, soil, and groundwater situations on the lands around them. Moderate levels of recreational use and existing development often characterize them. 
Natural Environment (NE) lakes. NE lakes are small, often shallow lakes with limited capacities for assimilating the impacts of development and recreational use. They often have adjacent lands with substantial constraints for development such as high water tables, exposed bedrock, and soils unsuitable for septic systems. These lakes usually do not have much existing development or recreational use. ​
Phosphorus Sensitive (PS) lakes. PS lakes are lakes exhibiting the greatest potential for water quality impairment as determined by the Minnesota Lake Eutrophication Analysis Procedure (MNLEAP Itasca, W. Walker, 2005). MNLEAP uses readily available information (i.e., watershed area, lake area, mean depth, and lakeshore land use inputs) to provide a simple screening tool for predicting natural and developed lake water quality conditions. The sanitation setbacks and impervious surface coverage requirements on PS lakes are the same as Natural Environment lakes. ​
Trout Streams. All Trout Streams officially designated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shall be assigned to the Natural Environment-1 lake class. Designated Trout Streams are specifically listed in Minn. Rule 6264.0050 subp. 4 and are subject to periodic change. If the Trout Stream identified in the Itasca County Public Waters Classification List should deviate in any way from those listed in Minnesota Rules cited above, then the designation listed in Minnesota Rules shall take precedence. ​
Remote river segments. Remote river segments are located in roadless, forested, and sparsely populated areas. ​
Forested river segments. Forested river segments are located in forested and sparsely to moderately populated areas.​
Tributary river segments. Tributary river segments include river segments that are not classified as Remote or Forested.

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