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Prior Lake Spring Lake Watershed District


The Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District manages and preserves our community’s water resources using input from our communities, sound engineering practices, and our ability to efficiently fund beneficial projects which transcend political jurisdictions.

About Our District

The District covers about 42 square miles in Scott County, MN. Water in the PLSLWD primarily flows from the southwest to the northeast through Spring, Upper Prior and Lower Prior Lakes, and then north through the Prior Lake Outlet Channel to the Minnesota River near Valley Fair amusement park.


square miles







The highest ground in the watershed is 1,100 feet above sea level and is found along the eastern boundary of the watershed in Section 23 of Spring Lake Township. The lowest ground in the watershed that is tributary to Prior Lake is the shore of Lower Prior Lake. The water level of Prior Lake varies around elevation 902 feet above sea level. Prior Lake was essentially a landlocked basin until an outlet structure and channel were constructed in 1983.

The Board of Managers oversees many efforts to conserve, protect and manage water resources within the PLSLWD. The District works closely with local cities, townships, Scott County, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and state agencies to accomplish its goals. All of the District’s activities are outlined in its comprehensive plan, called the Water Resources Management Plan, available in the District Reports section.

We do not regulate drinking water. Visit the City of Prior Lake’s Public Works page to learn more about drinking water.

Deep Dive into PLSLWD

"Welcome to the Watershed" explains the history of the Watershed, how the PLSLWD water flows, and what district staff do to maintain the Watershed's health.

Our History

The Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District (PLSLWD) was established on March 4, 1970 by order of the Minnesota Water Resources Board (MWRB) under the authority of the Minnesota Watershed Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 112). The order was in response to a petition filed by resident landowners within the watershed on June 24, 1969. This citizen petition sought establishment of the District for the purposes of wisely managing and conserving the waters and natural resources of the watershed.

Lake associations initially petitioned the PLSLWD to construct an outlet to carry stormwater from its landlocked lakes in 1973. This lead to the development of the Prior Lake Outlet System, which receives water from Prior Lake and the surrounding watershed and transports it to the Minnesota River.

The Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District (PLSLWD) was formed on March 4, 1970 at the request of local residents through a citizen’s petition.