The Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRCCA) is a unique land corridor along the Mississippi River within the seven-county metropolitan area. Land development activity in the 54,000 acre corridor is guided by state regulations, which are implemented through local zoning ordinances. The MRCCA was established in 1979 by Executive Order, a type of state regulation that cannot be changed or updated. In 2009, the Minnesota Legislature directed the DNR to establish more detailed and specific rules for the MRCCA. Following this direction, the DNR undertook an extensive participation process, with the goal of creating rules that are more responsive to local conditions and easier to administer than the existing regulations.
The rulemaking process was put on hold in 2011 when DNR’s authority expired. In 2013, the Legislature restored DNR's rulemaking authority and made improvements to the statutory language guiding rule development.
As a result of extensive outreach and discussions with local governments in the corridor, the DNR has determined that many draft rule provisions need to be simplified and clarified to ease administrative costs and ensure that key resource protections are enforceable. The DNR is currently working to revise the draft rules; we expect to have a revised draft early in 2014. There will be many opportunities for public comment, as outlined in Phase II of the project schedule.