What is Shoreland?

Shoreland is defined in Minnesota State Statue (6120.2500 Definitions, Subp. 15) and in the Le Sueur County Ordinance (section 4) as the land located within the following distances from public waters: 

  • One thousand (1,000) feet from the ordinary high water level of a lake, pond, or flowage; and
  • Three hundred (300) feet from a river or stream, or the landward extent of a flood plain designated by an ordinance on such a river or stream, whichever is greater; and
  • The practical limits of shorelands may be less than the statutory limits wherever the waters involved are bounded by natural topographic divides which extend landward from the water for lesser distances and when approved by the Commissioner.

To review the Le Sueur County Ordinance definitions click the link below:
Le Sueur County Ordinance Shoreland Definitions 

Ordinary High Water Level

Ordinary High Water Level (OHWL) is defined in Minnesota State Statue (6120.2500 Definitions, Subp. 11) and in the Le Sueur County Ordinance (section 4)  as the boundary of public waters and wetlands, that is an elevation delineating the highest water level which has been maintained for a sufficient period of time to leave evidence upon the landscape, commonly that point where the natural vegetation changes from predominantly aquatic to predominately terrestrial.  For a watercourse, the ordinary high water level is the elevation of the top bank of the channel.  For reservoirs and flowages, the ordinary high water level is the operating elevation of the normal summer pool.


Photo Credit: MN DNR-Shoreland Management

Culbert Lake Tetonka 6-2-10 010


Shoreland Management

Shoreland management is an important tool for state and local governments as well as lakeshore owners in order to guide land use decisions along rivers, lakes, and streams that will protect these sensitive habitats and also water quality.  Without shoreland management, natural resources that are highly valued by Minnesotans will decline in quality.  

To find out more information about the history of shoreland management please click on the following link:


Interested in learning more about the County’s involvement with conservation?  Check out the Environmental Services Newsletter!

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