Watershed Specialist Training

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The Minnesota Watershed Specialist Training. . .

  • Is for professionals dedicated to improving and protecting water resources.
  • Will strengthen and integrate skills for planning and implementing water restoration and protection.
  • Virtually brings together professionals from around the state to share experiences.
  • Demonstrates to potential employers a high level of professional skills and an understanding of watershed science in a political and social context.
  • Is designed for people working in rural and urban settings, and large and small offices.

“Watershed Specialists” are. . .

. . . professionals specializing in water resource planning and implementation. They understand the interconnection between water and land. They integrate knowledge from technical, policy, administrative, and social science disciplines to address water resource challenges. They are part-managers and part-technicians who help develop and implement stormwater plans, TMDL plans, county water plans, and watershed plans. They are key to healthy waters in Minnesota.

Course Format

Online, interactive, and 14 weeks long. Six to eight hours of work is required each week. No travel is needed, and yet you learn from colleagues around the state and from topic experts.


2015 session 1: January 20, 2015 through May 10, 2015


The course is designed for local government staff who are currently or anticipate coordinating, managing, planning or leading activities to restore or protect water resources. The course is also suitable for private consultants and non-profit organizations who work with local governments, and for students near the end of their degree program. Educational background may be in any natural resource, technical, or social science discipline.


$800.00 for a professional certificate
Or current UMN course fees to register for and receive 2-3 credits towards a UMN degree


Each course module has two goals: to describe the scope of the topic, showing how it integrates with other components of water resource work; and to build skills and provide resources that can be applied immediately. The course topics are:

  • Institutions and Policy
  • Watershed Science
  • Civic Engagement
  • Communications
  • Assessment, Evaluation and Monitoring
  • Implementation Activities
  • Management and Administration


Available here
Updated June 2, 2014

The Experts

The course was developed by a team of water resource management veterans from Watershed Districts, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the University of Minnesota, the Pollution Control Agency, Board of Water and Soil Resources, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

The course development teams.


Participants who complete all requirements earn a Watershed Specialist Certificate.

How to Apply

Complete the online application If approved you will be sent a link to the registration site where you can pay by check, credit card or invoice. Participants will be admitted first-come-first-served based on application date.


The program relies on diverse partners from local and state agencies, and is led by the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center. Initial development funding is from the Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Program.

More information: 

Ann Lewandowski
University of Minnesota Water Resources Center
Contact Ann if you would like to get on a list to receive future course announcements.