A newly designed web-based system that simplifies the steps to getting water permits and paying for them online is being rolled out by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The new MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System (MPARS) is part of Gov. Mark Dayton’s initiative to streamline state government services.
The new application at www.mndnr.gov/mpars
will save an anticipated $255,000 annually and allows DNR employees to
devote more time to technical assistance and field work.
employees will have 5,000 more hours every year to protect and improve
our environment, thanks to this ‘Unsession’ reform,” Dayton said. “I
thank Commissioner Tom Landwehr and his staff for making these
commonsense changes that will dramatically reduce the time to process
more than 10,000 water permit applications each year.”
paper application process was time consuming and inefficient with
department staff spending hours hand-sorting applications and on manual
“We’ve tried to make it as easy and as pain-free as
possible for water users while giving us a way to more precisely manage
and conserve a precious natural resource,” said Landwehr. “We’ll be able
to better track our water use, identify permit violations and increase
The department processes more than 10,000 permit
applications and transactions each year, including reports on annual
water use. Cities, farmers, businesses and landowners that use 1 million
gallons of water each year, or more than 10,000 gallons a day, or work
in public waters are required to get a water use permit or permit to
work in public waters.
Applicants now have access to maps and
can track the progress of their applications online. They are also
automatically alerted if they don’t need a DNR water permit.
the new electronic system, customers find out if their application is
complete within 15 days of applying. Final decisions are made within
five months. On average, permits are issued or denied a month faster
than under the manually-intensive, former way of doing business. The
system also improves inter-agency cooperation on permitting. When
applicants enter their information into the MPARS system a report is
generated and can be easily forwarded to other permitting agencies.
Foster, environmental project manager for St. Louis County in Duluth,
is using the system to apply for permits to work in public waters for
culvert and bridge replacement projects. The dashboard view gives her a
quick way to check on the status for many different permits. “I like how
transparent it is,” she said. Now when project managers come to her and
ask where their permit is in the process, she can quickly tell them.
received 30 permits through MPARS so far and has 30 applications in the
works. “It’s difficult when you have 60 different balls in the air to
capture what is happening with all those applications at any one
moment,” Foster said. “MPARS does that for me.”
The mapping tool
enables staff to quickly view 60 different data layers, for trout
streams, endangered species and infested waters, to name a few, to
determine if a project location is near sensitive natural resources.