Natural Resources

The natural resources division was created in 2005 to promote a more comprehensive approach to natural resources in Minnetonka. The natural resources division is responsible for:

  • Promoting city policies to protect the city’s natural environment
  • Forestry programs
  • Water and wetlands protection
  • Restoration programs
  • Development guidance and inspection
  • Education and outreach for residents on natural resource topics.

Explore the topics below to learn more about the natural resources division and how you can become involved.

Community forestry

Trees in Big Willow park. Most of Minnetonka was forested prior to settlement; now we enjoy small remnants of these forest ecotypes in our neighborhoods and city parks. Because the city is nearly fully developed, tree planting by residents is also a large component of maintaining the city’s community forest. Find out more about the city’s programs for reforestation, shade tree disease control and tree maintenance.
Native habitat restoration

The purple flowers of an anenome. Minnetonka is actively restoring native habitats in natural areas throughout the city. Learn what the city is doing and what you can do to control invasive species like buckthorn, garlic mustard, purple loosestrife, noxious weeds and others. Volunteer in city parks and learn techniques that will help you restore your own landscape. Learn what to plant after the removal of invasive species and find out who can help.
Water resources

Trees surrounding a lake. Minnetonka is home to three creeks, 13 lakes and more than 400 wetlands that enhance residents’ lives with aesthetic, recreational and practical benefits. Water resources provide food and shelter to wildlife, absorb storm water to help prevent flooding, filter sediment and pollutants and recharge the groundwater that we drink. Read more about our local waters and what you can do to help preserve them.
Development and construction

A house being constructed. Are you planning a new construction project or thinking about developing your property? The natural resources division reviews building, grading, and development applications for compliance with the city’s natural resource regulations. Learn more about how you can help to protect the city’s valued trees, wetlands, lakes, creeks and natural communities while planning or building your project.
Backyard conservation

A well-maintained backyard with trees and shrubs. The things we do in our own yards can have effects beyond our property and the neighborhoods in which we live. Runoff can carry harmful sediment and pollutants into nearby waters. However, plants and trees can help prevent runoff, shelter homes, provide beauty, and attract wildlife. Discover ways to do your part in your own backyard to protect and enhance our natural resources.

Vision and goals

The city’s motto—“Minnetonka… where quality is our nature” is echoed by our residents as they year after year rank natural resources as one of the top reasons they choose to live in Minnetonka. As we work to preserve our quality neighborhoods and provide exceptional city services, we will always be aware of the delicate balance between the need for urban services and the importance of protecting and managing our natural surroundings.

Minnetonka’s commitment to its natural resources is expressed through the vision and goals of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, the basic guiding document of the city. It is also outlined in the city’s strategic vision and goals:

  • Protect and improve our water resources and woodlands.
  • Facilitate open space preservation.
  • Respect the natural environment while managing growth.