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Benton County's Location in Minnesota

Established in 1849, Benton is one of the original nine Minnesota counties.

Area: 408 Square Miles
Congressional District: 6
US Census Population (2010): 38,451
County Seat: Foley
Largest City: Sauk Rapids

Benton County is part of the St. Cloud Metropolitan Statistical Area.

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DNR releases draft Little Rock Creek Area plan for public review


DNR releases draft Little Rock Creek Area plan for public review

Comments accepted through Dec. 22

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has released a public review draft of a five-year action plan for the sustainable use of groundwater in the Little Rock Creek Area, in central Minnesota, south of Little Falls.

The plan and a feedback survey are available on the DNR Little Rock Creek Area webpage  at

“The DNR recognizes the importance of groundwater to agricultural irrigators, livestock operators, small businesses, municipalities and individual families in the Little Rock Creek Area,” DNR project manager Mark Hauck said. “Groundwater is the source of domestic water for nearly 6,000 local residents. As the area’s economy and population continue to develop and grow, groundwater will become even more important.”

The draft action plan lays out the steps that the DNR will be taking over the next five years to better understand the relationship between groundwater use and the ecosystems of Little Rock Creek. 

DNR launched the planning process in response to evidence that groundwater use was affecting the quality of Little Rock Creek, a designated trout stream. Evidence included aquifer level measurements taken during aquifer tests of individual wells, which linked groundwater pumping to stream depletion.  The DNR also calculated stream depletion associated with several individual permit applications.

 A statewide watershed health assessment indicated that water appropriation in the Little Rock Creek Area was high in comparison to the amount of stream flow. Additionally, a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s groundwater flow analysis concluded that stream flow depletion in Little Rock Creek was a result of cumulative groundwater use across the area.

The plan is designed to ensure that groundwater in the Little Rock Creek Area will continue to provide a range of economic, ecological and recreational benefits. The draft plan was developed with input and discussion from an advisory group of about two dozen local irrigators, residents and government officials over the past two years.

The DNR will host a public meeting Saturday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Little Falls Community Middle School Commons, 1000 1st Avenue Northeast, Little Falls, Minnesota. DNR staff will answer questions and provide opportunities for comment on the draft plan. More details will be available on the project web page closer to the event.

In addition to the public meeting, questions may be addressed to Mark Hauck at or 320-223-7846.