Minnesota is home to 11,842 lakes, 69,200 miles of rivers and streams, and more than 10 million acres of wetlands! Water shapes our health, livelihoods, and way of life. Protecting this vital resource is no small matter. But MEF member Freshwater Society is up to the task, and has been a leader in preserving freshwater resources for over 50 years! 


Freshwater Society translates science into policy and action to preserve our freshwater resources. 

Their mission is to inspire and empower people to value and preserve our freshwater resources. Since 1968, Freshwater has been a leading public nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving freshwater resources. To that end, they: 

  • RECOGNIZE the vital role of freshwater to all living things and the impending crisis in the quantity and quality of accessible freshwater. 
  • DEDICATE their experience and resources to activities that lead to understanding, protection, enhancement, and restoration of freshwater resources. 
  • INVITE the participation and support of individuals, associations, business and industry, institutions, educators, and government in these activities. 

Impact on Minnesota’s water:

In addition to their extensive research and policy work, Freshwater has trained hundreds of water stewards through their Minnesota Water Stewards Program. This program certifies and supports community leaders to keep pollutants from entering our waterways and educate their neighbors. Water Steward candidates participate in online and in-person training, culminating in a capstone project that benefits our water health and educates local communities. Stewards install rain gardens, change policy, engage the public, and protect Minnesota waters. 

Since  2013, more than 400 Minnesota Water Stewards have been certified and are volunteering their time for watershed districts, cities, counties, and environmental groups; participating on city and local government boards; influencing policy; and improving the health of our waters. To date, they have: 

  • Connected with thousands of people through outreach and educational events. 
  • Installed or planned hundreds of projects, including raingardens, rain barrels, cisterns, dry creek beds, permeable driveways, prairie restorations, home water audits, school gardens, library education programs, and more. 
  • Created art that informs, educates, and inspires others to take action for water 
  • Prevented millions of gallons of polluted stormwater runoff from entering our lakes, rivers, and streams each year! 

Get Involved!

To learn more about how MEF members are working together to advance environmental justice across Minnesota, visit the Impact page of our website.