Environmental Services Capital Program Tribal Relations

Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (ES) will be hosting the 2023 Capital Program Tribal Relations meeting series to share project information about the ES Capital Program with the 11 federally recognized Tribes in Minnesota. We will collect Tribal feedback at these meetings to guide ES planning and engineering design teams.

11 logos: Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, White Earth Nation, Red Lake Nation, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Lower Sioux Indian Community, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Upper Sioux Community, Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe, Prairie Island Indian Community, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.


ES is responsible for operating and maintaining the regional wastewater system which protects public health, protects the environment, and fosters the economic growth of the seven county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. Due to the nature of wastewater collection and treatment, at times, ES project sites come into proximity of waterways and landforms that are culturally significant to Tribal Nations.

To build better relationships with Tribal Nations, ES wants to continue a dialogue about partnering opportunities. If a project could have an adverse effect, ES would like to discuss possible ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate potential impacts. We are encouraging individual or group conversations on projects of concern to avoid or minimize impact to culturally significant resources, as well as to develop collaborative relationships with Tribal Nations for current and future projects.

For all proposed ES Capital Program projects, archaeological and architectural desktop surveys have been completed to identify currently known cultural resources and inform potential future studies

Tribal relations meeting information

The Capital Program Team is currently planning the 2023 Capital Program Tribal Relations meeting series. The Capital Program includes capital investments that preserve and rehabilitate existing wastewater infrastructure, meet more stringent water and air quality regulations, and expand the system's capacity to meet regional growth needs.

The agendas for these meetings will continue to include:


Environmental Services has postponed the Capital Program Tribal Relations meetings previously scheduled for Sept. 8 in Onamia and Sept. 14 virtually.

At the August Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) meeting we heard concerns with how the Metropolitan Council’s Environmental Services (ES) division is approaching our work with Tribal nations and cultural resources. In reflecting on the input at MIAC and other meetings, I see that ES needs to reflect on our approach and learn how to do better including growing our understanding of important tribal history, protocol, and cultural resources. We intend to come to a shared understanding with Tribal nations, about the respectful ways to consult and collaborate with you on decisions impacting the regional wastewater system.

We will postpone the Capital Program Tribal Relations meetings previously scheduled for Sept. 8 in Onamia and Sept. 14 virtually. During this pause ES will explore how we can best address the concerns that have been raised, from training for our staff to improving our mindsets. During our exploration, we will seek insights from Tribal nations and state agencies to ensure our journey takes us in the right direction.
We look forward to reconnecting at a future date to continue this conversation. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Leisa Thompson
General Manager | Environmental Services
Metropolitan Council
390 North Robert St, St Paul, MN 55101
P. 651-602-8101 | C. 612-229-3503


Steve Hack
Program Manager
[email protected]