Welcome to the Northern Counties Land Use Coordinating Board’s official website. We hope you find this a useful tool for following activities of the Board and important land use issues affecting northern Minnesota. We welcome your questions and comments.



The Northern Counties Land Use Coordinating Board (NCLUCB) was created in 1983 as a joint powers board. The purpose of NCLUCB is to provide a local government perspective regarding regulation, implementation, and coordination of environmental and natural resource polices with our state and federal partners.

And we are partners.  Counties are responsible for land use regulations, administer shoreland regulations, wetland management, forest management, outdoor recreation programs and facilities, aquatic invasive species initiatives, mineral management, public drainage statutes, public land exchanges, solid waste management, soil and water conservation programs, and surface and groundwater quality monitoring.

The ten NCLUCB member counties encompass:

  • 20% of Minnesota’s land area,
  • 45% of the states regulated surface waters,
  • 46% of Minnesota’s remaining wetlands,
  • 38% of the MPCA’s listed wild rice waters,
  • 65% of the state’s forest lands.
  • 5% of the state’s population
  • 4% of the state’s aggregate net tax capacity.

We are, in summary, a region rich in natural resources subject to the realities of a rural economy.

NCLUCB board members bring a variety of relevant professional and public service experiences to their work on behalf of the citizens and natural resources of the region.  Many have long histories in elective office at the township and city level as well as county management. NCLUCB members also reflect the economic fabric of the region with professional backgrounds in farming, forest products, small business ownership, law enforcement, resort management, education, public administration, and law.  They are uniformly engaged in a wide variety of environmental and natural resource projects and policies at the local, state and federal levels.

NCLUCB County Commissioner Board Members:

Aitkin County: Laurie Westerlund: E-mail Laurie

Cook County: Debra White: E-mail Debra

Itasca County: Terry Snyder: E-mail Terry

Terry Snyder

Terry Snyder.  Commissioner Snyder was elected to the Itasca County Board in 2012 after a 30 year career with the Itasca County Sheriff’s Dept., including 17 years as the department’s Under Sheriff.  His county board assignments include: Big Fork River Board, Mississippi Headwaters Board, and the Minnesota Rural County Caucus.

Koochiching County: Destry Hell: E-mail Destry

Lake County: Rich Sve, E-mail Rich

Rich Sve

Rich Sve.  Commissioner Sve was elected to the Lake County Board in 2008.  He is owner of a painting contractor business in Two Harbors.  He was a Silver Creek Township supervisor prior to his election to the county board.  He serves on many policy committees focused on natural resources, energy and environment.  In addition to his term as NCLUCB chair in 2016-2017, Rich is a member of the North Shore Management Board, former chair of the AMC Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee, Local Government Water Roundtable, PILT Legislative Advisory Panel, Second Vice President of the AMC, serves on NACO’s Energy, Environment and Land Use Committee, represents AMC on the Section 404 Assumption Feasibility Study, and the Lake/Cook counties One Watershed/One Plan implementation committee.  In 2017, the Governor appointed Commissioner Sve to the Board of Water and Soil Resources. Rich is a strong advocate for local government engagement in Federal policies affecting U.S. Forest Service management of the Superior National Forest.

Lake of the Woods County: Ed Arneson: E-mail Ed

Ed Arnesen

Ed Arnesen.  Commissioner Arnesen is owner of Rocky Point Resort on Lake of the Woods.  He has served on the Lake of the Woods County board for 18 years and is currently chair. His committee responsibilities include:  Lake of the Woods Fisheries Advisory Panel, Water Plan Committee, Extension, One Watershed/One Plan, L of W Drainage Authority, Solid Waste committee, Natural Resources Committee, NW Angle Development Board and serves on the Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee for AMC.

Marshall County: Gary Kiesow: Email Gary

Pennington County: Neil Peterson, Vice-Chair: E-mail Neil

Neil Peterson

Neil Peterson.  Commissioner Peterson has served on the county board for 8 years and is the current board chair.  Neil and his wife operate a soybean, small grain and cow/calf farm as well as a commercial fruit and vegetable enterprise through their River Falls Ranch operation.  Neil is a board member of the Board of Soil and Water Resources and previously was a 22 year River Falls Township Supervisor.

Roseau County: Jack Swanson: E-mail Jack

St. Louis County: Paul McDonald: E-mail Paul Mike Jugovich, Treasurer: E-mail Mike

Paul McDonald

Paul McDonald: Commissioner McDonald was elected to the St. Louis County Board in 2018 after a 35 year career in education. He spent 29 years at the Vermillion Community College in Ely as a faculty member and coach. A native of Chisholm, Paul is a longtime football and basketball official and was a governor’s appointee to the Minnesota State Highschool League Board of Directors. He is currently the vice-chair of the St. Louis County Board and serves on the Mining Scholarship, 911 User, Voyageurs National Park Joint Powers, Community Health, Public Works, ATV users, and Historical Society committees.

Mission Statement: To provide leadership and support on regional issues of comprehensive land use and resource management to meet the social, environmental, and economic needs of the people of the region.


The purposes of the Northern Counties Land Use Coordinating Board are:

  • To gather and disseminate information
  • To consider matters of common concern
  • To assist member counties and other units of government or regional organizations in the formulation of land use plans or general policies needed for the protection, sustainable use and development of lands and natural resources.

Issue Focus

  • Superior National Forest/State of Minnesota Mineral Exploration Lease Withdrawal
  • Public Lands Acquisition/Exchange
  • Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT)
  • Sulfate Rule
  • Enbridge Line 3 Redevelopment Proposal
  • Rural County Demolition Landfill Regulations
  • Section 404 water regulation: state assumption
  • Waters of the U.S.
  • Trust Land Management

According to the Agreement Establishing Participation in the Northern Counties Land Use Coordinating Board, these purposes shall include “an understanding and consideration of the common culture, similar customs and an interdependent shared social and economic condition.

To accomplish these purposes, the Board is to “encourage, review, and assist in the formulation of land use plans, and work to resolve conflicting land use policies. Further, the Board may conduct other activities within its powers so as to permit, promote and ensure the balanced use and efficient, long term management of all lands, providing a place where people may live and prosper in a viable biological, social and economic condition.


NCLUCB Participating Counties Map (click to enlarge image)

The geographic region of the Northern Counties Land Use Coordinating Board of northern Minnesota stretches over 10.6 million acres from the Red River Watershed in the west to the North Shore of Lake Superior. Much of it borders Canada.

Member counties are extremely diverse with various mixes of land ownership, ranging from almost all private lands to over 90 percent public lands. The vast majority of federal lands in Minnesota exist in this region. Local, state, and federal and bi-national programs and policies create a complex picture of land use authority.