Springshed Mapping for Trout Stream Management (MN DNR)

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient Type
State Government
Start Date
July 2009
End Date
June 2011
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009, Chp. 143, Sec. 2, Subd. 03d2
Appropriation Language

$500,000 is from the trust fund to continue to identify and delineate supply areas and springsheds for springs serving as coldwater sources for trout streams and to assess the impacts from development and water appropriations. Of this appropriation, $250,000 is to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota and $250,000 is to the commissioner of natural resources.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

Native trout require clean, cold water that usually originates from springs, but the springs feeding the 173 designated trout streams in southeastern Minnesota are under increasing pressure from current and expected changes in land use. This joint effort by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working to identify and map the springs and the areas that feed water to these springs and to learn how these waters might be affected by development and water use.

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Springshed delineation provides critical information for the protection and management of the springs that form the coldwater streams of southeast Minnesota. Our primary tool is fluorescent dye tracing. During the two-year period of Phase II, DNR (in cooperation with the U of M) conducted 26 traces in Fillmore, Houston, Winona and Wabasha counties that mapped over 12,000 acres.

The Fillmore County traces were in the Galena Formation. We discovered three previously unmapped springsheds and expanded the boundaries of five known springsheds. The expanded boundary springsheds were in the Watson Creek and South Fork Root watersheds, target areas for the local, state and federal Root River Initiative. The new springsheds are in the Crystal Creek watershed. These traces enhanced MDA watershed research and education efforts.

The traces in Houston, Winona and Wabasha were in the St. Lawrence Formation. This work expanded the geographic range of St. Lawrence traces and demonstrated that conduit flow in the St. Lawrence (a confining unit in the state well code) is a regional phenomenon. Four new springsheds were located in the St. Lawrence. Two of the traces in Houston County were run from streams that do not disappear into the St. Lawrence but flow continually across it. Both of those traces were detected at springs and one was detected in a private well. This indicates that St. Lawrence groundwater across southeast Minnesota could be impacted by the surface water quality of streams crossing the formation in shallow conditions.

Solinst level-temperature-conductivity loggers were purchased in the second year of the project. The data from them has shown that Prairie du Chien formation springs can be monitored for minor temperature fluctuations. Detecting these fluctuations has allowed us to conclude that the monitored springs are affected by snowmelt runoff. This information will be used for spring assessment protocol development.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
The project manager has spoken about the project and its results to local, state and federal officials, citizen groups, anglers, local, state and federal agency staff, and met one-on-one with numerous landowners. Project results are part of the base data for Root River Initiative watershed management efforts in the Watson Creek and Rush Pine watersheds. MPCA staff are using the maps as part of their nitrate-TMDL development. MDA staff are using the springshed maps to modify their watershed research in the Crystal Creek watershed. The project was featured on MPR when a reporter accompanied the project manager on a spring snowmelt runoff dye trace near Canton, MN. Two traces were conducted in cooperation with the earth science class at Fillmore Central High School in Harmony. The students assisted with dye input and sampling.

Project Details
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Street Address
2300 Silver Creek Rd NE
Zip Code