Stream Flow Monitoring

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2022 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
2021 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,950,000
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,950,000
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,825,000
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,825,000
2011 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$865,000
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$645,000
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Status
In Progress
Start Date
July 2009
Activity Type
Assessment/Evaluation
Digitization/Online Information Access
Monitoring
Counties Affected
Statewide
Statewide
Project Overview

Stream flow information is essential for understanding the state of Minnesota's waters. Clean water funding has allowed the DNR to expand a network of stream gages that support planning and implementation for clean water protection and restoration. These gages are also used as part of the interagency Flood Forecasting/Warning System. This expanded stream gaging network has also significantly increased the real time data available to recreational water enthusiasts via the internet.

Funds are used to install/upgrade and calibrate stream gages and to collect, compile, analyze and distribute data collected at gage stations. The Cooperative Stream Gaging Website provides a portal for agencies and the public to see stream flow data, site photos, water quality information and links to other information. In addition, a Monthly Hydrologic Conditions Report provides general trend information on water resources using climatic data, lake and river gages, and groundwater monitoring information.

The stream flow information collected from these gage stations is used by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and local watershed organizations to determine the health of a water resource. Specifically, stream flow data are needed to calculate pollution loads for Total Maximum Daily Load studies and pollution reduction plans. They are also used to evaluate trends in base flow conditions, determine the frequency and magnitude of floods and low flows, assist in assessing changes in land use and watershed conditions and the potential effects of climate change.

Through the Legacy Amendment the DNR will continue to maintain at least one stream gage each of the 81 major watersheds to provide water quantity information in support of the State's long term water quality trend monitoring efforts.

About the Issue

Water constantly moves among air, lakes, streams, soil, and aquifers. Natural and human alterations of this cycle can result in problems such as rapid runoff, high lake levels, altered subsurface water levels, and changes in water supply. A quality hydrologic monitoring network informs decision-making that fosters a healthy economy, environment, and communities. More accurate and timely data improve flood warning and response, water supply management, clean water, and many other decisions that affect quality of life in Minnesota.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2021 First Special Session Ch. 1 Art. 2 Sec. 5(a)
Appropriation Language

$2000000 the first year and $2000000 the second year are for streamflow monitoring

2022 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY22 the DNR will maintain the stream monitoring network by upgrading four gages with new equipment. We will collect approximately 1300 stream flow measurements and compile over 80 records at continuous gage sites. Plans also include website upgrades to provide additional flow and water quality information at the existing stream gages across the state.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2019 First Special Session Ch. 2 Art. 2 Sec. 6(a)
Appropriation Language

$2000000 the first year and $2000000 the second year are for stream flow monitoring.

2021 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
Direct expenses
$1,777,467
Administration costs
$224,390
Number of full time equivalents funded
15.2
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY21 the DNR will maintain the stream monitoring network by upgrading 4 gages with new equipment. We will collect approximately 1 100 stream flow measurements and compile over 80 records at continuous gage sites. We will continue contracting with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to develop regional bedload and suspended-sediment datasets from the sediment samples taken at 50 sites between 2007-2020. Plans also include website upgrades to provide higher-resolution flow information at the existing stream gages across the state.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY21 the DNR improved the stream monitoring network by upgrading equipment at three locations. We collected 1140 stream flow measurements and compiled records for approximately 80 continuous stream gage sites to aid watershed assessments throughout the state. Under contract with the DNR the USGS finished their bedload sediment transport project and wrote the final report. We continued work to upgrade the website that provides stream flow information for gages across the state including adding additional map layers such as the US Drought Monitor and additional parameters such as water quality collected by our partners at MPCA.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2019 First Special Session Ch. 2 Art. 2 Sec. 6(a)
Appropriation Language

$2000000 the first year and $2000000 the second year are for stream flow monitoring.

2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
Direct expenses
$1,734,450
Administration costs
$242,562
Number of full time equivalents funded
15.4
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY20 the DNR will maintain the stream monitoring network by upgrading 12 gages with new equipment. We will collect approximately 1 300 stream flow measurements and compile over 80 records at continuous gage sites. We will continue contracting with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to collect up to 30 sediment samples at the 50 sites sampled between 2007-2019 to fill gaps needed to assess bedload sediment transport. Plans also include website upgrades to provide higher-resolution flow information at the existing stream gages across the state.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY20 the DNR improved the stream monitoring network by upgrading equipment at 8 locations. We collected 1 257 stream flow measurements and compiled records for approximately 80 continuous stream gage sites to aid watershed assessments throughout the state. Under contract with the DNR the USGS collected sediment at 30 sites to assess bedload sediment transport. We continued work to upgrade the website that provides stream flow information for gages across the state.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017 Regular Session Ch. 91 Art. 2 Sec. 6(a)
Appropriation Language

$1950000 the first year and $1950000 the second year are for stream flow monitoring.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,950,000
Direct expenses
$1,665,825
Administration costs
$221,621
Number of full time equivalents funded
15.5
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY19 the DNR will expand the stream monitoring network with one additional gage and upgrade 10 gages with new equipment. We will collect approximately 1 300 stream flow measurements and compile over 80 records at continuous gage sites. We will continue contracting with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to collect sediment in seven streams to assess bedload sediment transport. Plans also include website upgrades to provide higher-resolution flow information at the existing stream gages across the state.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY19 the DNR improved the stream monitoring network by adding 1 additional gage and upgrading equipment at 16 locations. We collected 1 349 stream flow measurements and compiled records for approximately 80 continuous stream gage sites to aid watershed assessments throughout the state. Under contract with the DNR the USGS collected sediment in 7 streams to assess bedload sediment transport. We continued work to upgrade the website that provides stream flow information for gages across the state.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017 Regular Session Ch. 91 Art. 2 Sec. 6(a)
Appropriation Language

$1950000 the first year and $1950000 the second year are for stream flow monitoring.

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,950,000
Direct expenses
$1,875,551
Administration costs
$221,437
Number of full time equivalents funded
15.7
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY18 the DNR will upgrade the stream monitoring network by adding new equipment to three gages. We will collect approximately 1 300 stream flow measurements and compile over 200 records at continuous stream gage sites for use in watershed assessments throughout the state. We will continue to contract with the US Geological Survey (USGS) to collect sediment in 11 streams to assess bedload sediment transport. Finally as part of an overall upgrade to our cooperative data system we will continue to transition to a new more efficient database to house all of our stream flow and groundwater data.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY18 the DNR improved the stream monitoring network by upgrading nine existing locations. We collected 1 511 stream flow measurements and compiled records for 60 continuous stream gage sites to aid watershed assessments throughout the state. The transition to a new more efficient database in FY18 resulted in fewer records compiled than the previous year. The transition is complete and the new cooperative data system holds all of our stream flow and groundwater data. Under contract with the DNR the USGS collected sediment in 11 streams to assess bedload sediment transport.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015 First Special Session Ch. 2 Art. 2 Sec. 6(a)
Appropriation Language

(a) $2000000 the first year and $2000000 the second year are for stream flow monitoring.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
Direct expenses
$1,842,779
Administration costs
$183,087
Number of full time equivalents funded
16.1
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY17 the DNR will expand the stream monitoring network by adding five new gages. We will collect approximately 1 335 stream flow measurements and compile over 200 records at continuous stream gage sites for use in watershed assessments throughout the state. We will continue to contract with the US Geological Survey (USGS) to collect sediment in streams to assess bedload sediment transport. As part of an overall upgrade to our cooperative data system we will transition to a new more efficient database to house all of our stream flow and groundwater data.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY17 the DNR expanded the stream monitoring network with one additional stream gages and upgraded nine existing locations. We collected 1 345 stream flow measurements and compiled approximately 200 records at continuous stream gage sites to aid watershed assessments throughout the state. Under contract with the DNR the US Geological Survey (USGS) collected sediment in streams at 11 sites to assess bedload sediment transport.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015 First Special Session Ch. 2 Art. 2 Sec. 6(a)
Appropriation Language

(a) $2000000 the first year and $2000000 the second year are for stream flow monitoring.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
Direct expenses
$1,706,951
Administration costs
$184,191
Number of full time equivalents funded
16.2
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY16 the DNR will continue to expand the stream monitoring network by adding 11 new gages. We will collect 1300 stream flow measurements and compile 180 records for continuous real time gage sites for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds. We will also contract with the USGS to collect sediment in streams at 10 sites to assess bedload sediment transport. The Cooperative Stream Gaging Website will be upgraded to provide more features and easier access including a mobile platform and additional data.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY16 the DNR expanded the stream monitoring network with five additional stream gages and upgraded six existing locations. We collected 1 255 stream flow measurements and compiled 220 records at continuous stream gage sites to aid watershed assessments throughout the state. Under contract with the DNR the US Geological Survey (USGS) collected sediment in streams at 11 sites to assess bedload sediment transport.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013 Ch. 137 Art. 2 Sec. 6(a)
Appropriation Language

$2000000 the first year and $2000000
the second year are for stream flow
monitoring including the installation of
additional monitoring gauges and monitoring
necessary to determine the relationship
between stream flow and groundwater.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
Direct expenses
$2,072,048
Administration costs
$192,587
Number of full time equivalents funded
13.2
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY15 the DNR will continue to expand the stream monitoring network by adding 30 new gages. Scientists will collect 950 stream flow measurements and compile 180 records for continuous real time gage sites for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds. The DNR will also contract with the USGS to collect sediment in streams at 13 sites to assess bedload sediment transport.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY15 DNR scientists installed or upgraded 22 new gages as part of ongoing work to establish and maintain a stream gage network that takes automated continuous measurements at sites across the state. Many of these sites now have telemetry equipment to access real-time data remotely. We installed fewer gages than proposed because of difficulty accessing some sites because fewer new gages are needed in some watersheds.

We collected 1 173 stream flow measurements to calibrate stream gages that are used in in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds. We compiled 116 annual daily flow quantity records for DNR-operated permanent gage locations for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds. We compiled fewer records than proposed because we had fewer trained staff to do the work. New staff are now trained are working on reviewing and compiling the backlogged records. This work is done in cooperation with MPCA; stream flow data are used to determine pollutant loading for identifying impaired waters.

We also contracted with the USGS to collect 258 samples of sediment in streams from 13 sites to assess bedload and suspended sediment transport and we provided hydrologic analyses of historical data and modeling for seven watersheds. This information helps evaluate surface water and ground water quantities over time.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013 Ch. 137 Art. 2 Sec. 6(a)
Appropriation Language

$2000000 the first year and $2000000
the second year are for stream flow
monitoring including the installation of
additional monitoring gauges and monitoring
necessary to determine the relationship
between stream flow and groundwater.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
Direct expenses
$1,738,591
Administration costs
$148,338
Number of full time equivalents funded
13.2
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY14 DNR will continue to expand the stream monitoring network by adding 30 new gages. Scientists will collect 1 000 stream flow measurements and compile 130 records for continuous real-time gage sites for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds. DNR will also contract with the USGS to collect sediment in streams at 20 sites to assess bedload sediment transport.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY14 DNR scientists installed or upgraded 36 new gages to continue establishing and maintaining a stream gage network that takes automated continuous measurements at sites across the state. Many of these sites now have telemetry equipment to access real-time data remotely.

Scientists collected 853 stream flow measurements to calibrate stream gages for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds. Staff compiled 163 annual daily flow quantity records for DNR-operated permanent gage locations for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds. DNR also contracted with the USGS to collect 126 samples of sediment in streams to assess bedload sediment transport.

Staff also provided hydrologic analyses of historical data for three major watersheds. This information aids in evaluating surface water and ground water quantities through time and the potential causes for these changes.

This work is done in cooperation with MPCA; stream flow data are used to determine pollutant loading for identifying impaired waters.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011 First Special Session Chp. 6 Art. 2 Sec. 6(a)
Appropriation Language

$1825000 the first year and $1825000 the second year are for the continuation and expansion of stream flow monitoring.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,825,000
Direct expenses
$1,407,259
Administration costs
$172,634
Number of full time equivalents funded
8.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY13 DNR will continue to grow the stream monitoring network by adding 20 new gages. Scientists will collect 1080 stream flow measurements and compile 150 records for continuous real time gage sites for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY13 DNR scientists installed or upgraded 19 new gages to continue establishing and maintaining a stream gage network that takes automated continuous measurements at sites across the state. All of these sites now have telemetry equipment to access real-time data remotely.

Field staff collected 710 stream flow measurements to calibrate stream gages for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds. Hydrologists compiled 116 annual daily flow quantity records for DNR - operated permanent gage locations for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds. DNR also contracted with the USGS to collect 127 samples of sediment in streams to assess bedload sediment transport. The number of records and samples is significantly smaller than proposed because of a drought that caused low or zero flow conditions.

This work is done in cooperation with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; stream flow data are used to determine pollutant loading for establishment of impaired waters.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011 First Special Session Chp. 6 Art. 2 Sec. 6(a)
Appropriation Language

$1825000 the first year and $1825000 the second year are for the continuation and expansion of stream flow monitoring.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,825,000
Direct expenses
$973,186
Administration costs
$263,700
Number of full time equivalents funded
6.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY12 DNR will continue to grow the stream monitoring network by adding 22 new gages. An additional 330 stream flow measurements will be collected 30 records will be compiled for continuous real time gage sites for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds.

This work is done in cooperation with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; stream flow data are used to determine pollutant loading for establishment of impaired waters. DNR will also coordinate with MPCA’s lake monitoring to install lake level gages on priority lakes and continue to ensure stream gage and flow measurement data are available for critical flood forecasting if needed.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY12 DNR scientists installed 8 new gages to continue establishing and maintaining a stream gage network that takes automated continuous measurements at sites across the state. Some of these sites have telemetry equipment to access real-time data remotely. Field staff collected 919 stream flow measurements to calibrate stream gages for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds and compiled 131 annual daily flow quantity records for DNR - operated permanent gage locations for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009 Ch. 172 Art. 2 Sec. 5(a)
Appropriation Language

$1240000 the first year and $2460000
the second year are for assisting in water
quality assessments in supporting the
identification of impaired waters.

2011 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$865,000
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

* Maintain existing network of 65 stream gages used for TMDL studies

* Install calibrate stream 11 new streamflow gages with satellite telemetry for real time data access
* Hydrology/hydraulic analysis of lake outlets at 10 lakes to support TMDL work
* Develop interagency Monitoring Plan for surface and groundwater

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY11 DNR scientists installed 2 new gages to continue establishing and maintaining a stream gage network to allow automated continuous measurements to be taken at sites across the state. Some of these sites have telemetry equipment to access real-time data remotely. This is in addition to the 4 new gages and 4 upgraded gages installed in FY10.

Field staff collected 334 stream flow measurements to calibrate stream gages for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds and compiled 30 annual daily flow quantity records for DNR - operated permanent gage locations for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds. In FY10 field staff collected 323 stream flow measurements and compiled 28 annual daily flow quantity records.

This work is done in cooperation with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; stream flow data are used to determine pollutant loading for establishment of impaired waters.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009 Ch. 172 Art. 2 Sec. 5(a)
Appropriation Language

$1240000 the first year and $2460000
the second year are for assisting in water
quality assessments in supporting the
identification of impaired waters.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$645,000
Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY 10 DNR scientists installed 4 new gages and upgraded 4 gages in a stream gage network to allow automated continuous measurements to be taken across the state.

Field staff collected 323 stream flow measurements to calibrate stream gages for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds and compiled 28 annual daily flow quantity records for DNR - operated permanent gage locations for use in statewide assessment of Minnesota's major watersheds.

This work is done in cooperation with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; stream flow data are used to determine pollutant loading for establishment of impaired waters.

Project Manager
First Name
Joy
Last Name
Loughry
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Street Address
325 Randolph Ave, Suite 500
City
Saint Paul
State
MN
Zip Code
55102
Phone
(651) 539-2109
Email
joy.loughry@state.mn.us
Administered By
Administered by
Location

500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone
651-296-6157
Email the Agency