Watershed Delineation

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$260,000
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$248,238
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$223,000
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$223,000
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$190,000
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$190,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$235,000
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$235,000
2011 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$190,000
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$180,000
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Status
In Progress
Start Date
July 2009
Activity Type
Assessment/Evaluation
Digitization/Online Information Access
Mapping
Planning
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Analysis/Interpretation
Modeling
Research
Technical Assistance
Counties Affected
Statewide
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017 Regular Session Ch. 91 Art. 2 Sec. 6(g)
Appropriation Language

$675000 the first year and $675000 the second year are for applied research and tools including watershed hydrologic modeling; maintaining and updating spatial data for watershed boundaries streams and water bodies and integrating high-resolution digital elevation data; and assessing effectiveness of forestry best management practices for water quality.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$260,000
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY19 Minnesota Information Technology (MNIT) staff at the DNR will continue stewardship of state LiDAR (light detection and ranging) on the MnTOPO website and related watershed delineation data. Staff will continue to collaborate with the MN Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) and two committees of the Governor’s Geospatial Advisory Council (Standards Committee and 3D Geomatics Committee) toward publication of a state standard to ensure consistent processing of LiDAR digital elevation data needed by local governments for prioritizing and targeting the implementation projects identified in their watershed management plans. The Standards Committee will formally review and publish the standard. Staff will draft technical papers to convey new findings and protocols bringing greater consistency to LiDAR digital elevation models watercourse and watershed hydrography data products. The 3D Geomatics Committee will help disseminate this information to other Minnesota LiDAR and spatial data users. Also in FY19 staff will complete a major watershed delineation update and revision and provide related education and outreach to users.

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

$675000 the first year and $675000 the second year are for applied research and tools including watershed hydrologic modeling; maintaining and updating spatial data for watershed boundaries streams and water bodies and integrating high-resolution digital elevation data; and assessing effectiveness of forestry best management practices for water quality.

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$248,238
Direct expenses
$239,009
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
2.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY18 Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) staff at the DNR will continue stewardship of Minnesota’s LiDAR (light detection and ranging) and watershed data holdings including making LiDAR data available on the MnTOPO website. Staff plan to publish technical papers finalized in FY17 about standards for hydro-modified digital elevation models (DEMs). Hydro-modified DEMs are needed to run models that help local governments prioritize and target watershed management projects. These efforts will help the DNR and the MN Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) accelerate LiDAR-based data development for local governments engaged in conservation planning and project implementation through the One Watershed One Plan program.

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

(g) $675000 the first year and $675000the second year are for applied research and tools including watershed hydrologic modeling; maintaining and updating spatial data for watershed boundaries streams and water bodies and integrating high-resolution digital elevation data; assessing effectiveness of forestry best management practices for water quality; and developing a biomonitoring database.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$223,000
Direct expenses
$388,596
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
2.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY17 Minnesota Information Technology (MNIT) staff at the DNR will continue stewardship of Minnesota’s LiDAR (light detection and ranging) and watershed data holdings. Research and development will continue as staff work toward publishing the digital elevation model (DEM) hydro-modification guidance developed in FY16. This information will continue to support data development for local governments engaged in the One Watershed One Plan (1W1P) program. Work will continue to focus on conservation planning and targeting tools that require LiDAR-derived DEMs. Technical papers will convey new findings and protocols to bring greater consistency to Minnesota’s authoritative DEM watercourse and watershed hydrography data products.

In FY17 the DNR river ecologist will: (1) Continue statistical validation and improvements in the coding and usability of the geographic information system (GIS) tools created for stream type and valley type classification; and (2) Begin developing a GIS layer showing completed of stream and valley type classification. The layer will be limited to places where GIS and field classifications have been compared. The goal will be to expand this layer statewide in the future.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY17 Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) staff at the DNR continued stewardship of Minnesota’s watershed boundary and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data holdings. Staff continued to manage LiDAR data and make it accessible on the MnTOPO website. Staff also collaborated with the MN Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) toward systematic statewide hydro-modification of LiDAR digital elevation models (DEMs). Hydro-modified DEMs are needed to run models that help local governments prioritize and target watershed management projects. Staff finalized technical papers about standards for hydro-modified DEMs. All of these efforts support planning and project implementation by local governments engaged in the One Watershed One Plan program.

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

(g) $675000 the first year and $675000the second year are for applied research and tools including watershed hydrologic modeling; maintaining and updating spatial data for watershed boundaries streams and water bodies and integrating high-resolution digital elevation data; assessing effectiveness of forestry best management practices for water quality; and developing a biomonitoring database.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$223,000
Direct expenses
$231,928
Number of full time equivalents funded
2.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY16 the DNR GIS Hydrologist will continue to coordinate the storage accessibility maintenance and use of LiDAR data and watershed data. Work will result in efficiencies in data use tools and training. A major work product will be example hydro-modified digital elevation models and guidance for developing such models so that work with watershed models at the local level will be done consistently and improvements to the state’s LiDAR-based digital elevation model can be shared and used statewide.

The DNR River Ecologist will continue comparing GIS to field classifications of stream types and valley types. When the work is done it will be written up in a technical paper. Once the methods have been accepted as statistically valid staff will work on using the new method to create a GIS layer of stream classifications. The initial GIS layer for stream and valley classifications will likely be limited by location of stream comparison reaches (field and GIS) with plans to expand this layer statewide in the future.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY16 Minnesota Information Technology (MNIT) staff at the DNR continued stewardship of Minnesota’s watershed boundary and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data holdings. Ongoing LiDAR data management and coordination continued in support of data accessibility for Minnesota. Staff collaborated with the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) toward systematic statewide hydro-modification of LiDAR digital elevation models (DEMs). Hydro-modified DEMs are needed to run models that help local governments prioritize and target watershed management projects. Four technical papers were written and five projects were developed in support of this work including a study to compare the results of different degrees degree of hydro-modification. All of this information will help BWSR support data development for local governments engaged in the One Watershed One Plan (1W1P) program. Other key work included continued collaboration with the US Geological Survey along Minnesota’s northern boundary to harmonize US and Canadian watershed datasets. This partnership has led to better information for watershed modeling and targeting of locations for best management practices.

In FY16 the DNR river ecologist rebuilt a previously developed geographic information system (GIS) tool to help staff classify stream valley types. The new version enables staff to incorporate regionally specific data which will make the tool work better across Minnesota’s many varying landscapes. Improvements were also made in the processing speed and ease of use of the tool. Staff also began work to ensure the tool is statistically valid and began writing a technical paper about the tool.

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

$675000 the first year and $675000
the second year are for applied research
and tools including watershed hydrologic
modeling; maintaining and updating spatial
data for watershed boundaries streams and
water bodies and integrating high-resolution
digital elevation data; assessing effectiveness
of forestry best management practices for
water quality; and developing an ecological
monitoring database.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$190,000
Direct expenses
$170,155
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
2.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY15 the DNR GIS Hydrologist will continue to manage the effort of coordinating LiDAR data and watershed data as the LiDAR data steward and watershed data steward respectively. Through this work efficiencies in data utilization tool development and training will facilitate water resource management and Clean Water initiatives across Minnesota. Advancements in MnTOPO including map service updates alternative hill shades for topographic viewing and advanced LiDAR-derived products to identify water conveyance features on the landscape will be coordinated and implemented by the GIS Hydrologist.

The DNR River Ecologist will determine final stream type and valley type classifications derived from desktop tools as well as compare field surveyed data to these final classifications. Statistical analysis will be used to determine if there is a significant difference between classifications using both methods.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY15 the MNiT@DNR Geographic Information System (GIS) Hydrologist continued to serve as Minnesota’s watershed and LiDAR data steward; we collaborated with USGS to harmonize watershed delineations with Canadian data and the federally managed watershed boundary dataset (WBD). Because of this partnership Minnesota has better information for watershed modeling and targeting locations for best management practices.

We continued to coordinate storage and availability of LiDAR data for Minnesota. We finished a new product called hydrographic position index; it is now publicly available for use in GIS. We also crafted a plan to support the Board of Water and Soil Resources with terrain analysis data and the use of the new PTMApp planning tool both of which are being used in One Watershed One Plan pilot programs.

The DNR River Ecologist researched GIS techniques to classify stream and valley types. Using Minnesota’s LiDAR data set and other data custom programming tools were developed to automate GIS procedures. Classifications made with the automated system were compared to field-based stream classifications at select locations. The next step in the process is a statistical analysis to see if the GIS method gives similar results to the field-based method.

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

$675000 the first year and $675000
the second year are for applied research
and tools including watershed hydrologic
modeling; maintaining and updating spatial
data for watershed boundaries streams and
water bodies and integrating high-resolution
digital elevation data; assessing effectiveness
of forestry best management practices for
water quality; and developing an ecological
monitoring database.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$190,000
Direct expenses
$149,268
Number of full time equivalents funded
1.7
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY14 the DNR GIS Hydrologist will continue to manage the effort of coordinated LiDAR data and tool development training and its applications for water resource management and Clean Water initiatives. As the MN LiDAR Research and Education Committee Chair the DNR GIS Hydrologist will continue developing naming and use standards for LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data products. For example DNR will establish standards for “hydrologic conditioning” (removal of digital dams) for new high resolution digital elevation models. DNR will also conduct training workshops and webinars related to hydrology and the use of LiDAR information. The DNR GIS Hydrologist will produce and make available advanced spatial analysis tools and products to identify water conveyance features on the landscape. These tools will greatly enhance the ability of local watershed managers to “see” landscape features like steep slopes or drainage pathways allowing much better targeting of conservation practices.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY14 the DNR GIS Hydrologist continued to serve as Minnesota’s Watershed Data Steward; the DNR collaborated with USGS to harmonize watershed delineations with Canadian data and the federally managed watershed boundary dataset (WBD). Because of this partnership Minnesota has better spatial information for watershed management activities such as locating water quality practices and watershed modeling.

As the MN LiDAR data steward and the MN LiDAR Research and Education Committee Chair the DNR GIS Hydrologist continued the work of LiDAR coordination for Minnesota. As part of this responsibility the DNR GIS Hydrologist functioned as the lead coordinator in the published release of the internet portal for viewing and downloading LiDAR data known as MnTOPO. Additionally several outreach and education training sessions were conducted to promote MnTOPO and proper LiDAR data usage. The GIS Hydrologist facilitated the development of the LiDAR naming standards for Minnesota which resulted in the recently completed overhaul of the entire LiDAR dataset. This work also advanced the writing of LiDAR standards by developing new LiDAR terminology for use in Minnesota. The DNR GIS Hydrologist defined a suite of terminology that will guide the development and management of digital elevation models intended for hydrologic and water resource applications. Advanced LiDAR derived products to identify water conveyance features on the landscape were not created because additional staff were not available to complete this work.

The DNR River Ecologist began developing a procedure for classifying stream types and valley types in Minnesota using LiDAR data. An outline of the proposed process for GIS classification was developed which details the necessary metrics and protocols. Survey data from the Clean Water Legacy Specialists from each DNR region were gathered for future validation analysis.

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

$1725000 the first year and $1725000 the second year are for shoreland stewardship TMDL implementation coordination providing technical assistance to the Drainage Work Group and Drainage Management Team and maintaining and updating data. Of this amount $235000 each year is for maintaining and updating watershed boundaries and integrating high-resolution digital elevation data with watershed modeling and $40000 each year is for a biomonitoring database. TMDL implementation coordination efforts shall be focused on major watersheds with TMDL implementation plans including forested watersheds.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$235,000
Direct expenses
$99,492
Administration costs
$24,437
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY13 DNR will continue the ongoing work of conducting watershed delineations by request and begin to coordinate the use of LiDAR data for development of the next generation of watershed delineations for Minnesota. The DNR GIS Hydrologist will manage the effort of coordinated LiDAR data development training and its applications for water resource management and Clean Water initiatives as the MN LiDAR Research and Education Committee Chair. This LiDAR work will include three LiDAR Hydrology training workshops for outstate-Minnesota over the next year. The DNR will produce advanced LiDAR derived products to identify water conveyance features on the landscape that will facilitate CW initiatives dependent on understanding the hydrology of the landscape. Finally DNR will continue its work with the USGS and Natural Resources Conservation Service and International Joint Commission to harmonize watershed delineations along the Canadian border as watersheds get refined to smaller scales for precision conservation and water resource management.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY13 the DNR GIS Hydrologist continued to serve as Minnesota’s Watershed Data Steward; the DNR partnered with USGS NRCS and the International Joint Commission to harmonize watershed delineations with Canadian data more accurately reflecting drainage areas coming from Canada. The result is better spatial information for watershed management activities such as locating water quality practices and watershed modeling.
As the Minnesota LiDAR Research and Education Committee Chair the DNR GIS Hydrologist coordinated LiDAR data development training and its applications for water resource management across Minnesota. This collaborative work was administered through 12 monthly internet meetings by a team of GIS and LiDAR experts from across the state. Additionally these responsibilities resulted in three LiDAR Hydrology training workshops for outstate-Minnesota and one at the Minnesota GIS/LIS Conference.

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

$1725000 the first year and $1725000 the second year are for shoreland stewardship TMDL implementation coordination providing technical assistance to the Drainage Work Group and Drainage Management Team and maintaining and updating data. Of this amount $235000 each year is for maintaining and updating watershed boundaries and integrating high-resolution digital elevation data with watershed modeling and $40000 each year is for a biomonitoring database. TMDL implementation coordination efforts shall be focused on major watersheds with TMDL implementation plans including forested watersheds.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$235,000
Direct expenses
$72,703
Administration costs
$43,561
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.8
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY12 DNR will continue to conduct watershed delineations by request. DNR will broaden the number of people using watershed data and tools for clean water related initiatives. DNR's watershed delineator will continue to update the DNR Catchment data with the last 2 years of tracked changes and coordinate the use of LiDAR data and LiDAR training as the MN LiDAR Research and Education Committee Chair. Finally DNR will work with the USGS and Natural Resources Conservation Service and International Joint Commission to harmonize watershed delineation along the Canadian border.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY12 DNR GIS Hydrologist Watershed Data Steward completed the delineations of 30 special request watersheds for CW work and hosted the 2012 International Joint Commission’s Transboundary Hydrographic Data Harmonization meeting during February to harmonize watershed delineations along the Canadian border. The DNR GIS Hydrologist promoted the use of LiDAR data and application of the technology for Minnesota as the Chair of the MN LiDAR Research and Education Committee. This work included the continuation of LiDAR training for water resource managers in seven workshops across the state.

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
$190,000
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY11 DNR will work with United States Geological Survey (USGS) to update the watershed boundary datasets with DNR Catchment geometry. Staff will integrate LiDAR data and conduct LiDAR training to facilitate LiDAR data utilization in water-related applications. DNR will also assist the USGS in the completion of the WBD watershed dataset and continue to advance the use of DNR Catchments as core data for the State's clean water initiatives.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY11 DNR watershed hydrologists completed work with USGS for Watershed updates and used LiDAR-derived digital elevation models for a detailed delineation of 158 shallow lake watersheds. As the MN LiDAR Research and Education Committee Chair DNR's watershed delineator developed and taught LiDAR training courses and coordinated the implementation of LiDAR for use in the DNR and the State.

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
$180,000
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY10 DNR will initiate watershed delineations for shallow lakes and 2 500 basins between 50-100 acres and update 10 watershed delineations with LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and/or completed Drainage Modernization data.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY10 DNR's watershed delineator mapped drainage areas of 257 shallow lakes in four Major Watersheds and used LiDAR data to complete watershed delineations for two major watersheds. This work was temporarily suspended until technology evolved to more efficiently analyze LiDAR derived products.

Project Overview

This project delineates and maps watersheds (drainage areas) of lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands for the state of Minnesota and provides watershed maps in digital form for use in geographic information systems. These maps become the basis for clean water planning and implementation efforts.

About the Issue

A watershed is an area of land that drains to a common body of water. The natural characteristics of a lake, river, stream, or wetland are determined by its watershed's size, shape, vegetation, soils, geology, and topography. Land uses like urban development, agriculture, mining, or logging can contribute increased runoff and pollution from the watershed to the receiving water body. Because the health of a water resource so strongly linked to its watershed, understanding watersheds is key to understanding strategies needed for clean water.

Project Manager
First Name
Sean
Last Name
Vaughn
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Street Address
800 Oak Savanna Ln SW
City
Cambridget, MN
State
MN
Zip Code
55008
Phone
(763) 689-7106
Email
sean.vaughn@state.mn.us