An interagency workgroup is developing recommendations for best practices and policies for water reuse in Minnesota. Recommendations will include both regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to successful implementation of water reuse. The workgroup will evaluate current regulations, practices, and barriers, and quantify and determine acceptable health risks associated with water reuse applications. The University of Minnesota is collecting and analyzing field data for use in targeting Minnesota-specific risks.
The primary goal of this project is to analyze of dated sediment cores to reconstruct changes in the lake condition over the last 150 years. This will be done using multiple lines of evidence including biogeochemistry, sediment accumulation, and diatom and algal remains as biological indicators.
A cooperative study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Department of Health to assess groundwater and surface-water interactions in lakes in the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA), including White Bear Lake. An important product of the study was the creation of a groundwater-flow model focused on the northeast TCMA. The groundwater flow model is available for future use to assess the effects of groundwater withdrawals on lake levels as well as to describe other groundwater and surface-water interactions.
The Clay County Drainage Site is designed to evaluate the environmental impact of both surface and subsurface drainage from agricultural fields. This site includes six subsurface plots and one surface runoff plot, each approximately 24 acres in size. Monitoring stations are fully automated and each individual plot is monitored separately.The soils and topography across this demonstration site are virtually identical and represent field characteristics common in the most productive agricultural areas of the Red River Valley.
The goals of the program are to evaluate the effectiveness of agricultural conservation practices, identify underlying processes that affect water quality, and develop technologies to target critical areas of the landscape. Funded projects provide current and accurate scientific data on the environmental impacts of agricultural practices and help to develop or revise agricultural practices that reduce environmental impacts while maintaining farm profitability.
This project will provide notification of the potential for coal tar contamination, establish a storm water pond inventory schedule, and develop best management practices for treating and cleaning up contaminated sediments. The sampling design includes 15 stormwater ponds, 5 each from residential, commercial, and industrial land use areas. Municipalities in the metro area with MS4 permits of stormwater ponds will be contacted to nominate candidate sites for this study. GPS coordinates will be taken at all sampling sites.
USGS will complete the following activities in support of the SCSU project Assessing the Contribution of Microhabitat Differences on Biological Effects in Bluegill Sunfish in Sullivan Lake, MN-Continuation of MN Lakes Study 2010-2011. Geospatial analysis of maps, aerial photography, satellite imagery, GIS data, and field mapping (topography, bathymetry, vegetation, habitat); Bulk characterization of the physical and chemical features of the littoral zone, inflows, and outflows.
The DNR works with the Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) to convey valuable geologic and groundwater information and interpretations to government units at all levels, but particularly to local governments, private organizations and citizens.
This project will evaluate and prioritize approximately 13,000 lineal feet of Lake Koronis shoreline for shoreline erosion and vegetative buffer condition. Those property owners with the most erosion, stormwater and vegetative buffer issues will be targeted to stabilize, infiltrate and buffer their shoreline. This project will also evaluate an additional 300 properties in the subcatchment area and target those properties that are best able to capture and treat stormwater from impervious surfaces.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has identified streamflow alteration as a key stressor on aquatic life, but the characteristics of streamflow alteration acting as stressors have not been identified in the MPCA Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) process. Without indices that characterize streamflow alteration, the MPCA cannot quantitatively associate metrics of aquatic life condition to streamflow alteration. The lack of quantifiable indices limits the ability of the MPCA to assess environmental streamflow needs for streams and rivers throughout Minnesota.
The Discovery Farms program is a farmer-led effort to gather information on soil and nutrient loss on farms in different settings across Minnesota. The mission of Discovery Farms Minnesota is to gather water quality information under real-world conditions.
The Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program identifies environmental contaminants for which current health-based standards currently do not exist or need to be updated, investigate the potential for human exposure to these chemicals, and develop guidance values for drinking water. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff include contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.
This project will quantify and qualify the effectiveness of herbicide treatments and native plant re-establishment at Duck Lake through systematic vegetative surveys pre and post herbicide application and following mid-summer die-off of curly-leaf pondweed. The data and analysis will ultimately be used in the development of TMDLs, implementation and protection strategies for other lakes in the Middle Minnesota Major Watershed.
The DNR works with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health to determine the level of contamination from mercury and other harmful chemicals in fish from Minnesota's lakes and rivers and to track the success of efforts to reduce mercury pollution. Clean Water Legacy funding is being used to significantly increase (more than double) the number of lakes and rivers that are assessed for mercury contamination on an annual basis. Fish are collected during DNR fishery surveys, processed for laboratory testing, and analyzed for contaminants.
The goal of the project is the development of an overall strategy for reduction of turbidity/TSS, with sets of sediment reduction initiatives and actions for various sources, to address the Minnesota River Turbidity TMDL and the South Metro Mississippi River TSS TMDL.
Groundwater sample collection and analysis will be conducted for contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) at large subsurface treatment systems (LSTS) and rapid infiltration basins (RIB), using an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methodology. Results from the ELISA analysis will be reported to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and used to conduct follow-up investigations at a select number of these sites.
The Twin Cities metropolitan area has a rich history and connection with its waters. In an effort to keep surface waters clean, a wide variety of stormwater practices have been developed and installed throughout the metro in recent years. Many of these, such as rain gardens and infiltration basins and trenches, are intended to reduce the total runoff volume by infiltrating stormwater. Six to seven aquifers underlie the metro area and provide residents with drinking water.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has identified streamflow alteration as a key stressor on aquatic life, but the characteristics of streamflow alteration acting as a stressor has not been identified in the MPCA Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) process. Without indices that characterize streamflow alteration, the MPCA cannot quantitatively associate metrics of aquatic life condition to streamflow alteration. The lack of quantifiable indices limits the ability of the MPCA to assess environmental streamflow needs for streams and rivers throughout Minnesota.
The Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) is a tool that can identify water pollution problems based on the type and abundance of selected plants or animals. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) uses IBIs for fish and macroinvertebrates (stream-dwelling insects and other critters) in streams to help determine whether these waterways are impacted by water pollution. The DNR has developed a similar tool for fish in lakes and is developing a tool for aquatic plants. Both are used to help the MPCA identify lakes that may be impacted by water pollution.
Concern for Deer Yard and Poplar lakes centers on their current trends of decreasing water transparencies often associated with phosphorus or sediment increases. Although both lakes still meet nutrient goals, trends in Secchi depth may presage emerging issues with the state of the lakes. This has further led to questions whether the productivity of the lakes have changed over time, what the natural or historical condition of the lakes were, what the current trajectory of each lake is, and how to best set management goals.
This project will complete a Acetochlor Impairment Response Report. This report will combine and coordinate information relating to actions being done in direct response to the acetochlor water quality impairments with those being done and support MDA’s on-going responsibility to assure pesticides are used in a manner that does not cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.
The Little Fork River and Big Fork River - USGS FLOWSED project was established to collect site specific data for streamflow, SSC, and bedload at the Littlefork and Big Fork Rivers in Northern Minnesota; use the data to evaluate the use of dimensionless sediment rating curves for the rivers; and document the results of the study in conjunction with the results from other rivers in the state for the application of regional sediment rating curves to rivers in Minnesota.
The goals of Phase I of the Marsh River Watershed (WRW) Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) project are to: 1) gather or develop watershed data needed for the development of the WRAPS project; 2) establish project and sub-basin work groups, develop a social outcomes strategy, and develop a civic engagement evaluation strategy to guide the WRAPS project; and 3) begin to identify, create, and organize tools that can be used to determine potential stressors and priority management areas.
This project will establish a groundwater monitoring network in the 11 county metropolitan area. The network will provide information about aquifer characteristics and natural water trends by monitoring healthy aquifers (non-stressed systems). The project will also develop an automated system that captures groundwater level and water use data. This system will enhance evaluation of changes in aquifers that are stressed by pumping from existing wells.
The Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS) project represents the next generation of stormwater management in Minnesota. MIDS offers guidelines, recommendations and tools that help low impact development practices be implemented more uniformly across Minnesota's landscape and provides guidance to effectively implement the concepts and practices of low impact development. Products include performance goals for new development, redevelopment and linear projects, a graphic user interface calculator and flexible treatment options for sites design.
The Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS) project represents the next generation of stormwater management in Minnesota. The consultant was hired to conduct research and design specifications for permeable pavement and turf.
The overall goal of this project is to further develop performance standards, design standards, or other tools to enable the implementation of low-impact development and other stormwater management techniques.
This project will create a high accuracy elevation dataset - critical for effectively planning and implementing water quality projects - for the state of Minnesota using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and geospatial mapping technologies. Although some areas of the state have been mapped previously, many counties remain unmapped or have insufficient or inadequate data. This multi-year project, to be completed in 2012, is a collaborative effort of Minnesota's Digital Elevation Committee and partners with county surveyors to ensure accuracy with ground-truthing.
The objective of this project is to build on previous efforts aimed at determining the public health risk due to virus contamination in Minnesota groundwater. The Minnesota Department of Health will examine the occurrence of viruses in non-disinfecting groundwater sources in Minnesota as well as evaluate the association between source water virus occurrence and community acute gastrointestinal illness.
This project will develop a reasonable statewide estimate of recharge using the Soil-Water-Balance (SWB) Code (Westenbroek and others, 2010), validate the simulation results, and conduct a parameter sensitivity analysis to identify the most sensitive model parameters. For the purposes of this application of the SWB application, comparing the simulation results will be conducted on selected watershed basins in the state against previously established recharge estimates.
This project will assess the exposure and effects of WWTP effluent on a model vertebrae organism, the fathead minnow. Through a series of controlled experiments, to be conducted on-site of the WWTP utilizing the Mobile Exposure Laboratory Trailer (MELT),SCSU will address (1) onset and timing of acute exposure effects, (2) downstream exposure effects, and (3) reproductive consequences of exposure for male and female fathead minnows. MPCA EAO staff will provide technical assistance and oversight of the project.
Staffing support to evaluate the performance of existing stormwater infiltration sites, as identified in the Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS) project. Monitor the range of existing infiltration devices in Minnesota and compare to design criteria, maintenance records, and quantify year-round infiltration rates. Develop and refine pretreatment options and standards for municipal stormwater treatment.
This project will develop databases to manage TMDL activities and track progress. It will also provide assistance to promulgate rulemaking. This project will also support agency operations to review civic engagement proposals from basin and sub basin organizations. Assistance provided to establish a coalition between organizations creating productive environments where citizens and stakeholders can come together to dialogue about issues of concern to them and create their own visions and strategies for TMDL-related change/issues in their communities.
The Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan (NFMP) recognizes that existing best management practices (BMPs) may not adequately protect the groundwater from nitrate contamination in some geologic sensitive areas. The NFMP introduces the concept of alternative management tools (AMTs), which are advanced practices that may be required to protect groundwater or mitigate groundwater contamination.
This project will provide an interpretive assessment of nitrogen concentrations in Minnesota rivers and streams, including spatial and temporal trends based on historical data sets. The trends analyses will provide information useful for evaluating nitrogen reduction efforts in the past couple of decades.
The overall project goal is to develop complementary (same year) physical, biological, and chemical data sets for eight agency-prioritized lakes and three streams in NE Minnesota to incorporate into the overall state database for MPCA assessment purposes as well as research purposes.
The goal of this project is to better target restoration activities in the Cannon River watershed via a paleolimnological study of a selected set of the lakes addressed in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the watershed. The goals are to better constrain lake phosphorus budgets, and determine the magnitude of ecological change experienced by a range of lake types.
Minnesota Clean Water Funds will be used to complete a paleolimological study of the St. Louis River Estuary for the purpose of providing information critical to removing Beneficial Use Impairments in the St. Louis River Area of Concern. This project will reconstruct the biological (algal load and composition), geochemical (organic and inorganic), sediment, and mercury chronology to identify historical temporal and spatial variations in the St. Louis River Estuary in order to better understand the natural and anthropogenic drivers related to beneficial use impairments for the St.
Arsenic occurs naturally in soil and minerals and is commonly found in groundwater throughout much of Minnesota. The occurrence and distribution of arsenic in groundwater is difficult to predict. Research is steadily increasing our understanding of the mechanisms and geologic conditions that determine arsenic occurrence in groundwater. The arsenic concentration in a new well, measured at the time of construction, is sometimes higher or lower, compared to subsequent sampling results.