The DNR is working with local communities and an interagency team to define, prioritize, and establish groundwater management areas in Minnesota. Groundwater management areas will have increased data collection and monitoring that allow the state and local communities to understand water supplies, uses, limitations, and threats to natural resources that depend on groundwater. This information will support detailed aquifer protection plans that ensure equitable and sustainable groundwater and drinking water use for the future.
This project is a continuation of Statewide Lake study that revealed the obiquitous presence of endrocrine active compounds (EACs) in many MN Lakes. The initial project findings suggested two potential knowledge gaps in our understanding of EACs and their effects in lake environments. First, the sources of EACs and their entrance points into lakes need to be better defined than was possible in our previous statewide lake study.
The Division of Parks and Trails (as directed by Chapter 172, Art. 3, Sec. 2, Subd. 3(c)) utilizes Conservation Corps of Minnesota services for restoration, maintenance, and other activities that supplement the ability to reach Legacy Fund goals. Budget associated with this program area capture an accounting of dollars that support CCM Summer Youth, Individual Placements, and special projects for park and trail renewal and development. Other dollars not accounted for in this program area are part of other PAT program areas and included as part of those budgets.
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.
On behalf of the Metropolitan Council, Environmental Financial Group Inc. generated a matrix of water conservation programs with detailed information about the costs and benefits of the programs. Tools were also developed to allow users to calculate potential water savings, estimate program implementation costs, and test the effects of various water conservation programs and rate structures.
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.
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.
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 Center for Changing Landscapes was directed by the Minnesota State Legislature to create a long-range framework for an integrated statewide parks and trails system that provides information on the natural resource-based recreational opportunities available throughout the state. The detailed framework must include an inventory of existing regionally and statewide significant parks and trails, respond to recreational trends and demographic changes, and identify underserved areas, overused facilities, and gaps in the current parks and trails system (Minn. Gen. Laws 64.8 § 6).
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.
This project works with local partners that implement conservation project to provide learning opportunities, technical help, and grants that result in cleaner water through healthier watersheds and shorelands. The DNR's natural resource experts help prioritize conservation areas and target project locations so they improve water quality while providing habitat and other benefits. Stream experts provide designs for stream projects that provide long-term stability by using natural features.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has partnered with the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) and University of Minnesota researchers to collect information about fertilizer use and farm management. Partners have pioneered a survey tool for characterizing fertilizer use and farm management on a regional and statewide scale. Surveys are conducted over the phone. NASS staff are highly skilled at obtaining critical information over the phone with minimal time and burden on the producer.
The Watershed Health Assessment Framework is a web-based tool for resource managers and others interested in the ecological health of Minnesota’s watersheds. The framework uses five ecological components to organize and deliver information about watershed health conditions in Minnesota. The five components are: hydrology, connectivity, biology, geomorphology, and water quality.
The DNR provides technical support regarding the causes of and solutions to drainage impacts, actively engaging with other Minnesota modelers and scientists working on issues related to altered hydrology. We use state-of-the-art models to look at cumulative impacts of drainage and land-use practices and determine the benefits of site-specific best management practices. This involves collaboration with multiple partners and at multiple scales.
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.
The DNR's Regional Clean Water Specialists and Area Hydrologists work with other state agencies and local partners to help identify the causes of pollution problems and determine the best strategies for fixing them. A statewide coordinator works with the DNR and external partners to ensure funds are spent in the most effective and efficient manner to meet the State's clean water goals.