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.
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 Minnesota DNR and the Minnesota Forest Resources Council work with forest landowners, managers and loggers to implement a set of voluntary sustainable forest management guidelines that include water quality best management practices (BMPs) to ensure sustainable habitat, clean water, and productive forest soils, all contributing to healthy watersheds. This project will monitor the implementation of these forest management guidelines and BMPs on forested watersheds in MN.
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.
This project supports monitoring and assessment activities by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Environmental Outcomes staff and includes lab analysis, equipment, and fieldwork expenses associated with monitoring and assessment activities within the described priority watersheds. Lake Monitoring: Lakes are monitored for nutrients, clarity and other information to provide the data needed to assess the aquatic recreation use support. Biological and Water Chemistry Stream Monitoring: Monitoring to assess the conditions of streams in each watershed.
This project supports monitoring and assessment activities by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Environmental Outcomes staff and includes lab analysis, equipment, fieldwork, data management, and interpretation expenses associated with monitoring and assessment activities. The ambient groundwater monitoring network describes the current condition and trends in Minnesota's groundwater quality.
This project supports activities by Minnesota Pollution Control (MPCA) Watershed Division staff that provide technical assistance, project oversight, coordination, outreach and other agency activities associated with assessing, listing and conducting Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies throughout the State of Minnesota. Project also includes lab analysis, equipment, and fieldwork expenses associated with TMDL work at the MPCA.
The purpose of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's monitoring activities is to determine the presence and concentration of pesticides in Minnesota's groundwater and surface water. Monitoring information is used to characterize and assess the extent of pesticide impacts to Minnesota's water resources.
This project will conduct the second round of Intensive Watershed Monitoring (IWM) for the Mississippi River St. Cloud watershed. Partnering organizations intend to complete sampling of lakes and streams following the protocols and guidance set forth by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Watershed partners include Benton Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Clearwater Watershed District, Sherburne SWCD, Stearns SWCD, Stearns County staff, and Wright SWCD.
This project will conduct on-going sampling and lab analysis for suspended sediment concentration at select sites. It will also develop real-time continuous suspended sediment concentration measurements using turbidity and Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meter sensors, data analysis and draft United States Geological Survey (USGS) Scientific Investigations Report, and a comparison of sampling and laboratory methods for total suspended solids and suspended sediment concentrations.
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.
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.