Governor Mark Dayton's landmark buffer initiative was signed into law in 2015. The law establishes new perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along rivers, streams, and ditches that will help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment. The new law provides flexibility and financial support for landowners to install and maintain buffers.
The DNR's role in Minnesota's new buffer law is to produce a statewide map of public waters and public ditches that require permanent vegetation buffers. The DNR is scheduled to produce these maps by July 2016.
The County Well Index (CWI) contains well and boring records wells within Minnesota; over 400,000 records. It is the principal source of well construction information and geologic interpretations of well records and also contains soil boring records, mineral exploration test hole records, and scientific/research test hole records.
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 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 Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) uses a watershed-oriented approach to assess surface water quality and define restoration and protection measures. Each of Minnesota’s 81 major watersheds is assessed intensively every 10 years, based on a staggered schedule that addresses, on average, eight watersheds per year. To increase the amount of data directly available to the public online, and to make internal operations more efficient, the MPCA started a multi-year Watershed Data Integration Project (WDIP).
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) uses a watershed-oriented approach to assess surface water quality and define restoration and protection measures. Each of Minnesota's 81 major watersheds is assessed intensively every 10 years, based on a staggered schedule that addresses, on average, eight watersheds per year. To increase the amount of data directly available to the public online, and to make internal operations more efficient, the MPCA started a multi-year Watershed Data Integration Project (WDIP).
The goal of this project is to analyze and document database architecture, platform, table structures, systems and data fields at six Minnesota agencies (Board of Soil and Water Resources, Department of Natural Resources, MN Department of Agriculture, MN Department of Health, Metropolitan Council, and MN Pollution Control Agency) for 30+ databases related to water.
This project will establish a web-based permitting system to capture essential water appropriation information. The system will include an online permit application process for water use and other permits. The online system will streamline the permitting process for applicants and significantly reduce staff time correcting and managing permit applications and water use reports that are incomplete or have incorrectly calculated permit fees. The use of technology in the application and reporting process will also eliminate staff time needed to enter data and scan and route documents.
This project will provide analysis of geographic patterns, temporal trends of lake clarity and relationships of water clarity to other lake properties, land cover and demographic factors by use of satellite remote sensing. Data for all lakes and years are available in the LakeBrowser, a web-based mapping tool that enables searches and display of results for individual lakes. This project will extend and add to the database, analyze current and new data, and enhance the capability for resource managers to access and use the data.
This project will support the MPCA’s water quality monitoring and assessment program. Specifically, the MPCA is developing a refined use designation process known as tiered aquatic life uses (TALU) to account for situations in which stream habitat has been compromised through hydrological alteration (e.g. channelization and ditching). An accurate state-wide determination of altered stream segments based upon the current National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) linework will assist in the assignment of the correct beneficial use within this new TALU framework.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) each collect similar information on streams in Minnesota such as water quality, fish species presence, or the quality of fish habitat. For example, the DNR might sample stream fish to assess whether the agency’s management activities such as fishing regulations or stocking are creating good angling opportunities for the public, while MPCA might sample fish to assess whether a stream meets regulatory standards for a healthy fish community.
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.
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.