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 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 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.
Historic Fort Snelling is an MNHS historic site and the state's first National Historic Landmark. A major project at the site prioritizes the adaptive reuse of two historic buildings concentrating on opportunities for public use, education, engagement and reflection. This project supports an MNHS strategic priority and speaks to the mission by returning historic facilities to public use while fostering new dialogues. A master plan was done in 2015, and predesign was completed in June 2016.
The goal of this project is to establish load reduction requirements for impaired waters and to develop restoration strategies to improve water quality for impaired waters and protection strategies to maintain the quality of water for water bodies meeting standards.
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 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 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 addresses five reaches of the Minnesota River that have aquatic recreation impairments as identified by high concentrations of E. coli. The project will describe the water quality impairments, complete pollutant source assessments, establish loading capacities and allocations for the impairments, and develop implementation strategies.
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.
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).
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.
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.
The goal of this project is to update and revise the Twin Cities Metro Area (TCMA) Chloride Management Plan to a Statewide Chloride Management Plan (CMP). The Statewide CMP will provide stakeholders the information and tools necessary to improve and/or maintain water quality with respect to chloride.
The goal of this project will be to research and develop statewide winter maintenance best management practices (BMPs) for inclusion in the Statewide Chloride Management Plan and Winter Maintenance Assessment tool (WMAt). The WMAt is a necessary technical resource and planning tool for stakeholders and permittees to implement the chloride reduction strategies described in the Statewide Chloride Management Plan. This project will enhance the WMAt so that it is an effective planning tool to assist local winter maintenance professionals to reduce salt use.
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.
MNHS continues to strive for environmental, economic and social sustainability in its sustainability program. To pinpoint opportunities for ongoing progress, the sustainability program will harmonize a broader range of institutional needs and objectives. The program will establish integrated, continuous, electronic reporting that unites environmental, social and economic risk analysis. This reporting will be used to further reduce our environmental impact and improve the sustainability of our operations as a whole.
Then Now Wow is a long-term educational exhibit designed specifically for Minnesota's children and families. This year staff created a comprehensive marketing strategy to increase overall attendance while driving specific increases among diverse families. New programs, including a monthly offering called WOW! Family Sundays, will give families the opportunity to discover the connections between old and new through activities, games, hands-on art projects and sharing stories.
The Together in Time project meets the needs of a diverse, aging population by empowering them as lifelong learners, encouraging them to tell stories, and supporting their caregivers in carrying out their essential roles.
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.