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 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.
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 MPCA and used to conduct follow-up investigations at a select number of these sites.
The study will assess existing phosphorus data records and create a model to explain phosphorus loading into the Red River of the North. Studies have found that the majority of nutrient loading in the stream located in agricultural areas occurs with sediment loading since nutrients are typically bound to sediment particles.
The groundwater contained in confined glacial aquifers provides clean drinking water to many Minnesota residents. An important factor affecting the long-term sustainability of these aquifers is how water infiltrates through clayey deposits of overlying glacial till, which act as barriers to contaminants but also limit water flow and aquifer recharge. Very little is actually known about the properties and infiltration of water through till, which hinders the ability to accurately define the sustainability of these aquifers.
The objectives of this project are to collect real-time parameter data for specific conductance, water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and stream flow at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) gaging stations located at Fargo, ND and Grand Forks, ND on the Red River of the North. Data will be published on the USGS Nation Water Information System (NWIS) website and in the USGS Annual Report.
Agency staff and local partners will gain an improved understanding of the nautre of the chemical and physical attributes of the Red River of the North.
The Statewide Sediment Network was established to measure the levels of suspended sediment concentrations and particle size distributions at eight sites across Minnesota to evaluate the amount of sediment carried by rivers. USGS sample collection and laboratory analysis techniques provide a more rigorous, robust, and technically accurate measure of sediment in water than the current use of total suspended solids as the measure of sediment in water.
This project is for on-going sampling and lab analysis for suspended sediment concentration and bedload at select sites, support for continuous Suspended Sediment Concentration measurement using turbidity and Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meter sensors, and comparison of sampling and laboratory methods for total suspended solids and suspended sediment concentrations. The project provides information for defining sediment loading and movement in streams and rivers to adequately address excess sediment problems in Minnesota water bodies.
The project will improve water management in the State of Minnesota. The result will be a water management tool that can be used by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to determine low flow statistics when establishing permit discharge limits and by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to help in water appropriations permitting.
Effective groundwater management requires accurate knowledge about the water budget, which is the amount of water stored within the system in aquifers and the amount of water flowing through the overall hydrologic system including water flowing at the surface, water flowing from above ground down into aquifers, and water flowing between aquifers below the surface.