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 develop County Geologic Atlases to convey geologic and hydrogeologic (groundwater) information and interpretations to government units at all levels, but particularly to local governments, as well as private organizations and citizens. The MGS focuses on geology (Part A reports) and DNR focuses on groundwater (Part B reports).These studies provide information about the region’s geology and groundwater’s presence, direction of flow, natural quality, age, and pollution sensitivity.
This project will directly inform the Lake of the Woods (LoW )TMDL process by identifying nutrient reduction targets, a timeline of phosphorus loadings to the lake, and measures of historical in-lake variability (e.g., nutrients, biological communities). Results will complement and build on ongoing research efforts on internal loading and sediment core analysis.
This project will support the collection and analysis of sediment core samples, from each of the five bays ( Little Traverse, Big Traverse, Muskeg, Sabaskong and 4-Mile Bays), to ensure adequate characterization of the P fluxes from deposited sediment and equilibrium P fluxes from re-suspended sediment.
This project will construct, calibrate, and validate an HSPF watershed model for the Lake of the Woods River watershed. The consultants will produce HSPF watershed models that can readily be used to provide information to support conventional parameter TMDLs. The consultants will clearly demonstrate that the models generate predicted output time series for hydrology, sediment, nutrients, and dissolved oxygen that are consistent with available sets of observed data.
This project will construct, calibrate, a set of HSPF watershed models covering the entire area of the Lake of the Woods drainage, including the Rainy River watershed. The consultant will produce HSPF models that can readily be used to provide information to support conventional parameter TMDLs. The consultant will clearly demonstrate that these models generate predicted output timeseries for hydrology which are consistent with available sets of observed data.
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.
BWSR will administer funding to eligible County projects that provide funds and other assistance to low income property owners to upgrade or replace Noncompliant Septic Systems. BWSR will also manage annual reporting completed by each County.
The Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) is a tool that can identify water pollution problems based on how the type and abundance of certain species in a biological community vary from expected conditions. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency currently uses IBIs for fish and macroinvertebrates (stream-dwelling insects and other critters) to help determine whether streams and rivers are impacted by water pollution.
This project will gather watershed data necessary for the development of a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy to maintain or improve water quality within the LoW Watershed; and establish project and sub-basin work groups and/or focus groups to guide the MWRPP process.
The Lake of the Woods (LOW) Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study will: (1) identify water quality goals for the Minnesota portions of the LOW/Rainy River Watershed; (2) recommend nutrient allocations to achieve TMDLs where waters do not meet standards; and (3) provide opportunities for stakeholders to engage in the process of watershed-management planning to adopt protection and restoration strategies. The project will include existing in-lake and watershed model updates, TMDL component development, restoration plan development, and public participation.
The goal of this project is to determine: 1) temperature and seasonal variations in sediment chemical-textural characteristics (upper 10-cm sediment layer) and rates of P release from sediments; and 2) vertical variations in mobile P concentrations in the sediment column of Big Traverse Bay in order to better understand the role of internal P loading to the P economy of LOW and for the development of the LOW TMDL.
This project supports monitoring and assessment activities by MPCA EAO 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.
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.
MN Legislative Clean Water Fund funding to engage citizens in local watershed monitoring, work with regional partners to promote understanding and protection of watersheds, and organize and facilitate gathering of scientific data all for the benefit of water quality in the Red River Basin.
State law (M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Ch. 6) directs restoration evaluations to be conducted on habitat restoration projects completed with funds from the Parks and Trails Fund (M.S. 85.53). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is responsible for convening a Restoration Evaluation Panel containing at least five technical experts who will evaluate a sample of up to 10 habitat restoration projects annually. The Panel will evaluate the restorations relative to the law, current science, stated goals and standards in the restoration plans, and applicable guidelines.
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.
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.
The Lake of the Woods Watershed Assessment will include the waters of Warroad River and Willow Creek in Roseau County and Williams Creek and Bostic Creek in Lake of the Woods (LOW) County. This assessment project will focus on the collection of water chemistry and field parameters at the six key sites identified and modified by MPCA. One site on the Warroad River will have extra nutrient and chlorophyll analysis done. Sites are located in the lower reaches of each surface water system.
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 WHAF website strives to make complex issues easier to visualize. An interactive map delivers 27 health scores organized by the five components.
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.
The DNR provides technical support to watershed managers and landowners regarding drainage issues. Drainage experts are using a state of the art computer model to look at cumulative impacts of drainage and land-use practices and determine the benefits of site-specific best management practice. This work is with multiple partners and at multiple scales.