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 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.
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.