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 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 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 support the sampling of six stream sites: two reaches of the Little Rock River, two Locations on the Kanaranzi Creek, one location on the East Branch of the Kanaranzi Creek as well as one location on the Ocheyedan River.
The West Fork Des Moines Headwaters Water Sampling Project consists of collecting water samples and along with field data from three sampling sites within the West Fork Des Moines River Headwaters located in Murray County, MN. The sampling will take place from May 2014 through September 2014, and then again from June 2015 through August 2015. During this sampling regime, the three stream sites will be sampled sixteen times. Field replicates as well as blanks will be collected also. The three sites identified for sampling are the West Fork Des Moines RIver, Beaver Creek, and Lime Creek.
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.
In 2017 and 2018, Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) will collect water chemistry samples from the 10 lakes and 24 stream sites identified in the Redwood and Cottonwood River watersheds. Six samples will be collected at 10 lakes from May through September in 2017; five samples will be collected at 5 lakes in 2018 from May through September. Eleven samples will be collected at each of the 24 stream sites following the Basic Regime in 2017. Sixteen samples at each stream site will be collected in 2017 and 2018 following the E.coli monitoring regime.
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 Nobles Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will test waters needing data for impairment listing in the Rock River and Little Sioux watersheds. Two reaches of the Little Rock River and the Ocheyedan River need stream water assessments. Iowa Lake needs sampling completed for impairment identification. The project will obtain adequate stream and lake data to either list the tested stream reaches and lake on the 303(d) list as impaired, or provide evidence that the stream reaches and lake is not impaired.
This project will collect water quality data at eight stream sites in three of the MPCA targeted watersheds. The sites are located on Medary Creek, Flandreau Creek, Pipestone Creek (2), Split Rock Creek, Rock River, Poplar Creek and Chanarambie Creek. This project will also promote a citizens monitoring program and encourage individuals to participate in a monitoring program.
This comprehensive water sampling program will assess the water quality of six sites: two main points on the Rock River, two main tributaries to the Rock River, and two points where streams leave the state (Mud and Beaver Creek) for a period of two years.
This project is a comprehensive two year water sampling program that will effectively assess the water quality of three main tributaries that contribute to the Rock River. These tributaries are the Champepadan Creek, Mound Creek and an unnamed Creek. The sampling frequency will be two times per month in the year 2010 and three times per month in the year 2011. Sampling will begin in April, when the channels are mostly free of ice and continue until October each year.
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 monitoring work expands on previously established routine water quality and flow sampling to include extensive fish and aquatic invertebrate surveys. Subsequent steps include assessment of the monitoring data to determine impairments, identification of stressors that are causing impairments, development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies using identification of pollutant sources using computer modeling and other techniques, civic engagement, and public education as approaches in progress towards water quality goals.