MSU-Mankato Water Resources Center in the Mankato area will provide conventional pollutant monitoring at the following sites: Beauford Ditch, Big Cobb River, Blue Earth River, Le Sueur River (3), Little Cobb River, Minnesota River (2), Watonwan River.
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.
This project will gather long term watershed data necessary for assessment, stressor identification work, and Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) development work for Elm Creek and the Blue Earth Watershed.
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.
Martin SWCD is proposing to monitor three lakes sites and three stream sites in the East Fork Des Moines River watershed. The lake sites will be monitored by kayak and the stream sites will be monitored from the shore. Sites will be analyzed for field conditions and water chemistry.
Martin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is proposing to monitor six lakes sites and two stream sites in the Blue Earth River watershed. The lake sites will be monitored by kayak and the stream sites will be monitored from the shore. Sites will be analyzed for field conditions and water chemistry. Martin SWCD will subcontract with Faribault SWCD to monitor fourteen stream sites and with Blue Earth SWCD to monitor one lake site and three stream sites.
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.
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 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.