State of the Minnesota River: Summary of Water Quality Monitoring  2000-05

State of the Minnesota River:
Summary of Surface Water Quality
Monitoring 2000-2005

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Water-quality data have been collected throughout the Minnesota River Basin during the past 30 years, but focused attention was placed on water quality issues when the Minnesota River Assessment Project, a comprehensive study conducted 1989-94, concluded that the Minnesota River was impaired by excessive nutrient and sediment concentrations. Previous studies had found that the river did not meet standards for bacteria, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and ammonia. Subsequent to those findings, considerable attention and support have been given to clean up efforts. In recent years, there have been substantial improvements in point source pollution control as well as continued adoption of conservation and best-management practices to reduce non-point source pollution within the Minnesota River Basin.

Monitoring the River’s Condition
At present, several organizations throughout the basin have responsibility for monitoring water quality in the Minnesota River and tributary streams. A multi-agency monitoring coordination effort was initiated in 2000 to assure standardization of field and laboratory methods and comparability of results. The purpose of the monitoring is to provide annual assessments of the current status of the Minnesota River with respect to water quality standards and goals, identify problem areas, and detect changes in water quality with time. A multi-agency team reviews and evaluates water quality data annually and prepares reports. Team partners include Minnesota State University-Mankato, state and federal agencies and many watershed projects throughout the basin.

This report presents selected results from water quality monitoring at four mainstem Minnesota River locations and fourteen outlets of major tributary streams (streams draining watersheds greater than 100,000 acres). The information represents results from more than 2,200 water-quality samples collected from 2000-05. This Report highlights findings regarding excessive sediment, nutrient enrichment, and environmental health concerns documented in the Minnesota River Basin. It serves as a companion document to the State of the Minnesota River, Water Quality Summary 2000 to 2005. All reports can be downloaded at:

A special thanks to Greg Payne and Heather Johnson for their assistance with this report.
Data included in this report were submitted and reviewed by representatives of several organizations including:



Barr Engineering   Chris Bonick  
Brown-Nicollet-Cottonwood Clean Water Project   Kevin Kuehner, Scott MacLean, Steve Stauff  
Chippewa River Watershed Project   Kylene Olson, Paul Wymar, Rob Spitzley, Jennifer Churchill  
Hawk Creek Watershed Project   Loren Engelby, Amanda Smith  
High Island Creek Watershed Assessment Project   Scott Matteson, Scott Kudelka  
Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank Clean Water Partnership Diagnostic Studies   Mary Homan  
Martin County   Becky Schlorf Von Holdt, Darren Newville  
Metropolitan Council Environmental Services   Mike Ahlf, Leigh Harrod, Kent Johnson, Heather Johnson, Tim Pattock, Scott Schellhaass  
Minnesota Department of Agriculture Monitoring and Assessment Program   Bill VanRyswyk, Marie Juenemann, Heather Johnson  
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency   Patrick Baskfield, Eileen Harris Campbell, Wade Gillingham, Bill Thompson, Lee Ganske, Tim Larson  
Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area   Jim Doering, Kari Howey, Douglas Goodrich  
Rush River Assessment Project   Scott Matteson, Scott Kudelka  
Watonwan River Clean Water Partnership Project   Bruce Johnson  
Water Resources Center, Minnesota State University, Mankato   Scott Matteson, Kimberly Musser, Zachary Pagel, Cis Berg, Robert Finley  
Yellow Medicine Watershed District Terry Renken, Cindy Potz  

The authors would also like to acknowledge the USGS and MDNR for much of the flow data that are utilized throughout this summary report. These agencies are a valuable resource for many organizations throughout the Minnesota River Basin.

To submit comments or questions, please contact:

Patrick Baskfield MPCA 507-389-1648
Scott Matteson MSUWRC 507-389-5492
Bill VanRyswyk MDA 507-389-5772

Download Report
The State of the Minnesota River report is available as listed below.
The report may be viewed or printed by choosing from the list of pdf files. Download time increases with file size and
when using a modem. Viewing and printing time may be decreased by saving the pdf file to your computer's hard drive.

Report 2005: Complete Report  ( pdf 2.9 mb)
  Appendix A: Boxplots ( pdf 1.7 mb)
  Appendix B: Bar Charts ( pdf 341 k)
  Appendix C: Data ( Excel 156 k)
  CREP Map - 03 (pdf 920 k)
  Monitoring Map - 05 ( pdf 3.38 mb)

Previous Reports: State of the Minnesota River Reports

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This page was last updated 9/07
Minnesota River Basin Data Center | Minnesota State University, Mankato
184 Trafton Science Center S, Mankato, MN 56001
Phone: (507)389-5492 | FAX: (507)389-5493 | Email: