Stream Flow Monitoring
Source:Clean Water Fund
Activity Type:Digitization/Online Information Access, Assessment/Evaluation, Monitoring
Stream flow information are essential for understanding the state of Minnesota's waters. Clean water funding has allowed 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 an interagency Flood Forecasting/Warning System.
Funds are used to install/upgrade and calibrate stream gages and to collect, compile, analyze and distribute data collected at gage stations. The Cooperative Stream Gaging Website provides a portal for agencies and the public to see stream flow data, site photos, water quality information and links to other information. In addition, a Monthly Hydrologic Conditions Report provides general trend information on water resources using climatic data, lake and river gages, and groundwater monitoring information.
The stream flow information collected from these gage stations is used by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and local watershed organizations to determine the health of a water resource. Specifically, stream flow data are needed to calculate pollution loads for Total Maximum Daily Load studies and pollution reduction plans. They are also used to evaluate trends in base flow conditions, determine the frequency and magnitude of floods and low flows, assist in assessing changes in land use and watershed conditions and the potential affects of climate change.
Through the Legacy Amendment the DNR will continue to maintain at least one stream gage each of the 81 major watersheds to provide water quantity information in support of the State’s long term water quality trend monitoring efforts.
About the Issue
Water constantly moves among air, lakes, streams, soil, and aquifers. Natural and human alterations of this cycle can result in problems such as rapid runoff, high lake levels, altered subsurface water levels, and changes in water supply. A quality hydrologic monitoring network informs decision-making that fosters a healthy economy, environment, and communities. More accurate and timely data improve flood warning and response, water supply management, clean water, and many other decisions that affect quality of life in Minnesota.
Start Date:July 2009
Project Details by Fiscal Year
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN