Stream Flow Monitoring

Project Overview

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.