Minnesota Water Science Center
ABOUT THE MINNESOTA
Water Resources of Minnesota
Welcome to the USGS Minnesota Water Science Center. These pages are your source for water-resource information collected and interpreted by the U.S. Geological Survey in Minnesota.
Minnesota Water Science Center activities include:
Quick Link to Real-Time Data:View site list: SW | GW | WQ
Minnesota Water Science Center Activity on Twitter
The USGS Minnesota Water Science Center continuously monitors surface water, ground water, and water quality parameters across the state. Monitoring sites are operated in cooperation with various local, State, or Federal agencies.
Minnesota provides real-time water-stage, streamflow and precipitation data at 149 sites across the state.
33 ground-water wells are monitored by the USGS in Minnesota. These wells record data on hourly intervals.
Water-quality conditions are continuously monitored by the USGS at 11 sites across the state of Minnesota
View the Google Map developed by the NWIS team that displays all Minnesota Surface-Water sites, Groundwater sites, and more.
Floods of June 2012 in Northeastern Minnesota
This report documents the magnitude and extent of flooding in northeastern Minnesota following heavy rainfall during June 19-20, 2012. Widespread flash and river flooding caused evacuations of residents, and damages to residences, businesses, and infrastructure. Peak-of-record streamflows were recorded at 13 of 35 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages in the nine counties in northeastern Minnesota with disaster declarations due to the flooding. Flood-peak streamflows in June 2012 had annual exceedance probabilities estimated to be less than 0.002 (0.2 percent; recurrence interval greater than 500 years) for five streamgages, and between 0.002 and 0.01 (1 percent; recurrence interval greater than 100 years) for four streamgages. High-water marks were collected to represent the flood-peak water-surface profile within the most severely affected communities of Barnum (Moose Horn River), Carlton (Otter Creek), Duluth Heights neighborhood of Duluth (Miller Creek), Fond du Lac neighborhood of Duluth (St. Louis River), Moose Lake (Moose Horn River and Moosehead Lake), and Thomson (Thomson Reservoir outflow near the St. Louis River). Flood-peak inundation maps were constructed in a geographic information system by combining high-water-mark data with high-resolution digital elevation model data. The flood maps and profiles show the extent and depth of flooding through the communities and can be used for flood response and recovery efforts by local, county, State, and Federal agencies.
Data via GoogleMaps
New Maps Deliver Current Streamflow Conditions
We added a Google-Map based Web page to deliver map-based current surface-water resources conditions in Minnesota.
The maps utilize zoom and pan to allow you to focus in on the water-monitoring sites that interest you. The maps show current streamflow as compared to historical records. By hovering your mouse over a site, a popup box shows the most recent stage and streamflow.
News from the MNWSC
Upcoming Public Lecture - June 6, 2013
USGS Hydrologist Don Rosenberry will be giving a free public lecture on the physical, chemical and biological processes linking groundwater and surface waters and their impacts on humans in floods and droughts. This lecture will take place at the University of Minnesota at 7:00pm on June 6th. This event is open to the public.
Theatened Gage Notice For Minnesota
Due to sequestration an approximately five percent cut in funding for the U.S. Geological Survey's National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP) during the last half of FY13 will result in the shutdown of three streamgages in Minnesota for the remainder of the fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2013). Streamgages that will be discontinued include:
As with most streamgages, these three are used by other Federal, State and local agencies and the public for various purposes, sometimes unknown to the U.S. Geological Survey. Known uses include flood forecasting by the National Weather Service, water-quality studies by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and boating, fishing and recreation by the public.
Out of the eleven streamgages in Minnesota fully funded by NSIP, these three streamgages were selected to be discontinued because they had comparatively short records and their discontinuation was least likely to affect public safety because similar streamgages nearby could provide at least some warning of flooding.
Spring 2013 Newsletter Released
The Spring 2013 newsletter announces the release of the White Bear Lake report, lists some of the effects of sequestration on the USGS, and describes numerous water quality studies being conducted by the MNWSC.
Low water in lakes, wells, aquifers surrounding Twin Cities could be big problem
The Pioneer Press has released an article discussing recent findings from the White Bear Lake study as well as broader implications for the state.
Minnesota draining its supplies of water
A recent StarTribune article discusses concerns and solutions to declining water levels that have become a new normal throughout Minnesota.
Minnesotans pay a price for crop fertilizer at the faucet
As crops spread, some land can no longer cleanse nitrates from groundwater. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is now devising a range of solutions.
James Fallon (Hydrologist) was recently interviewed regarding drought conditions
Four new water level gauges target Cannon River flooding
To make more accurate flood forecasts and give people more warning of high water, four new water level gauges are being installed for $70,000.
Low-flying aircraft will track potential mineral and water resources in Iowa and Minnesota
U.S. Geological Survey scientists plan to conduct the first comprehensive, high-resolution airborne survey to study the rock layers under a region of Northeastern Iowa and Southeastern Minnesota. When the data analysis is complete, resulting state-of-the-art, 3-D subsurface maps will help USGS researchers improve an assessment of mineral and water resources of the region.
Lecture - Managing Groundwater Beneath the Agricultural Landscape
The Winona State University Geoscience Department will be hosting Dr. David L. Rudolph who is the 2013 National Ground Water Association Darcy Lecturer on Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 at 4 PM on the WSU campus. Dr. Rudolph's talk is titled "Managing Groundwater Beneath the Agricultural Landscape" and focuses on "how the nature of groundwater quality has been impacted from agricultural land-use practices, at both local and regional scales, with a specific focus on nitrate and microbial indicator species". You can find the full summary of his talk at: http://www.ngwa.org/Foundation/darcy/Pages/Current-Darcy-Lecturer.aspx
New Issue of the USGS GeoHealth Newsletter Available
GeoHealth is the USGS environmental health newsletter. The newsletter, issued twice a year, describes a broad range of USGS scientific information valuable to safeguarding the health of the environment, fish and wildlife, domesticated animals, and people. It communicates information to interested USGS scientists and about 1,500 stakeholders.
Journal Article Released
We are pleased to announce the recent release of a paper from the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Principal Aquifer Study, part of the National Water Quality-Assessment (NAWQA) Program. This paper presents an estimate of the regional flux of nitrate and selected herbicides from groundwater to headwater streams in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain.
Report Published: Presence of Selected Chemicals of Emerging Concern in Water and Bottom Sediment from the St. Louis River, St. Louis Bay, and Superior Bay, Minnesota and Wisconsin, 2010
The lower St. Louis Bay between Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin receives substantial urban runoff, wastewater treatment plant effluent, and industrial effluent-leading to its designation as a "Great Lakes Area of Concern" by the International Joint Commission. Concerns exist about the potential effects of certain chemicals on aquatic biota because many of these chemicals have been shown to have detrimental effects on fish and other aquatic life. These chemicals are called Chemicals of Emerging Concern and may be toxic or pose some health risk to living organisms. These chemicals include pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic chemicals-some of which may cause endocrine disruption.
Report Published: Relations between Retired Agricultural Land, Water Quality, and Aquatic-Community Health, Minnesota River Basin
The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the release of Relations between Retired Agricultural Land, Water Quality, and Aquatic-Community Health, Minnesota River Basin, published in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality. The study demonstrates importance of agricultural land retirement on water quality and aquatic-community health in the Minnesota River Basin.
Areas of Elevated Contaminants in Groundwater Determined from Regional Assessment in the Midwest
At least one contaminant was found at levels of human-health concern in about one third of untreated groundwater samples collected from wells in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, according to a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey. When radon concentrations greater than 300 picocuries per liter are included, 64 percent of wells sampled contain a contaminant concentration above a human-health benchmark.
The Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system is ranked ninth in the nation for public supply water withdrawals from principal aquifers. The aquifer supplies water to many parts of the northern Midwest, including areas of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, as well as the major cities of Minneapolis, Rockford and Chicago.
Many of the public and private wells sampled contain natural or manmade contaminants, including; radium, radon, boron, strontium, manganese, barium, nitrate, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds. Radon and radium are naturally occurring radioactive elements and known carcinogens. The deeper parts of the aquifer system in Illinois, Iowa, and eastern Wisconsin are vulnerable to high concentrations of radium, boron, and strontium. The shallow areas of the aquifer system in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are vulnerable to radon and manganese. The study was conducted as part of an ongoing systematic assessment of some of the Nation's most important aquifer systems by the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. Results are available online.