The Watershed Pollutant Load Monitoring Network (WPLMN) is a partnership including state and federal agencies, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, state universities, and local partners, that collects data on water quality and flow in Minnesota. Since 2007, the network of partners has been collecting data in order to understand long-term trends and observe changes over time.
The MPCA uses the data in studies and watershed restoration and protection strategies it develops with local partners. Local partners then use the data for planning and to implement the best strategies in priority locations.
A pollutant load is the amount of a pollutant that passes a monitoring station over a period of time. Scientists use this data to calculate pollutant concentrations to track the health of a stream or river. Data are collected for a standard set of key pollutants:
- Total suspended solids
- Total phosphorus
- Nitrate plus nitrite nitrogen
- Total Kjeldahl nitrogen
- Dissolved orthophosphate
The WPLMN data viewer shows daily, annual, and period average water quality data from sites around the state.
Daily values are a mix of observed and modeled values, and the source of annual and average values. There's a two-year delay between data collection and publication to allow for data analysis and review.
Organizations that participate in water quality monitoring:
- Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District
- Hawk Creek Watershed Project
- International Water Institute
- Itasca County Soil and Water Conservation District
- Koochiching County Soil and Water Conservation District
- Lake of the Woods Soil and Water Conservation District
- Metropolitan Council Environmental Services
- McLeod Soil and Water Conservation District
- Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District
- Mille Lacs Soil and Water Conservation District
- MN State University - Mankato, Water Resources Center
- North Fork Crow River Watershed District
- Natural Resources Research Institute - University of Minnesota
- Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District
- Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area
- Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District
- Sibley Soil and Water Conservation District
- Vermilion Community College