The western part of the watershed is rural and the middle and eastern portions are urban. Most of the population in the Minnesota River Basin lives in this watershed, including the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The watershed includes Sibley and Scott counties, and portions of Le Sueur, Carver, Hennepin, Dakota, Rice, Nicollet, Renville and McLeod counties.
Water quality concerns include levels of sediment, bacteria, nutrients and chloride, and their impacts to fish and other aquatic life.
What's being done
Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) and TMDL reports
- Summary: Lower Minnesota River Watershed WRAPS (wq-ws4-55b)
- Lower Minnesota River Watershed Approach Civic Engagement Project (wq-ws4-55c)
- Lower Minnesota River Watershed WRAPS Report (wq-ws4-58a)
- Lower Minnesota River Watershed TMDL Report Part I (wq-iw7-49b)
- Lower Minnesota River Watershed TMDL Report Part II (wq-iw7-50b)
- Lower Minnesota River Watershed TMDL Report Part III (wq-iw7-51b)
The reports were open for public comment from July 22 to September 20. The MPCA thanks everyone who submitted comments. The agency is now reviewing those comments, considering suggested changes to the reports, and working on responses to all comments. All comments received and MPCA responses will be posted on this website when finalized.
Monitoring and assessment and stressor identification
Intensive water monitoring was completed in 2015.
- Lower Minnesota River Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report (wq-ws3-07020012b)
- Summary: Lower Minnesota River Watershed monitoring and assessment report (wq-ws3-07020012c)
- Lower Minnesota River Watershed Streams Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-07020012c)
- Lower Minnesota River Watershed Lakes Stressor Identification Report wq-ws5-07020012d
Previous implementation plans
- Minnesota River bacteria TMDL and strategies report
- Kohlman Lake Total Maximum Daily Load Implementation Plan - Draft
- Carver Creek Lakes TMDL Implementation Plan
- Fecal Coliform TMDL Implementation Plan for the High Island Creek and Rush River
- Burandt Lake TMDL Implementation Plan
- Reitz Lake TMDL Implementation Plan
- Lower Minnesota River Dissolved Oxygen TMDL Implementation Plan
- Carver, Bevens, and Silver Creeks Bacterial TMDL Implementation Plan
When lakes and rivers are polluted with phosphorus, sediment, and other contaminants, it can take years of effort and expense to restore water quality. But this restoration work is having an impact.
Water quality in the Lower Minnesota River Watershed has persistent problems with excess phosphorus, sediment, bacteria, and other contaminants, according to a new MPCA report.
This new report attempts to answer the question, "What would it take to achieve the water quality goals for Lake Pepin?" (July 2012)
John Hogan has an 800-acre farm between Redwood Falls and Morton along the Minnesota River. He has worked hard on his 1.5 miles of riverfront to protect and restore water quality. (Tri-State Neighbor)
Read Larry Gunderson's article in The Farmer magazine (March 2013).