EDA: Surface water data

EDA's water quality section features data from surface water monitoring sites located around Minnesota. Where available, you can also view the conditions of lakes, rivers or streams that have been assessed.

Using these tools, users can:

  • quickly access statewide water quality data on a site-by-site basis
  • display site-specific data by specifying the name of a lake, river, or other related location
  • view the degree of impairment and how impairment affects the use of assessed lakes and streams on a map.

About surface water monitoring sites and data

Purposes. Water quality data is typically collected for one of three purposes:

  • Condition monitoring to establish the environmental health of lakes, streams and rivers.
  • Problem investigation monitoring to evaluate the extent and magnitude of a water quality problem.
  • Effectiveness monitoring to measure the success of actions taken to correct water quality problems.

Site types. When searching for water quality monitoring stations and data, users will find five different types of sites:

  • Lake and stream monitoring sites typically offer water chemistry data collected by local or state government organizations. The data available for any given site vary based on the reasons for conducting the monitoring.
  • U.S. Geological Survey sites are monitoring stations on rivers or streams, and are maintained by the USGS. These collect water flow rates; some , also offer water chemistry data. 
  • Biological monitoring sites measure the number and species of fish and other aquatic creatures present. Some data on water chemistry is also collected.
  • Discharger sites are not monitoring stations in the traditional sense. Instead, these are facilities that have an MPCA permit to discharge treated waste water into nearby water bodies. Data from these sites are summaries of discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) submitted by the permittees. The MPCA uses the DMRs to ensure that the facilities are complying with the terms of their permits.

Downloading surface water data

Water Quality Data

Monitoring data from lakes and streams in Minnesota is available for download, on a station-by-station basis, by clicking on the appropriate link at the bottom of the station pages. Use the map-based search or text-based search to find a station, scroll down to the bottom of the station page, then select between:

  1. data for the chemical parameters displayed on the page, or
  2. data for all chemicals monitored at that station.

Monitoring data can be downloaded in either a spreadsheet or comma-separated value format.

Geographic Data

Geographic data from the map-based search tool is also available for download. The data is in a shapefile format, suitable for use with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. Shapefiles are available for the following geographic layers:

Package icon Shapefile: Assessed waters (2012)

Map shapefiles which represent the Minnesota 2012 assessments (per Section 305(b) Clean Water Act), including lakes, streams, and wetlands. These files were created for those interested in preparing computerized maps of the 305(b) assessments. To use these files you will need Geographic Information System (GIS) computer software. The zipped file contains shapefiles for use support (aquatic recreation, aquatic life, and aquatic consumption). The projection for the shapefiles is UTM extended zone 15, NAD83. The shapefile was created by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency using the 1:24,000 scale National Hydrography Dataset.

Package icon Shapefile: Impaired waters (2012)

Map shapefiles which represent the current Inventory of Impaired Waters (per Section 303(d) Clean Water Act), including lakes, streams, and wetlands. These files were created for those interested in preparing computerized maps of impaired waters. To use these files you will need Geographic Information System (GIS) computer software. The zipped files contain a separate shapefile for lakes, streams and wetlands, including metadata. The projection for these shapefiles is UTM extended zone 15, NAD83. These shapefiles were created by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency using the 1:24,000 scale National Hydrography Dataset (NHD).

See more spatial data including archived sets replaced by current data.