Streams and rivers programs and resources

A beautiful river in MinnesotaAlthough Minnesota is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” we also benefit from over 92,000 miles of streams and rivers. These river miles played an important role in Minnesota’s history, from exploration and fur trading, to lumber transport and agricultural settlement. Minnesota’s rivers continue to be important for recreation and tourism, industry and commerce, and as a source of clean water for all its citizens.

  • Volunteer Water Monitoring program. Since 1998 volunteers have been monitoring the clarity and water level of their neighborhood streams/rivers or lakes, while tracking daily rainfall amounts at their homes. These two simple measures, like taking your blood pressure, serve as general indicators of river health.
  • Clean Water Partnership Program. This MPCA program provides financial and technical assistance to local units of government for watershed management to protect and improve surface and ground water in Minnesota
  • River basins/Watersheds. A basin (or drainage basin) is the area of land drained by a river or lake and its tributaries. The MPCA works with partners in communities throughout the state on water quality plans for each of Minnesota's 10 basins.
  • Minnesota Milestone River Monitoring Program. The Minnesota Milestone Program is designed to collect water quality data at designated river sites over a long period of time. This data is then used to get an understanding of the overall health trends of Minnesota’s rivers.
  • Watershed Pollutant Load Monitoring Network. The Watershed Pollutant Load Monitoring Network is a long-term program designed to measure and compare regional differences and trends in water quality from Minnesota's rivers and the outlets of tributaries draining to these rivers.
  • Environmental Data Access. The MPCA’s Environmental Data Access (EDA) system allows users to view and download environmental data that is collected and stored by the agency and its partner organizations.
  • Biological monitoring. MPCA assesses the health of riverine and wetland environments utilizing fish, macroinvertebrate, or plant communities.

Links to related sites

River organizations