Surface Water Assessment Grants

The primary objective of this program is to determine the health of lakes and streams in Minnesota. Through funded projects, local partners collect data on surface water quality to identify lakes and streams that are in need of restoration or protection strategies. The MPCA focuses these strategies at the major watershed scale. 

Eligible partners include soil and water conservation districts, watershed districts, watershed management organizations, local governmental units (i.e., counties, cities, townships, lake associations, and lake improvement districts), American Indian tribal governments in Minnesota, Minnesota colleges and universities, and joint powers organizations. Nonprofit and for-profit organizations are eligible only as subcontractors. Subcontractors must be identified within every agreement.

SWAGs provide funding for staff hours, training, supplies and equipment, and lab analysis. Where possible, volunteers are recruited by local partners to assist with monitoring efforts.

Through Surface Water Assessment Grants, local partners have provided water-quality data for lake and stream sites throughout the state. To date, the MPCA has awarded 208 grants and agreements totaling $10.9 million.

FY2020 partnerships

MPCA awarded eight agreements totaling $408,000 for water quality monitoring over a two-year period (2020-2021).

Nine lakes within the Crow Wing River Watershed.
Partnered with Central Lakes College to monitor sixteen lakes and nine stream sites within the Crow Wing River Watershed
Seven lakes and sixteen stream sites within the Minnesota River (Yellow Medicine River) Watershed.

Twenty lakes and two stream sites within the Crow Wing River Watershed.

Six lakes within the Big Fork River Watershed.

Partnered with Root River Soil and Watershed District, Wabasha Soil and Water Conservation District, and Winona County Planning and Environmental Services to monitor two lakes and eight stream sites within the Mississippi River (Winona) and Mississippi River (La Crescent) Watersheds.

Partnered with the Redwood Cottonwood River Control Area to monitor four lakes and eighteen stream sites within the Minnesota River (Yellow Medicine River) Watershed.

Staff contact

For assistance with Surface Water Assessment Grants, please contact Kelly O'Hara at 651-247-1054 or 1-800-657-3864.