Watershed at a Glance
The Lower Minnesota River watershed includes the lowest reach of the Minnesota River and flows into the Mississippi at Fort Snelling. The second largest watershed in the Minnesota River Basin, it covers 1,760 square miles, divided by the Minnesota River itself. Major tributaries in the rural part of the watershed include the Rush River and High Island Creek. Tributaries in the urban area include Bevens Creek, Carver Creek, Sand Creek, Nine Mile Creek, and the Credit River, among others. A relatively flat section of river, the 50-mile stretch of the Minnesota contained within this watershed drops approximately 90 feet in elevation from the small town of Ottawa in Le Sueur County, to its confluence with the Mississippi River in St. Paul.
|Hydrologic Unit Code:||07020012|
|Intensive monitoring start year:||2014|
|Major lakes||Major rivers and streams|
Waconia, High Island, Long Meadow, Erin
Rush River, High Island Creek, Bevens Creek, Carver Creek, Sand Creek, Nine Mile Creek, Credit River
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
Intensive water monitoring started in 2014 and will end in 2015.
Future work includes:
- Identification of conditions stressing water quality and biology will begin in 2016: Is your stream stressed?
- The intensive and monitoring report is scheduled for completion in 2017, as well as the stressor identification report.
- The MPCA is working with local partners to set up opportunities for public participation.
- The agency plans to finish the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies in 2018.
- 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
Monitoring and assessment reports and data
- Lower Minnesota River Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report (wq-ws3-07020012b)
- Summary: Lower Minnesota River Watershed monitoring and assessment report (wq-ws3-07020012c)
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.
Rural area - Bryan Spindler, MPCA project manager
Sibley County Watershed Coordinator
400 Court Avenue
Gaylord, MN 55334
Nicollet County SWCD
424 South Minnesota Ave
St. Peter, MN 56082
Sibley County SWCD
111 6th Street
Gaylord, MN 55334
Renville County SWCD
1008 West Lincoln Street
Olivia, MN 56277
McLeod County SWCD
2570 9th Street East
Glencoe, MN 55336
Black Dog WMO
Gun Club Lake WMO
Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek WD
Lower Minnesota River WD
Scott County WMO
Carver County WMO
Nine Mile Creek WD
Prior Lake-Spring Lake WD
Twin Cities Metropolitan Area watersheds
There are 33 watershed districts (WD) and watershed management organizations (WMO) in the Twin Cities Metro Area. These metro watersheds are in 8 major (8-digit) watersheds: the Rum River, Lower St. Croix, Mississippi River (Twin Cities), Mississippi River (Lake Pepin), Minnesota River (Shakopee), South Fork Crow River, North Fork Crow River, and Cannon River watersheds. These WDs/WMOs are formed and regulated by MN Rules Chapter 8410.
A number of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Studies and Implementation Plans have already been completed or are underway for impaired waters in metro watersheds. Moving forward TMDL studies will be done in conjunction with watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS) reports, which will contain the needed implementation strategy elements. Metro WRAPS will follow the timing and guidance of the watershed approach, but note that these will be completed at the metro WD/WMO scale.
MPCA staff also review metro watershed management plans that are developed by watershed districts and watershed management organizations.
A list of MPCA staff contacts by metro watershed is available on the Twin Cities Metro watersheds page.