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
Monitoring and assessment
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
Strategy development for restoration and protection
The agency plans to finish the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies in 2018.
- Lower Minnesota River Watershed Approach Civic Engagement Project (wq-ws4-55c)
- 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.