Watershed at a Glance
The Zumbro River watershed covers more than 900,000 acres and reaches parts of six counties in southeast Minnesota (Olmsted, Dodge, Steele, Rice, Goodhue, and Wabasha). Rochester, one of Minnesota’s largest cities, is located in the southeast quadrant of the watershed.
|Hydrologic Unit Code:||07040004|
|Intensive monitoring start year:||2012|
|Major lakes||Major rivers and streams|
Lake Zumbro, Lake Shady
South Fork of the Zumbro River, Middle Fork, North Fork, Mazeppa Creek, Cascade Creek, Salem Creek, Bear Creek
The Zumbro River watershed is known for its diversity of landscape, ranging from deep fertile glacial-tills, to sandy soils of the steep bluffs. Much of it is underlain by karst, with exposed bedrock and complex groundwater systems predominant in the eastern half of the region. Landforms common to this area are steep bluffs overlooking deep river valleys, sinkholes, caverns, and cold-water spring-fed streams.
To the west the land is characterized by lake plains, outwash plains, end and ground moraines, and drumlin fields, all remnant landscapes of past glacial activities and the melt water drainage associated with it.
Land use is mostly agricultural, with row crops dominating, particularly in the western half of the watershed. The small stream tributaries in the far east (bottom of the watershed) are mostly cold, groundwater streams that support trout populations.
What's being done
The MPCA is planning to work with local partners to:
- Complete Total Maximum Daily Load computations (the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can accept and still meet standards) for various pollutants impacting the impaired lakes and streams in the watershed.
- Complete a report on intensive water monitoring of the watershed from 2012-2014
- Complete a report on identification of conditions stressing fish and bugs in the watershed, as well as good conditions that foster their health
- The Zumbro Watershed Partnership is working to engage citizens in developing Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies; see details on the group’s webpage: www.zumbrowatershed.org
Monitoring and assessment reports and data
- Zumbro River Watershed: Stressor Identification Report (wq-ws5-07040004a)
- Zumbro River Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report (wq-ws3-07040004b)
- Zumbro River Watershed HSPF Model Development Project Technical Memo (wq-iw9-20o)
- Zumbro River Watershed HSPF Model Development Project Report (wq-iw9-20n)
- DNR watershed priorities for the Zumbro River Watershed (wq-iw9-20p)
- Zumbro River Watershed TMDL (wq-iw7-45e) (EPA approval 2/22/2018)
- Zumbro River Watershed TMDL: EPA approval letter (wq-iw7-45g)
- Zumbro River Watershed WRAPS Report (wq-ws4-39a) (MPCA approval 11/8/2017)
New study shows fish and other aquatic life are faring well in most trout streams in the Zumbro River watershed, but there are water quality issues to work on throughout this area.