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Watershed Management: Lower MN River Watershed District

Lower Minnesota River Watershed District - located along the Minnesota River in several counties; issues include dredging, spoil site acquisition, and bank erosion control.
The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) provides water quality/quantity monitoring for the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District (LMRWD) on a number of water resources within the LMRWD.

The LMRWD contracts with the SWCD to operate a Metropolitan Council established water quality monitoring site on Willow Creek. This site collects continuous stage, flow, temperature, and conductivity data from Willow Creek. Monthly base flow grab samples and event flow composite samples are collected and analyzed for various chemical parameters.

The LMRWD also contracts with the SWCD to monitor 28 groundwater observation wells located in several calcareous fens found along the Minnesota River bottoms. These are unique plant communities of wet, seepage sites that have an internal flow of groundwater rich in calcium and magnesium bicarbonates and sulfates.

Due to their low-lying location in the bottoms, the groundwater that seeps into these fens originates from the bluff and upland areas above the river. Unfortunately, as land development increases and more impervious surfaces are integrated into the landscape, less water is available to recharge the groundwater resources that nourish the fens.

Willow Creek and the fen well monitoring results are available on the LMRWD website.