Minnesota River Basin Interagency Study Finalized

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, announced last week that the Minnesota River Basin Interagency Study is complete and available to the public. 

The study area spanned 16,770 square miles and 37 counties.

The intent of the study was to understand water, sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus transport across large landscapes in order to evaluate hydrologic, sediment and nutrient runoff response to historic, existing and probable future conditions. Numerous federal, tribal, state, local, nonprofit and academic entities participated in the study, said USACE.

The investigation evaluated hydrologic and ecological response to land cover change. The results were compared to Minnesota’s Minnesota River Basin water quality standards to understand how the state could achieve their water quality goals.

According to USACE, these results proved the challenge of meeting water quality goals in the basin and emphasized that collaboration through watershed planning will be required to make improvements in the basin.

Recommendations for action in the report, titled “Our Minnesota River: Evaluating the Health of the River,” are supported by the Minnesota River Basin Interagency Study modeling results. The study found that the most critical needs are for actions to store water on the landscape using best practices, build soil health and stabilize ravine erosion.