Rivers, Streams & Lakes Monitoring

Water quality monitoring

River monitoring

Large rivers are monitored for a variety of variables to document long-term changes in water quality and assess and characterize biological communities and riverbed sediments.

See the 2012 River Water Quality Summary (pdf).

Stream monitoring

There are 22 long-term stream monitoring stations in the Twin Cities. The diversity of variables analyzed allows for characterization of the stream and is leading to the development of Target Pollutant Loads.

See the 2012 Stream Water Quality Summary (pdf).

Lake monitoring

MCES monitors lakes to provide a comprehensive database that allows cities, counties and watershed management organizations to better manage these lakes.

Citizen-Assisted Lake Monitoring Program (CAMP)

The Citizen-Assisted Monitoring Program (CAMP) is an MCES managed program where citizen volunteers monitor the water quality of TCMA lakes. A total of 189 CAMP lakes were monitored in 2009. On a bi-weekly basis (April-October), each volunteer collects a surface water sample for laboratory analysis of total phosphorus, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, and chlorophyll-a. They also obtain temperature, Secchi transparency measurements, and provide some user perception information about the lake's physical and recreational condition. The main purpose of CAMP is to provide lake and watershed managers with water quality information that will not only help them properly manage water resources, but will also help document water quality status and trends. An added benefit of the program is the volunteer's increased awareness of their lake's condition, which has fostered local efforts to protect lakes and promote support for lake management.

MCES monitors the quality of treated wastewater that is discharged from its treatment plants. Groundwater monitoring is also conducted at various treatment plants.

Special monitoring projects and studies

Special monitoring projects are conducted in support of water quality goals, often in cooperation with other interested agencies. Monitoring is also conducted in response to accidental wastewater spills or discharges that may affect surface waters in the metropolitan area.

The Metropolitan Council led a cooperative effort to develop a water-quality model of the lower 40 miles of the Minnesota River. Five agencies joined the Council as sponsors, and many local stakeholders were involved. Enhanced monitoring and special field studies were conducted during 2004-2006. The model was developed and tested using extensive data from 1988 and 2001-2006 representing a wide range of river conditions. The Lower Minnesota River Model provides a tool for facility and watershed planning, load allocation studies, and water quality assessments.  For more detailed information, please see Project Highlights or the Project Summary Report. Questions or comments about the LMRM? Please contact Hong Wang at 651.602.1079 or hong.wang@metc.state.mn.us.


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