Water protection and planning
Ensuring sustainable water supply and quality
Why is this important?
Water is at the heart of Minnesotan's connection with the outdoors. Lakes, rivers, and streams provide places to swim, boat, fish, hunt, and play. Surface water and ground water sustain homes, farms, businesses, and communities. Abundant clean water is essential for quality drinking water and to support the healthy populations of fish and wildlife that are at the core of our multi-billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry. Landscape changes from growth, development, and land management practices alter the quantity and quality of our waters. Climate change threatens to increase storm severity, runoff, and flood damage. Working with partners, DNR plays a vital role in helping Minnesota achieve water sustainability.
As we address ongoing and emerging demands on water supply and quality, DNR is building on its water management strengths and improving the effectiveness of its programs to protect water.
Mapping and Monitoring: Mapping and monitoring of ground water and stream flow provides state, local, and private partners with up-to-date information needed for water supply planning and long-term protection of water. It also provides citizens with information they can use to help make decisions about the future of our water resources.
Clean Water Legacy: DNR is helping implement the 2006 Minnesota Clean Water Legacy Act by boosting lake and stream monitoring and assessments and expanding our efforts to help communities meet water quality standards.
Refining Regulations: DNR is evaluating, refining, and applying regulatory tools to conserve water supply and promote land and water-use practices that protect water quality.
Integrated Resource Management: Water issues can no longer be treated as isolated problems. Private lands and community assistance, strategic outreach, and other programs all play important roles in protecting water supplies and improving water quality. DNR is working to create a more explicit link between its land management activities and their impact on water conservation.
Learn about how the DNR is ensuring sustainable water supply and quality.
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Clean Water Legacy goals
We are expanding our network of lake and stream gages to provide data for hydrological analysis that is critical for attaining Clean Water Legacy goals.
We conducted open houses across the state to gather local input for improved shoreland standards.
New method to assess health of lakes
We are developing a new method to assess the health of lakes to help meet Clean Water Legacy goals. This method combines the Section of Fisheries' traditional fish survey results with additional samples collected along the shore.
Land management practices
The use of riparian management zones and buffer strips is an important land management practice for protecting water quality and terrestrial and aquatic habitat.
Long term desired outcomes
- Landowners, businesses, local units of government, and state and federal agencies receive information and assistance to make well informed decisions for water sustainability.
- Ground water and surface water are used in a way that does not degrade them for future generations.
- Healthy, natural systems provide more ecological, economic, and recreational benefits.