About the Science of Watershed Health

The science of watershed health is based on a whole-system approach.  Ecological processes interact to provide services such as clean air and water, available groundwater, and diverse plant and animal communities.   The science of health explores how all the parts system work together to provide a "healthy watershed".

Five component framework

In order to explore the watershed system in a consistent, systematic way, the ecological processes have been divided into 5 different components:

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Biology » 

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Connectivity »

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Geomorphology »

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Hydrology »

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Water Quality »


About the five component framework »


Component health scores

A suite of watershed health index scores have been calculated that represent many of the important ecological relationships within and between the components.  These scores are built on statewide GIS data that is compared consistently across Minnesota to provide a baseline health condition report for each of the 81 major watersheds in the state.

5 component health scores »

Explore Watershed Health Assessments

Additional resources