Minnesota is defined by abundant water. Along with our many lakes, we also have 90,000 miles of rivers and streams that provide enormous recreational, economic and ecological benefits.
Over the past 200 years, the majority of our natural waterways and our native land cover has been altered to accommodate urban, agricultural, forestry and industrial uses. This context of altered landscapes is an important backdrop for the River Ecology Unit (REU) as we work to understand and improve the health of Minnesota’s rivers and watersheds.
Learn more about Minnesota rivers
- Resources for understanding our streams and watersheds
- Are Minnesota Streams Healthy?
- Resource Sheet 1: Streambank Erosion and Restoration
- Resource Sheet 2: The Value and Use of Vegetation
- Stream Restoration: Toe Wood-Sod Mat
- River science and restoration workshops
- River Science Workshops
- Current Workshops and Registration Form
- River Health and Restoration Workshop Brochure
Email Amy Childers with any questions or to express interest in any of our workshops (Note: workshops offered according to interest).
- River-related reports, research, and databases
- Reconnecting Rivers: Natural Channel Design in Dam Removals and Fish Passage
- Barrier Effects on Native Fishes of Minnesota
- Minnesota Watercourse Morphology Dataset
- Habitat Suitability Criteria for Stream Fishes and Mussels of Minnesota
- Stream Crossings (culverts): Assessment and Ranking Guidelines
- Appendix A: Case Studies of Streamflow
- Appendix to the Water Availability and Assessment Report
River Ecology Unit work areas
The REU work units each focus on different aspects of river ecology and watershed health. Our staff monitor and manage aquatic species, participate in dam removals and design stream restorations, deliver watershed health information, collect data on culverts and river morphology, and partner with USGS on monitoring and improving habitat on the Upper Mississippi River. Our staff also provide workshops and trainings to share this wealth of information with others.
Fish habitat research for water management
The Geomorphic Approach
- The Geomorphic Approach to Infrastructure Design at Road-Watercourse Intersections
- Kevin Zytkovicz, River Specialist, 651-259-5151
Center for Aquatic Mollusk Programs (CAMP)
- Mussels of Minnesota
- Statewide mussel survey
- Kathryn Holcomb , Mussel Program Supervisor, 651-314-6307
River restoration projects and research
- Stream Restoration Priority List
- Neil Haugerud, River Scientist, 218-671-7936
Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program
Watershed Health Assessment Framework
- Watershed Health Assessment Framework (WHAF)
- WHAF Online Map
- Beth Knudsen, Watershed Health Assessment Coordinator, 651-299-4022