Surface Water Technical Analysis Program

Jim Solstad, Surface Water Hydrologist, (651) 259-5711

Description | Clientele, Products and Services | Information Management | Staff


The Surface Water Technical Analysis Program exists to support the DNR Waters director and staff by providing expertise on the hydrologic and hydraulic aspects of water resources management issues.


The program provides technical support to DNR Waters, which has been delegated authority from the DNR commissioner for administering the majority of the state water law contained in Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 103G. Chapter 103G gives the commissioner authority to regulate work in public waters; control the appropriation and use of water; ensure the safety of dams; and conduct water resource surveys, investigations, and studies.

Specifically, Section 103G.111 authorizes the director of DNR Waters to act as the state's expert on hydrology and hydraulics: "The director may appear for the state in any matter or proceeding affecting waters of the state to give hydrologic and hydraulic engineering advice and information in connection with the proceeding."

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Clientele, Products, and Services

Primary clientele include DNR Waters field hydrologists, other DNR Waters units, and other DNR units. Informal requests for technical services or information are usually initiated by a telephone call and are generally responded to within one day. Informal requests are given high priority when the director or other DNR Waters staff person needs a quick response or when the request comes from a member of the public or other external customer. Formal requests are submitted in writing on a "Requisition for Surface Water/Hydrographics Services" form. They are usually initiated by an area hydrologist, reviewed by the regional hydrologist, and approved by the Surface Water Unit supervisor. Formal service requests are often complex and are discussed with the requester to determine appropriate project scope and timetable. Required field surveys are coordinated with the Hydrographics Unit supervisor in writing. Coordination with the requester is maintained throughout the project. The technical work product generated by a formal service request is transmitted to the requester by memorandum or report and is filed in either the lake, river, or land use files.

Products provided by the Surface Water Technical Analysis Program include:

  • technical reports analyzing hydrologic and hydraulic issues and making management recommendations,
  • hydrologic and hydraulic computer modeling output, and
  • watershed maps for specialized applications.

Services provided by the program include the following:

  • hydrologic modeling using HEC-1, TR-20, HEC-HMS, and other programs;
  • hydraulic modeling using HEC-2, HEC-RAS, HY-8, and other programs;
  • unsteady flow modeling using UNET and DAMBRK;
  • calculation of stage-discharge rating curves and surface water profiles;
  • lake water budget computer modeling and analysis;
  • analysis and hydraulic design of culverts, bridges, open channels, and lake outlet control structures;
  • technical review and analysis of breakwater structures, drainage projects, and floodplain studies;
  • watershed delineation;
  • stream discharge estimates; and
  • hydrologic and hydraulic training for DNR Waters staff.

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Information Management

The Surface Water Technical Analysis Program maintains two basic information systems: a service request tracking system and a hydrologic and hydraulic modeling data file system.

The service request tracking system is a means of recording approved formal service requests. It is maintained in both manual and electronic formats. The tracking system is maintained by the Surface Water Unit supervisor with assistance from program lead workers. The hydrologic and hydraulic modeling data file system contains the output data files generated from hydrologic and hydraulic modeling programs and is also managed by the senior hydrologist.

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The Surface Water Technical Analysis Program is staffed by two full-time positions: a principal engineer, and a senior hydrologist. Both positions require certification as a licensed professional engineer in Minnesota. Five other full-time staff positions in the Surface Water Unit also assist in performing technical analyses. One student intern is normally hired full-time during the summer months and part-time during the school year.

Program Personnel

Program personnel are the following:

If you are unable to reach the above program personnel, contact: