Wetlands Hydrology Monitoring

bog, part of the hydrology monitoringMonitored bog at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park.

Effective wetland management and restoration requires a fundamental understanding of the frequency, timing, duration, and depth of water level fluctuations in different types of wetlands -- the hydrologic regime. Wetlands depend on surface and groundwater that can be affected by Minnesota’s water appropriations (MN DNR Groundwater Thresholds Project). The hydrology of lakes, streams and groundwater has been systematically monitored for decades, yet there have been few comprehensive programs to monitor wetland hydrology. To address this lack of foundational data, we are building a network of 60 reference (minimally disturbed) wetland sites across Minnesota to monitor hydrology. Data collected from the network will be used to develop “target hydrographs”, illustrating normal, infrequent, and rare water levels for a given wetland type.

Sites will span the ecological provinces of Minnesota as well as common wetland types, including deep marsh, shallow marsh, fen, wet meadow, forested/shrub swamp, bog, and forested/shrub floodplain. Sites are located on public land, have limited impacts on their hydrology and have relatively high-quality plant communities.

We are collecting hydrology data using shallow wells. Inside the wells are transducers that record water elevation every 15 minutes. We download the data twice per year. We have also conducted vegetation surveys at the first 20 sites.

bog, part of the hydrology monitoringWe currently have 43 sites at 31 land management units.

staff monitoring wetland

Wetland hydrology monitoring report (2023)
The Minnesota Wetland Hydrology Network (WHyN) was established by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to collect long-term data on hydrologic regimes of reference condition wetlands. Wetland Hydrology Monitoring (34mb)

bog, part of the hydrology monitoringMonitoring well at Lake Maria State Park.

For more information and preliminary data please contact:

Jennie Skancke
Wetlands Program Consultant
Conservation Management and Rare Resources
[email protected]

Amy Kendig
Biometrician/Wetland Research Scientist
Minnesota Biological Survey
[email protected]

Funding for this project was provided by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grant CD-00E02438 and the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

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