Watershed Health Assessment Framework is supported by MN DNR staff in the Division of Ecological and Water Resources; River Ecology Unit.
Staff Contact Information:
- Project Sponsor
- Ian Chisholm, River Ecological Unit Supervisor, MN DNR Central Office; (651) 259-5080
- WHAF Project Coordinator
- Beth Knudsen; MN DNR Lake City Area Office; (651) 345-3331 ext 228
- WHAF GIS Analyst and Data Lead
- Ben Gosack, MN DNR Central Office; (651) 259-5167
- WHAF Map Application Developer
- Kitty Hurley, MN DNR Central Office; (651) 259-5485
- WHAF Data Analyst and Statistician
- Dan O'Shea, River Ecologist, MN DNR Central Office, (651) 259-5127
Contact the WHAF Team: [email protected]
The WHAF Project was initiated in 2005. Exploring relationships between flowing water and landscape conditions is central to understanding watershed systems. A framework of five ecological components (Annear, et al., 2002); was adapted from exploring river health and expanded for exploring watershed health from multiple perspectives.
The project progressed from exploring information to assessing watershed health. To address this challenge, a suite of health index scores based on the five components was developed from 2008-2010 under a contract with U of MN staff, led by Dr. Paul Bolstad (Department of Forestry) and Dr. Bruce Vondracek (Fish and Wildlife Co-op Unit) with contributions from Perry Nacionales, GIS Research Scientist; and graduate students Bethany Blick and Hiabo Wan.
A new online map delivery platform was developed as the scale and scope of the health index scores expanded. By embedding watershed boundaries at various spatial scales into the map, users could explore health scores, GIS data layers and base imagery together in ways that exposed new relationships between local conditions to statewide challenges.
The WHAF Team continues to grow the project in new ways; to use the WHAF as a place to learn and adapt as we support Minnesota's efforts to be resilient and healthy into the future.