Watershed Context Reports

The WHAF Context Reports provide a consistent overview of ecological and human systems in each of the 81 Major Watershed in Minnesota.  By reviewing this information, you may discover conditions that influence watershed health, increase or decrease sensitivity to risks, show the distribution of human infrastructure, and reveal population trends.  This context will help you interpret and address health challenges facing the watershed.

Select Your Watershed Context Report (5-10 MB)

The Watershed Context Reports are designed as a companion document for exploring watershed health with the WHAF interactive map.  You can select the report for any watershed directly from the link above, or from inside the WHAF map.  Select the watershed you are interested in from the 'Major Watershed' drop down menu, and then select 'Context Report'.

Context Report link from WHAF app

It is important to view the Context Reports together with Watershed Health Scores, other data and across spatial scales to more fully explore health patterns. 

How are the Context Reports organized?

Each Major Watershed has a 16 page report divided into three sections:

Physical Characteristics

The first section delivers information about the 'lay of the land'; unique physical properties and ecological characteristics. This includes:

  • Patterns in elevation and slope
  • Distribution of ecological communities
  • Watershed hydrologic position
  • Soil physical properties
  • Groundwater sensitivity
  • Precipitation and temperature

Landscape Alteration

The second section delivers information about historic and current land cover and alterations to water features.  This includes:

  • Historic Landscape
  • Current land cover
  • Crop data
  • Habitats of Biodiversity Significance
  • Change in water storage

Human Aspects

The third section delivers information about human population and infrastructure.  This includes:

  • Population density and change
  • Transporation networks
  • Impervious surfaces

Each report also includes an Appendix of GIS Data Sources.  Clicking on a link in the appendix will launch the WHAF web map, with the data from that page loaded and ready to use.  Use the interactive map to explore the information further, create custom maps or check on a new location.  



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