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Water Quality

Minnesota, known as the land of 10,000 lakes, is really the land of over 12,000 lakes, an inland sea, 10.6 million acres of wetlands, the headwaters of the Mississippi, 69,200 miles of natural rivers and streams, and drinkable groundwater. As people build cabins, homes, towns, and cities, the quality of the water often reflects their land use decisions and choices that were made in the past. (The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency estimates that about 40% of all lakes and rivers in the state are biologically "impaired.") Similarly, water can reflect global history and current practices that might alter species compositions and impact lakes, streams, and groundwater. Global warming, atmospheric mercury pollution and acid rain are examples of global impacts. continued…

Featured Content

What's Up With the Watershed Game?What's Up With the Watershed Game?
Here's an update with the highly successful Watershed Game created by Minnesota Sea Grant and many others nine years ago.
Why Ditches MatterWhy Ditches Matter
Roadside ditches require thought, maintenance and, believe it or not, your attention.
E. coli, Enterococci and the Beach NuisanceE. coli, Enterococci and the Beach Nuisance
What do water contact advisories really mean around Lake Superior? It might not be what you think.
Should we worry about microplastics in Lake Superior?Should we worry about microplastics in Lake Superior?
Those tiny plastic pellets that researchers have found in the Great Lakes raise an interesting question.
The Gentle Winter of 2011-2012 and Minnesota's WaterThe Gentle Winter of 2011-2012 and Minnesota's Water
What the unusual winter means for Minnesota's waters.
Plastic Debris and Whale BurpsPlastic Debris and Whale Burps
Curio-cabinet oddities remind us to pick up our trash.
A New Chapter for a Seaside CityA New Chapter for a Seaside City
A new Unified Development Chapter shows that the City of Duluth, Minnesota, is serious about stormwater management.
Aquatic Science Gets HormonalAquatic Science Gets Hormonal
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) affect aquatic animals in ways that trouble ecologists and also concern human health experts.
Mapping the Great Lakes: The GLOS Mapping WorkshopsMapping the Great Lakes: The GLOS Mapping Workshops
New workshops by the Great Lakes Observing System offer useful ways to integrate data for decision-making when planning events (like kayak and fishing trips) on Lake Superior.
Harmful Algae in Minnesota LakesHarmful Algae in Minnesota Lakes: When in Doubt, Stay Out!
Blue-green algae can become toxic. Recognize when to stay out of the water through this summary of workshops Sea Grant hosted about harmful algal blooms. The workshops were the first of their kind in the Great Lakes region to train a variety of audiences.
Scientists Find Bird and Human E. coli in Wild FishScientists Find Bird and Human E. coli in Wild Fish
Fish in the Duluth-Superior Harbor can carry bacteria from other species, which has implications for anglers and beach monitoring programs.
Lake Superior Holds Onto Her Dead ... and Her ToxapheneLake Superior Holds Onto Her Dead ... and Her Toxaphene
Researchers have found that Lake Superior's combination of cold water and bacteria allow it to hold onto toxins.
Mercury more of a problem in Minnesota's northeastern lakesWhy is mercury more of a problem in the gamefish of Minnesota’s northeastern lakes than in other areas?
Why is mercury more of a problem in the gamefish of Minnesota's northerneastern lakes than in other areas?

Featured Initiatives

Water Conservation
Public service messages about conserving water.
Harmful Algal Blooms
We hosted several workshops in 2008 about harmful algal blooms and how to tell if one happens in a lake. This page contains resources and presentations from the workshops, including a webcast.
Lake Superior Streams
Extensive information on Duluth’s 42 named streams as well as those along Minnesota’s North Shore
Water on the Web
This is a web-based national curriculum for colleges and high schools which provides real data, primers, data interpretation and Geographic Information Systems tools and more.
Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS)
GLOS is a project dedicated to providing public access to critical real-time and historical information about the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and interconnecting waterways.
Minnesota Shoreland Management Resource Guide
This Web site provides a range of information, from general to technical, on a variety of subjects related to shoreland management in Minnesota.
From Shore to Shore Newslettter
This newsletter is for Minnesota citizens promoting the health of our rivers & lakes.
Lake Access
Real-time water quality data for anglers, boaters, swimmers, and watershed residents.
Shoreland Education: University of Minnesota Extension
You can help protect and restore Minnesota's waters. Learn how to minimize your impact on your lake or river and keep our waters clean. We offer practical information for property owners, lake associations, landscape professionals, and local government leaders.
Northland NEMO
Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials proogram for Minnesota and Wisconsin.

See Also

AudioWater Quality Audio
Collection of water quality audio.
VideoWater Quality Videos
Collection of water quality videos.
Coastal Communities & Land UseCoastal Communities
Infomation on land use and its affect on water quality.
Resources for EducatorsResources for Educators
Minnesota Sea Grant offers a variety of teaching materials.

Water Quality:

Topic Highlights:


Cynthia Hagley
Environmental Quality Educator
Chris Filstrup
Inland Lakes Specialist

This page last modified on June 04, 2015     © 1996 – 2019 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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