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St. Paul District
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St. Paul MN 55101

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Posted 2/27/2015

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Updated March 2018


Location/Description

The Minnesota River originates in southwestern Minnesota at the Minnesota-South Dakota border.  It drains 16,770 square miles in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa.  It flows 335 miles to join the Mississippi River at Mendota, MN, just south of St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN.

Since European settlement, native prairie has been replaced by agriculture and urban development.  The hydrology of the basin has been significantly altered, leading to increased erosion, impaired water quality, substantial sediment and nutrient loads, and degraded aquatic ecosystems in the Minnesota River, Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.

The integrated watershed study will produce a watershed management assessment and decision support toolbox to aid water and land managers in the basin.  This assessment will examine existing conditions, forecast future conditions and simulate alternatives to identify condition that are ecologically sustainable, economically sound and socially desirable.
The decision support toolbox will address watershed, water quality and ecosystem restoration needs at both small and large watershed scales.  The study will integrate the efforts of local, state, federal and tribal agencies.  Public involvement will be conducted to ensure that the plan reflects the diverse perspectives of interested stakeholders.

Status

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board entered into a feasibility cost share agreement for the study September 29, 2008.  An interagency study team has been formed to coordinate the study activities and oversee technical analysis of the basin.  The study team has focused on detailed modeling efforts on portions of the Norway Lake (Kandiyohi County) and Seven Mile Creek (Nicollet County) sub-basins.  From these models, the study team began to scale up the assessments to the different geographic regions of the watershed and determine how various land and water management measures could be used effectively throughout the basin to reduce erosion, sedimentation, and flooding and improve water quality and habitat.  The study is expected to be finalized in June 2018. 

Authority

The study is authorized by a resolution of the Committee on Public Works of the U.S. House of Representatives on May 10, 1962 to determine the advisability of further improvements in the Minnesota River Basin for navigation, flood risk management, recreation, low flow augmentation and other related water and land resources.

Fiscal

Estimated federal cost                           $4.52 million
Estimated non-federal cost                    $4.52 million

Total estimated cost                               $9.04 million

Federal funds allocated to date:  $4.52 million.

Integrated Watershed Study Minnesota River sediment St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers