Groundwater & Drinking Water Protection

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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Clean Water Fund > Groundwater & Drinking Water Protection

Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection


Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection

Groundwater funding from Minnesota's Clean Water Fund is being used for activities that help identify potential sources of nitrate-nitrogen contamination and evaluate and implement practices at the local level to reduce nitrate-nitrogen in groundwater. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is working with many local partners and passing funding through to local government units.

Clean Water Fund projects, programs and activities:    

  • Irrigation Workshops & On Farm Nitrogen Management Program in Central Minnesota
    The MDA has partnered with East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District to carry out a series of workshops and expand on farm programs that promote proper water and nitrogen management.
  • Central Sands Private Drinking Water Well Monitoring Network
    The Central Sands monitoring network is characterizing nitrate-nitrogen levels in private drinking water wells. This network will provide a better understanding of nitrate-nitrogen trends in the region and be used to educate private well owners about the quality of their drinking water.
  • Targeted Township Testing Program
    The MDA has designed this program to determine current nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in private wells. The MDA  plans to test 70,000 private wells, within approximately 250 townships, between 2014 and 2021. This work will be done in close partnership with local government units across the state.
  • Revision of the Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan (NFMP) 
    The NFMP is the state's blueprint for preventing or minimization of  the impacts of nitrogen fertilizer on groundwater. The original plan was developed in 1990 and recently updated. The Commissioner of Agriculture is currently reviewing public comments and considering next steps for the NFMP.  
  • Validating Nitrogen Recommendations and Water Quality Impacts under Irrigated Agriculture 
    The MDA is working with partners on two research projects that will provide a better understanding of nitrogen fertilizer management and the associated water quality impacts on irrigated, sandy soils. One project is located in Westport, Minnesota at the Rosholt Farm and the other is located in Dakota County.
  • Nutrient Management Surveys
    The MDA partners with the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) and University of Minnesota researchers to collect information about fertilizer use and farm management on a regional and statewide scale.
  • Irrigation Water Quality Protection
    This funding supports an irrigation water quality specialist who will develop guidance and provide education on irrigation and nitrogen Best Management Practices (BMPs).This position is located at the University of Minnesota-Extension.

Related webpages: 

Looking for additional water data and information? Check out the Key Water Information Catalogue.

MDA Contacts

Bruce Montgomery
Fertilizer Management Unit Supervisor
Bruce.Montgomery@state.mn.us ~ 651-201-6178

Margaret Wagner
Environmental Outreach Coordinator
Margaret.Wagner@state.mn.us ~ 651-201-6488