In the News: Project featured in The Farmer, July 2016.
Real time weather and monitoring data: Available from the Root River Field to Stream Partnership monitoring stations.
Project Brochure: Root River Field to Stream Partnership (PDF: 7.4 MB / 2 pages).
2010-2015 Data: Field Runoff Lessons Learned (PDF: 885 KB / 2 pages)
The Root River Partnership is designed to help southeastern Minnesota farmers and policy-makers better understand the relationship between
agricultural practices and water quality.
The Root River Watershed is located in southeastern Minnesota. It is approximately 1 million acres in size and encompasses diverse landscape features. There are three distinct geologic landscapes within the Root River watershed. For this reason, monitoring is targeted to one subwatershed within each of the three geologic landscapes. At least one edge-of-field and one in-stream monitoring station is located in each of the three distinct geologic landscapes of the Root River watershed.
Western portion (Eroded Till): flat agricultural land, gently sloping glacial till
Middle portion (Karst): characterized by karst geology: distinct features include this soil over fractured limestone bedrock, sinkholes and underground caves
Eastern portion (Bluffland): landscape transitions into bluffs along the Mississippi River Valley
Edge-of-field sites provide information about the amount of soil and nutrients moving off a given field into an adjacent waterway. In addition to measuring surface water runoff, equipment has been installed at one station to also measure sub-surface tile drainage. Each site captures water from an area of between 18 and 96 acres.
Four edge-of-field sites have been installed. The monitoring equipment is located at the edge of actual working farms. Each site is fully automated to collect water samples whenever runoff occurs as well as to continuously collect data on soil temperature and moisture, precipitation and ambient weather conditions. Water samples are analyzed for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. In addition, water moving through the soil and below the root zone of growing crops is monitored for nitrate-nitrogen using lysimeters. Monitoring occurs 365 days per year.
There are 81 major watersheds in Minnesota. Within each watershed, there are smaller basins called subwatersheds.
Within the Root River watershed, in-stream monitoring sites are located at the outlet of three subwatersheds. The three subwatersheds are South Branch of the Root River Headwaters, Crystal Creek, and Bridge Creek. Each site captures water from an area of 2,800-4,700 acres. In-stream sites are equipped to continuously monitor stream flow, turbidity and precipitation during ice-free periods.
Approximately 35 samples are collected annually from each subwatershed outlet site. Samples are analyzed for:
Samples are collected by staff from Fillmore and Mower County Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
In-stream samples are used to establish baseline data and determine the long-term (more than 10 years) effects of land management activities employed as part of the project.
In addition to water monitoring, the Root River Field to Stream Partnership is also using eight complementary research tools:
Together these tools and techniques help to characterize water quality and hydrology and represent a comprehensive scientific approach to understanding an entire watershed. For questions about any research activity, please refer to contacts at the end of this page.
Kevin.Kuehner@state.mn.us ~ 507-765-4530
Supervisor, Clean Water Technical Assistance Unit
Margaret.Wagner@state.mn.us ~ 651-201-6488
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), 625 Robert Street N, St. Paul, MN 55155-2538, email@example.com