Water Quality Monitoring
One of the most important functions at the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) is to monitor and track changes in the water quality of the Mississippi River and in the local stormwater drainage systems. MWMO monitoring team staff conduct regular, year-round sampling of both river water itself as well as the stormsewers that discharge into the river. The data collected provide a scientific basis for identifying and tracking water quality issues over time. This information is used to help guide public policies and projects designed to control pollution and improve water quality.
The MWMO monitors a 14-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that runs through the urban core of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. We also monitor water quality in the local stormdrain systems, and a small chain of wetlands called the Kasota Ponds. Recently, the MWMO water quality monitoring team has also begun monitoring the effectiveness of selected stormwater best management practices (BMPs) installed throughout the MWMO watershed. Collected samples are analyzed for up to 66 distinct “parameters of concern” — things like bacteria, heavy metals, nutrients and sediment — that affect water quality both here and downstream. The waterbodies in our watershed are classified for different uses like drinking water and aquatic life, and some are impaired for pollutants such as nutrients, chloride, and E. coli. See the Water Use Classifications and Impairments page for more information.
MWMO’s monitoring program began in 2005 with a single monitoring specialist. Today, the MWMO employs a team of full-time and seasonal staff to continuously monitor water quality and quantity in our watershed. We’re implementing advanced technologies and software to track pollution levels over time, and using monitoring data to help develop comprehensive water quantity and quality models for our watershed.
2019 Monitoring Executive Summary (PDF, 0.7 MB, 6 pages)
MWMO Monitoring Activities