OFR14-02, Geologic controls on groundwater and surface water flow in southeastern Minnesota and its impact on nitrate concentrations in streams

Project: Research project

Project Details


This report summarizes the results of a Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) investigation conducted for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) designed to support watershed planning efforts in southeast Minnesota. Specifically it provides better understanding of the geologic controls on nitrate transport in the region, including nitrate in groundwater that is the source of baseflow to streams. Nitrate contamination of surface water and groundwater is a long- standing issue in southeastern Minnesota. We focused much of our investigation on an evaluation of nitrate (NO3 ion) transport in the Root River watershed because of the relatively advanced understanding of the karstic conditions in that area. However, the overall scope of the project includes the entire bedrock-dominated landscape of southeast Minnesota. Our results therefore support a broader MPCA watershed planning effort that directly pertains to the Root River, as well as to other watersheds within the Lower Mississippi River Basin in Minnesota.
Effective start/end date6/1/136/1/14


  • groundwater
  • paleozoic
  • nitrate
  • streams
  • Minnesota
  • surface water
  • water
  • geology
  • bedrock


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