Continuous Flow Gauging Station
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD), in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), initiated the gauging station project in 2005. The station collects annual discharge data at the Hiawatha monitoring site upstream from the falls on Minnehaha Creek. The creek was listed as impaired by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2008 because of its chloride levels. In 2010, the MCWD and USGS partnered again to install a conductivity and temperature probes to further monitor chloride levels at the Hiawatha monitoring site.
Accurate discharge data are crucial for calculating stream pollutant loads (e.g., phosphorus, chloride) and for calibrating water quantity/quality models. Collection of year-round discharge data also helps us understand how significant discharge events (e.g., rain-on-snow, early thaws, and storm events) deliver large quantities of sediment, nutrients, and chloride from road salt into streams. Such data can be used to generate the most accurate discharges and loads for the purposes of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) plans and help the MCWD and other municipalities develop ways to protect our streams.