Indicators for Ecosystem Health

We collect and analyze water quality data to support and direct improvement projects in areas of highest need. In Minnesota, there is a complex web of organizations working to protect and improve water resources. Our partners, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Three Rivers Park District, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, also monitor water quality throughout the Minnehaha Creek watershed.

Total phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, and water clarity measurements serve as metrics to determine whether a water body is generally healthy or impaired. Excellent, good, poor, or degraded ecosystem health grades indicate the level to which stressors such as phosphorus have impacted the ecosystem. In places with poor or degraded water quality, we work to identify what’s causing impairments, and then implement strategies for improvement with our partners. To learn more about the issues and drivers that result in water quality impairments and the strategies we use to address them across the watershed, visit our watershed strategies page.

Water Quality Dashboard: Click a water body on the map to reveal data below

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Ecosystem Health Key

Exceptional: Indicators show few signs of disturbance or stress. Ecosystem is providing numerous environmental benefits for wildlife and recreation.

Good: Indicators are beginning to show signs of disturbance or moderate stress. Ecosystem is providing environmental benefits for wildlife and recreation.

Poor: Indicators show obvious signs of disturbance and significant stress. Ecosystem is providing limited environmental benefits for wildlife and recreation.

Degraded: Indicators show high levels of disturbance and severe stress. Ecosystem is providing severely reduced benefits for wildlife and recreation.