We strive to protect and improve the water quality of our lakes, rivers and streams in Scott County. Working with local watershed districts, we strive to protect these waters by carefully monitoring and recording water quality, flow, turbidity and temperature data. We work to identify existing and potential problems and opportunities for protection, management and development of water resources and related land resources in Scott County.
Water quality concerns arise from a variety of areas such as existing and potential impacts of development, impacts of drainage on water level management, maintaining a safe drinking water supply, industrial and agricultural needs along with fish and wildlife habitat. Our
focus is on stormwater management, groundwater and surface water quality and development pressures.
Ground Water Level Monitoring Program
Since 1944, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has managed a statewide network of groundwater level observation wells (obwells). This program is called the Ground Water Level Monitoring Program, overseen by the DNR Waters Division. In Minnesota; about 750 obwells are being checked through this network. Scott SWCD water quality staff helps collect this data at seven wells every month.
We also partners with the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District (LMRWD) for obwell monitoring. Eighteen wells are monitored in the Savage Fen, a rare wetland complex at the base of the north-facing bluffs in the Minnesota River Valley, the largest calcareous fen of its kind in Minnesota. (A fen is a plant community of wet, seepage sites that have an internal flow of ground water rich in calcium and magnesium bicarbonates and sulfates. These conditions result in the creation of a thick peat base that supports unique plant life. More than 200 various plant species have been found in the Savage Fen – orchids, gentians, sedges and grasses.)
The data from these recordings is then used to assess groundwater resources, determine long-term trends and interpret the impacts of pumping and climate. The readings also help DNR and our staff plan for water conservation, evaluate water conflicts and manage the water resources in the county. Findings for the DNR wells are reported to the DNR Waters Division and are available online for public viewing at www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters. Findings for the Savage Fen wells are located online at http://climate.umn.edu/ground_water_level_LMRWD.
We also partner with Prior Lake/Spring Lake Watershed District, the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization, the Lower MN River Watershed District as well as the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in reporting data and charting trends and problems on local waters. The benefits of this diligence is awareness and education and continuous recordkeeping and problem identification and investigation.
Scott County is blessed with an abundance of water resources, with lakes and streams located within its boundaries, with land uses that range from urban developments to rural farms/livestock operations – all having a direct or indirect effect on these ways.
- Scott County is bordered on the west and north by the Minnesota River.
- Drainage of Scott County is primarily serviced by three tributaries of the Minnesota River -- Sand Creek, Credit River and Roberts Creek and two tributaries of the Mississippi River -- Chub Creek and the Vermillion River.
- Approximately 26,688 acres are in the floodplain of these watercourses and adjacent wetland basins in Scott County.
- There are 106 DNR Public Waters and 206 DNR Public Waters Wetland in Scott County covering 16,846 acres.
- There are approximately 4,916 other wetlands covering 19,580 acres in the County.
- There are 289 miles of DNR Public Watercourses and 213 miles of other public and private ditches in Scott County.
Lower Minnesota Valley Watershed District
Prior Lake/Spring Lake Watershed District
Scott Watershed Management Organization
Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization
Studies, Reports, and Data
2009-2018 Scott WMO Comprehensive Water Resource Management Plan
Sand Creek Water Resource Investigation
Cedar Lake and McMahon (Carls) Lake TMDL Implementation Plan (Draft)
Credit River TMDL - Turbidity
For more information, Katie Wigen at the Scott SWCD office.