Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Minnesota state government agency charged with the health of the environment, water quality and the agricultural economy.
Minnesota is home to a large agricultural industry with more than 25 million acres of land utilized for numerous farming practices.
The state has more surface water than any other of the 48 contiguous states. The headwaters of the Mississippi River are located in Minnesota and 680 miles of the river’s length flow through the state.
A considerable proportion of Minnesota’s 81,000 farms are responsible for adding significant levels of sediment into the state’s many streams, lakes and rivers, including the Mississippi.
Agricultural run-off may contain a mixture of contaminants, including high levels of nitrates. As the water drains from the fields, these pollutants enter streams, rivers and lakes. Surface water may be tainted by health-threatening pesticides, fertilizer, sediment and bacteria while stream flow can also be severely affected.
In order to determine the volume and origins of contaminants, the agency sought to sample agricultural runoff at a number of sites.
Strategically placed FTS SedEvent stations are collecting data from water as it flows from agricultural land. Positioned on slopes or terraces at field perimeters, the stations gather water samples to determine the volumes of manure, pesticides, fertilizers and slow soil erosion that are potentially entering waterways via streams and groundwater.