The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will collect and analyze water samples from about 90 wells in Winona County this summer.
The data are being collected for the Winona County Geologic Atlas, a joint effort of the Minnesota Geological Survey, the DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division, and Winona County Planning and Environmental Services.
DNR staff will contact Winona County residents to request permission for well sampling, which involves collecting a water sample and measuring the depth to water in each well. Tests will also show how long the water has been underground. Geology, location, well depth and well construction will determine the selection of wells for sampling. Owners of sampled wells will receive a report of the laboratory results for their well.
Preserving the long-term quality of the region’s surface water and groundwater requires that policy makers have access to accurate information based on sound scientific principles. A county geologic atlas is a valuable tool used by county planners, resource managers and other local government staff when making general planning, land use management and water resource protection decisions.
The Minnesota Geological Survey has already published Part A of the atlas, which illustrates details of each county’s geology. In 2018, the DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division will publish the groundwater portion of the atlas (Part B). The Part B reports will include maps and descriptions of the hydrogeology, cross sections illustrating groundwater conditions, and the pollution sensitivity of groundwater in the county.
The DNR County Geologic Atlas Program is funded in part by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Funding also comes from the Clean Water Fund, which receives 33 percent of the sales tax revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment approved by voters in November 2008.
A full description of this DNR program and status reports for atlas products is available online.