New DNR app gives people chance to help with groundwater research


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A new web-based app developed by the Department of Natural Resources gives people the ability to submit reports on the location of springs in Minnesota.

The data will help researchers with important groundwater research.

Water flows from a spring in a natural cave

A spring is any natural flow of water from an aquifer–an underground layer of rock–to the Earth’s surface. “We can’t protect something we don’t know is there,” said DNR research scientist Jim Berg. “We need a better inventory of springs in Minnesota, and this new app is the tool to improve the inventory.”

Reported springs will be loaded into the database and then verified by DNR staff. The contact information users enter will help with confirmation, allow the DNR to seek permission for access to verify reports, and notify people when the spring they reported is on the map.

Spring location and reporting is important because springs create and sustain vital ecosystems. They can indicate groundwater health and help protect against invasive species. Land stability and building integrity depend on knowing where springs are located. Trout streams and other coldwater fisheries, calcareous fens, and many streams and lakes require springs. Springs also have aesthetic and historical value that creates a special sense of place for residents and visitors.

The DNR spring reporting app runs on Android, iOS and Windows, by searching for “Minnesota DNR Spring Inventory.” People can also submit spring reports via email at mnspringinventory@state.mn.us.

More information about the app, how to use it and how the DNR will use the information is available on the spring inventory page.

Funding for the project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.