Rivers and Streams Data for Minnesota

Aerial photo of rivers and streams with streams vector lineworkIn addition to its lakes, Minnesota's 92,000 miles of rivers and streams are a very important resource. This page references GIS datasets such as the National Hydrography Dataset, and DNR 1:24,000 streams and trout streams layers, and the FEMA Floodways database. Links are provided to the DNR/PCA Cooperative Stream Gaging Program, USGS real-time river gage data, and PCA stream water quality assessments.
 

Categories

Hydrography: GIS and mapping data of rivers and streams, also including stream gage and floodway information

Quality: Both GIS and non-GIS data concerned with river and stream water quality

General: Miscellaneous river and stream data

 

Hydrography/Bathymetry

Name

Source*

Geographic Area

Scale

Time Period

Data Type

Description

National Hydrography Dataset USGS Nationwide 1:24,000 Current Vector GIS

The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) is a national framework database of digital surface water features that are combined into "reaches"  and a reach addressing system that provides a way to link water-related data to the surface drainage network. These links also enable the display and analysis of water data in upstream and downstream order. 

DNR 24K Streams

DNR

Statewide 1:24,000 1980 Vector GIS
The state's stream network has been captured from USGS 7.5-minute (1:24,000-scale) map sheets and aligned with the DNR 1:24,000 Lakes data. Data are available via the DNR Data Deli and are tiled by DNR Major Watershed (USGS Subbasin).
Minnesota Trout Streams DNR Fisheries Statewide 1:24,000 2002 Vector GIS

This file is a subset of the DNR 1:24,000 Streams file that contains all Minnesota designated trout streams along with associated information. The data is downloadable via the DNR Data Deli.

FEMA Floodways

FEMA

60 counties in Minnesota 1:24,000 Various Vector GIS
The Q3 Flood Data are derived from the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) published by FEMA. FIRM is the basis for floodplain management, mitigation, and insurance activities for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The data exists only within developed areas in 60 Minnesota counties. It is downloadable from the DNR Data Deli.
FEMA Flood Map Modernization

FEMA

In progress 1:24,000 Various Vector GIS
As part of a national 5-year map modernization effort, FEMA floodplain maps are being updated. If available, newer flood elevation data are being used, and newer elevation data (topography) are being used to draw the boundaries of the floodplain. Digital files are downloadable from the DNR Data Deli.
Statewide Altered Watercourse Project

MPCA, MnGeo

In progress 1:24,000 Current Vector GIS
Stream channel modification (i.e. straightening of stream channels, removal of oxbows and dredging) is a significant source of habitat destruction in many freshwater ecosystems.  MPCA needs a more accurate quantification of the extent of altered stream miles throughout the state to support its  water quality assessment program.   MPCA and  MnGeo have developed a methodology to categorize streams as 'natural', 'altered', or 'impounded'.  This categorization  will be applied to all Minnesota streams in the National Hydrography Dataset.
DNR/PCA Cooperative Stream Gaging website DNR, PCA Statewide Various Current Web Application

This website provides access to (provisionally) current and historical stream level and quantity data from gage sites maintained through the DNR/PCA Cooperative Stream gaging network.

USGS Real Time Water Data for Minnesota

USGS

Statewide Various Current Web Application, Table
Website contains web map application of Daily Streamflow Conditions at USGS gages throughout Minnesota as well as links to streamflow, precipitation and ground-water tables.
Major Minnesota Rivers

DNR, LMIC

Statewide 1:24,000 1981 Vector GIS
This file represents stream centerline traces for the 52 most significant rivers in the state.  It was derived from the River Kilometer Index Database created by the Minnesota DNR (see link below). The file provides a generalized river mapping file for large-area representation.
River Kilometer Index Database

DNR

Statewide 1:24,000 1981 Vector GIS
These files are the outcome of an early state rivers digitization effort. The Stream Trace Files represent stream trace centerlines of Minnesota rivers while the River Mile Points were derived from these traces. Data are tiled by DNR major watershed but the data download includes the entire state.
Digital Line Graph (DLG) Hydrography USGS Statewide 1:100,000 Various Vector GIS

This dataset represents all features represented as streams or rivers on the USGS 1:100,000-scale topographic map series. These data were extracted from the USGS 1:100,000-scale DLG data set using hydrography codes, converted to Arc/Info, then edge-matched and assigned with state river identifiers. Customization of this dataset for Minnesota was done by LMIC and  DNR.

National Atlas Water Data

USGS

North America 1:2,000,000 Various Vector GIS, Table, GeoTIFF
This link opens the Water category of the National Atlas Data Catalog where generalized water data such as 'Streams and Waterbodies' may be downloaded.

Bathymetric Data for the Upper Mississippi River System

USGS

Upper Mississippi River Various Various Raster and Vector GIS, Maps
The Long Term Resource Monitoring Program at the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center has overseen the collection, processing, and serving of bathymetric data since 1989.

 

Quality

Name

Source*

Geographic Area

Scale

Time Period

Data Type

Description

Streams and Rivers

PCA

Statewide Various Current Text
This page provides links to various PCA stream water quality programs and data including the Citizen Stream Monitoring Program, Clean Water Partnership Program and stream assessments.
305b Assessments of Stream Conditions

PCA

Statewide Various 2006 Text, PDF, Web Application, Vector GIS
Section 305b of the U.S. Clean Water Act requires states to estimate how well they meet the goals of the Clean Water Act as well as their own water quality standards and to share this information with people involved with watershed management. This webpage contains links to stream water quality assessment reports and interactive maps showing suitability of the streams for swimming, aquatic life and consumption. A statewide shapefile of 2006 stream assessments is also available for download. 
How's My Waterway?

EPA

Nationwide Various Current Web Application
Learn the condition of local streams, lakes and other waters quickly and in plain language using a smart phone, tablet or desktop computer. See if local waterways were checked for pollution, what was found, and what is being done. Information source: State water quality monitoring reports.

 

General

Name

Source*

Geographic Area

Scale

Time Period

Data Type

Description

General Rivers and Streams Information

DNR

Statewide N/A Current Text
The main DNR webpage that contains links to river and stream facts, FAQs, recreation, stewardship, and studies information.
Reach/Watercourse Standard MnGeo Hydrography Committee Statewide N/A 2006 Text

This standard has been developed to improve the sharing and exchange of information regarding river reaches and watercourses. It designates the reach and watercourse codes to be used for Minnesota rivers, streams, and ditches in GIS and other data applications.

DNR Data Deli Catalog

DNR

Statewide N/A Current Vector GIS
This webpage lists all the links to DNR data available for download from their Data Deli. Look under Hydrography for water resource data.

*Source abbreviations:

  • DNR = Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (may be followed by the division name, e.g., "Waters" for "Division of Waters")
  • EPA = United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • FEMA = Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • LMIC = Minnesota Land Management Information Center (now MnGeo)
  • PCA = Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • USGS = United States Geological Survey
Geographic Data Clearinghouse