Water Quality in the Upper Mississippi River Basin Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Iowa, and North Dakota, 1995–98

THIS REPORT summarizes major findings about water quality in part of the Upper Mississippi River Basin (referred to as the Study Unit in this report) that emerged from an assessment conducted from 1995 to 1998 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. Water quality is discussed in terms of local and regional issues and compared to conditions in 36 NAWQA study areas, called study units, assessed to date. Findings are also explained in the context of selected national benchmarks, such as those for drinking water quality and the protection of aquatic organisms. The NAWQA Program was not intended to assess the quality to the Nation's drinking water, such as by monitoring water from household taps. Rather, the assessments focus on the quality of the resource itself, thereby complementing many ongoing Federal, State, and local drinking-water monitoring programs. The comparisons made in this report to drinking-water standards and guidelines are only in the context of the available untreated resource. Finally, this report includes information about the status of aquatic communities and the condition of in-stream habitat as elements of the complete water-quality assessment. Many topics covered in this report reflect the concerns of officials of State and Federal agencies, water-resource managers, and members of stakeholder groups who provided advice and input during the Study Unit assessment. Basin residents who wish to know more about water quality in the areas where they live will find this report informative as well.
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U.S. Geological Survey
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
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Creative Commons