Click here to view the video on the River Clean-up
The Minnesota River has long had a pattern of flooding, changing its course through the river bottoms and nearly drying up during times of drought. Native American settlements moved in accordance with these conditions without impacting the river.
Starting in the 19th century, permanent rivertown settlements and large scale agriculture began to change the quality of the water of the river and how it flowed during times of high water. Starting in the 1930's, the State Health Department began monitoring the river's water quality whose problems were determined to be due to riverside dumps and direct discharge of sewage into the river. The Army Corps of Engineers also began undertaking flood control measures in the Basin.
Since the early 1990's, a collaborative effort has been underway in Minnesota to reduce the sources of both point and non point pollution sources for the Minnesota River. This effort involves state and local environmental agencies, soil and water conservation districts, county governments, colleges, and universities and citizen organizations. Large amounts of data have been collected from the 12 major watersheds for river improvement. The Water Resources Center of Minnesota State University Mankato operates the Minnesota River Data Center which provides guidance to the availability of data on the river and assistance in developing maps of portions of the River Basin using GIS techniques. The river Data Center provides website links to all agencies involved in the effort to make the Minnesota River fishable and swimable for Basin residents and visitors.