Water Quality Data and Reports

A collection of information about the Cannon River Watershed including data, reports, assessments and surveys about water quality, aquatic vegetation, fish, and more.  Monitoring is ongoing in the watershed, however, this collection of resources may become out-dated from time to time.  For more recent water quality data collected in the Cannon River Watershed or for data from other watersheds in Minnesota, check out the State of Minnesota Key Water Information (KWI) Catalogue , which lists sites to find water quality data at each of the six state agencies that collect and report on water monitoring data.

Organized by Type and Year: Watershed-wide Reports |  Water Quality Data | Lake Assessment Reports | Lake Vegetation Surveys | Fish Surveys in Lakes | Rivers and Streams

Watershed-Wide Reports

Water Quality Data


Surface Water Assessment Grant Reports – The following reports summarize data collected during a three-year Surface Water Assessment Grant (SWAG).  CRWP assisted the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in assessment of lake and stream water quality in the Cannon River Watershed. For this type of assessment, a thorough suite of measurements were made including chemical and biological parameters which were then used to determine if a water body was meeting its designated use. Those that did not meet their designated uses were listed on the Impaired Waters list for the parameter which needed improvement. Many lakes, streams, and rivers in this watershed were impaired for nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), sediment, and bacteria.

SWAG Executive Summary (pdf) – Executive summary of Surface Water Assessment results

Site Reports – A series of 1-2 page overviews of the findings at each site, organized alphabetically.

2007 – 2010

Upper Cannon Watershed Assessment Project Diagnostic Report 2010 – Assessment of Upper Cannon River for water quality, flow, and pollutants by Le Sueuer County.


Geomorphology and Water Quality of Wolf Creek (pdf) – Studies of geomorphology and water quality in Wolf and Rice Creeks by a team of faculty from multiple colleges (2000).


Water Quality Report  – “Assessment of water quality in streams of the Cannon River Basin” – A study of water quality by a team of authors from St. Olaf College, Northfield Middle School, Environmental Protection Agency, and CRWP.


Water Quality Evaluation in Rice County 1986 (pdf) – Evaluation of surface water quality in Rice County between 1972 and 1986 commissioned by the Rice County Board of Commissioners.  Includes 11 lakes, the Cannon River, and Straight River.


Freshwater Mussels of the Cannon River Drainage_Davis_1987 – Mussels in the Cannon River Watershed by Mike Davis of Minnesota DNR (1987).


Water Quality Evaluation in Rice County 1972 (pdf) – A study by National Biocentric, Inc. of lakes in Rice County (1972).

Lake Assessment Reports

MPCA Lake Assessments

Additional Lake Assessments

  • Cannon Lakes TMDL Summary (pdf) – A report by Joe Pallardy, Mankato State University, summarizing the results of TMDL studies of lakes in the Cannon River Watershed (2008).
  • Upper Cannon Lakes Assessment 2007 (pdf) – Lake monitoring results from 8 lakes by Steve McComas, Blue Water Science.  A report prepared for Le Sueur County (2008).

Lake Vegetation Surveys


Fish Surveys in Lakes


Rivers and Streams

Assessments of water quality in rivers and streams within the watershed.

Cannon River
Rice Creek
Belle Creek
Little Cannon
Trout Brook
Chub Creek
Prairie Creek
Pine Creek


MPCA Lake Assessments:
Lake Vegetation Surveys:
DNR Fish Surveys
Other Reports:


Cannon River Reports:
Rice Creek Reports:
Belle Creek Reports
Little Cannon River
Trout Brook
Other Tributaries

Other Research and Reports

Recently released: Implementing Minnesota’s New Buffer Initiative


A helpful handbook from our friends at the Freshwater Society:

Advice From the Field: Preparing for County-Level Buffer Work