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New Videos Highlight Groundwater and Nitrate Movement in Southeast Minnesota


September 16, 2020

St. Paul, MN: The flow of groundwater in southeast Minnesota is fascinating and complex because the unique geology is like no other area of the state. In a new educational video series, the movement of groundwater is explored and brought to life using a unique approach that combines realistic graphics, animation, and aerial footage of the region’s geology. By understanding how groundwater moves through the soil and various layers of rock, viewers can better understand how water-soluble contaminants like nitrate-nitrogen can enter drinking water wells and streams.

Combining animation with local science, these videos help show the direct connections between groundwater and surface water, explain why certain wells are more vulnerable to nitrate contamination, and why nitrate levels are slowly increasing in certain streams. Although this project focuses on different landscapes in the Root River Watershed, the information can be applied throughout southeast Minnesota and Driftless Area of the Upper Midwest. High resolution graphics and short, two-minute animations are also available.

These educational materials are the result of a collaborative effort between partners including the Root River Field to Stream Partnership, Minnesota Geological Survey, county and state agencies, University of Minnesota Extension, and input from local well drillers, farmers, and rural homeowners. Funding for this project was provided by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Fund and a grant from the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council.

The five short videos and three graphics can be found at, or view each video using the links below:

• How Groundwater Moves in Southeast Minnesota [Part 1]

• How Contaminants (Like Nitrate) Move in Southeast Minnesota [Part 2]

• How Groundwater Moves in the Glacial Till Landscape (short animation)

• How Groundwater Moves in the Karst Landscape (short animation)

• How Groundwater Moves in the Bluffland Karst Landscape (short animation)


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