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New videos highlight groundwater and nitrate movement in southeast Minnesota

September 17, 2020  By Ground Water Canada

This video is part of a series that highlights the geology and complex movement of groundwater in southeast Minnesota. This animation complements a 3D poster and additional videos that can be found on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website at Video courtesy Minnesota Department of Agriculture

St. Paul, Minn. – In a new educational video series, the movement of groundwater in southeast Minnesota 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.

The flow of groundwater in southeast Minnesota is fascinating and complex because the unique geology is like no other area of the state, the Department of Agriculture said in a news release.

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 also are 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:

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