Natural resource systems are summarized into five ecological components: biology, connectivity, hydrology, water quality and geomorphology. A number of different index scores are calculated for each component giving a multifaceted view of watershed health.
Health scores rank the condition of Minnesota's landscapes from 0 (poor health condition, red) to 100 (good health condition, green). This example shows remaining perennial cover.
Health scores are calculated for Minnesota's "major watersheds" (HUC-8), and where possible for DNR catchments (refined HUC-12). Catchments are much smaller units and provide more detailed view of the health scores. In Minnesota there are 81 "Major Watersheds" and over 10,000 catchments.
Clicking on any of the five components on the left side bar opens the various indices of which it consists. Click on each index to view the results on the map. Click on another index to view different results for the same map view.
The slider is located under the Minnesota state icon on the map.
To zoom to one of Minnesota's 81 "Major Watersheds" (HUC-8), click to highlight the "Select Watershed" button, then click anywhere on the map. Alternatively, use the drop-down menu to select a watershed.
To zoom to the "True Watershed" (upstream area) of your point of interest, click to highlight the "Get Upstream" button, then click anywhere on the map. This tool will highlight the DNR-catchment (darker blue) and its entire contributing area (lighter blue).
A small "Upstream Area" toolbar will help you zoom to the upstream area, toggle between a fill and an outline for that area, or clear the area:
Move the map around by clicking and dragging. Zoom in or out using the mouse wheel or the + and - icons. Click on the Minnesota state icon to go to the entire state extent. Using the and icons, you can return to previous or subsequent map extents similar to the "back" button on an internet browser.
Click the button to save your current map location and give it a name. The location will be saved by the app so that you can easily return to it at any point. There is no limit to the number of locations you can save, and they will be saved in your browser for seven days.
Click the button to choose from available basemaps. Options include a plain, grey map; an aerial image; an aerial image with labels; and a National Geographic map. Click on the button again to remove the base map icons.
Go to the "Add Features" tab on the left side bar and check the box in the Hillshade Topography button. Use the slider to control the transparency of the hillshade effect for an effective map image.
Features can be selected from the "Add Features" tab in the left side bar. Commonly used features are listed by default and may be added to the map by checking the box.
Click the button on a feature to enable attribute view. Once highlighted clicking this feature on the map will bring up all available attributes. Attribute view is available for only one dataset at a time.
Many more features are available to view. Choose "Index Related Features" and click the button to bring up available features. Click on the feature and it will be added to the left sidebar. If you are in the DNR network, you will also be able to add many LandView data sets to the map.
Many organizations publish web mapping services as "rest services", which can be easily pulled into this map. Choose "Add features from web" and copy the url address of the "rest" service into the box. Name the feature and click "Add". The feature will be added to the left sidebar. For more information and examples of rest services, click here.
The term ‘watershed’ is used in many ways. A ‘True Watershed’ contains the total land area and water features upstream of a given point on the landscape. By contrast, ‘Major Watersheds’ are administrative
units (HUC8) that may artificially divide a larger watershed or major river basin. In Minnesota, more than half of the Major Watersheds are not true watersheds.
When exploring the WHAF Map, DNR Catchments are used as the smallest delineated unit of drainage area. Use the tool to highlight a catchment and see the other catchments that contribute to create its true watershed.
Watershed Health Assessment Scores were calculated at the level of ‘Major Watershed’ and, where possible, ‘DNR Catchment’. Proper exploration should include using the upstream tool to explore the relationship between true watersheds, administrative watersheds and other natural and artificial boundaries.