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Decision-making Data & Tools


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Program Contact: Lucinda Johnson,, (218) 788-2651

There's no shortage of data on Minnesota's resources and environmental impacts. It's collected by individuals and agencies to inform management and policy decisions, but not uniformly managed. To be useful, data needs to be transformed into information that is readily available, provides appropriate context and in a form that is interpretable. It should include natural and human-influenced features, as well as a range of environmental data.

Data visualization tools are at the core of many NRRI projects. These web-based and responsive tools provide new ways for scientists and natural resource managers to "see" and interpret complex datasets, present data to inform policy, and for educators to share information with students and the public. These tools include many of the Geographic Information Systems map-based websites developed at NRRI. They offer powerful ways to identify cause-effect links between activities in our watersheds and effects on water resources.

Current Projects

  • St. Louis County Risk Assessment Tool for Aquatic Invasive Species
  • Minnesota Restorable Wetland Prioritization Tool (with Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources)
  • Minnesota Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program (with Minnesota Dept. of Health)
  • Greenview Land use Stormwater Planning Tool
  • Western Lake Superior Real-time Water Quality Network (with UMD's Large Lakes Observatory)
  • Minnesota Lake Trends Tool
  • Global Great Lakes (with UMD's Large Lakes Observatory)
  • Superior Northshore Streams: Ecological Limits of Hydrologic Alteration (ELOHA) (with Minnesota DNR, UM St. Anthony Falls Lab, The Nature Conservancy)
  • An Open Standards Data and Metadata Pipeline for NRRI Great Lakes Data