Meeting Minnesota’s Needs for Stormwater Research

Reducing and preventing impact from urban stormwater runoff

By John Bilotta, Extension Water Team

University of Minnesota researchers are working to meet the immediate and ongoing need for additional research in stormwater management, practices, and policies for Minnesota.

One project is the Stormwater Research Roadmap to articulate and prioritize research needs that can propel stormwater management and practice implementation forward to reduce and prevent pollution from urban stormwater runoff.  It involves a two part process.  First, researchers collected research needs from multiple discussions with stakeholders and assessments in published reports. The interim results, available summer of 2017, highlight seven core areas of research needed:

1. Source Reduction and Pollution Prevention
2. Characterization of Stormwater Runoff
3. Impacts of Surface and Groundwater
4. Treatment Practice Effectiveness
5. Maintenance, Longevity, and Cost/Benefit
6. Public Policy and Education
7. Emerging Concerns

Part two involves understanding more specifically what are the research needs and their priorities within those seven areas.  Researchers will conduct a comprehensive survey of stakeholders across the state including MS4 communities, watershed districts and organizations, and water planners.   Workshops, listening sessions, professional interviews, and a literature review will round out the sources of input that will all eventually lead into a ten year framework or roadmap of priority research needs across the state.  Announcements regarding the survey, workshops, and interviews will be posted on the project website.  For more information, visit  

At the same time as the Roadmap project, the independent Minnesota Stormwater Research Council was established in 2016., has created its first pooled-funds approach for applied stormwater research.  The Council was established to

  • Facilitate the completion of needed applied research that enables more informed decisions about the use, management and protection of our water resources in urbanized areas.
  • Periodically assess the status of research, identify consensus research priorities, and communicate these to Minnesota’s public and private research agencies and organizations.
  • Promote coordination of research goals, objectives and funding among the research agencies and organizations.

The Council is an independent organization of stormwater professionals, practitioners, managers, engineers, researchers and others facilitated by the UMN Water Resources Center.  The Council is accepting research proposals through June 15th for applied research projects in three priority areas: 

  • Pre-treatment for stormwater practices.
  • Effectiveness of current stormwater practices.
  • Chloride/road salt use, management, pollution, and best practices.

The Council has approximately $80K in pooled funds available for this competition.  The request for proposals and more information about the Council can be found at