The research program of the SCWRS has two major facets: research by staff scientists and independent investigations by visiting scientists.

SCWRS Research Program

Mark Edlund Boat

Research at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station includes work by staff scientists, graduate students, and visiting researchers. We have the necessary scientific tools, from analytical instruments and high-powered microscopes for lab work, to boats and vehicles for fieldwork in remote regions.

Completed in 1994, the centerpiece Harmon Research Center houses five state-of-the-art laboratories, including the 1,000 square foot analytical lab, a sediment-dating lab, gamma spectrometry radioisotope tracer lab, wet lab, and microscopy lab.

Staff research focuses on scientifically and environmentally important questions on regional, national, and global scales. Studies include topics like land-water interaction, biogeochemistry, hydrology, restoration ecology, and aquatic biology. Relevant issues include eutrophication, toxic pollutants, climate change, erosion and sedimentation, and biodiversity.

Featured Research Project:
Tracking Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in Minnesota Lakes

The duration, frequency, and extent of harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasing worldwide. New evidence points to similar changes in some Minnesota lakes, yet little information is available on historical trends in blooms or the present-day composition of algae associated with bloom formation and toxin production. Reports of HABs in Minnesota date back more than 100 years, but complaints by citizens and incidents of human and pet exposures to toxins have increased over the last decade. Despite the importance of this issue, there are still major questions about what controls the timing and toxicity of HABs, as well as the risk to more northern lakes, not usually associated with annual algae blooms.

Learn more


Bouys and traps
Adam Heathcote and Mark Edlund setting buoys and sediment traps at Lake of the Woods


Agassiz NWR
Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge


sampling Bartlett Lake
MN Pollution Control Agency Denise Oakes, Dan Engstrom and Adam Heathcote, sampling Bartlett Lake


Diatoms from Spring Creek, May 2015: photo by Mark Edlund


Draparnaldia at night, May 2015; photo by Mark Edlund


Robert Dietz
Robert Dietz, University of MN grad student and Glacial Lakes research


Mercury studies
Mercury studies in Glacier Bay, Alaska


Icaro Macedo at Lac La Belle
Summer intern Icaro Macedo at Lac La Belle, June 2015


Sulfate studies
Sulfate studies on the Iron Range; Jill Coleman Wasik and Elizabeth Droessler


Lab work
Lab work for study of sulfate on the Iron Range


Jim Almendinger
Jim Almendinger at Isle Royale National Park


Sampling lakes at Isle Royale
Sampling lakes at Isle Royale


Lauren Mitchell
Lauren Mitchell at South Center Lake, July 2015


Coring lakes in Southeast Alaska
Coring lakes in Southeast Alaska


Jim Almendinger and Shawn Schottler
Jim Almendinger and Shawn Schottler taking sediment cores for Sedimental Journey project


Controlled prairie burn
Controlled prairie burn with Todd Bentler and Michelle Natarajan


Sampler on Lake Superior
Sampler on Lake Superior in study of effects of tricolosan


Volunteer sectioning
Volunteer sectioning a lake core, June 2015

St. Croix Watershed Research Station
16910 152nd St. N.
Marine on St. Croix MN 55047


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