Poster Presentation C Thursday, 5:00 6:00 pm C Edmund Fitzgerald Exhibit Hall

GIS as a Tool for Watershed Education Within a Collaborative Framework

Todd Lusk
Dakota County Survey and Land Information Department
14955 Galaxie Avenue Suite 355
Apple Valley, MN  55124

Kevin Biehn
The Kestrel Design Group
5136 Hankerson Avenue Suite 1
Edina, MN  55436

Educating citizens and local governments about watersheds is an essential part of successful watershed management. To this end, several agencies and organizations formed a partnership to create an educational product about the Vermillion River Watershed. The partners included: Dakota County's Environmental Education Program, Office of Planning, and Survey and Land Information Department, the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and Friends of the Mississippi River. The Vermillion River Watershed is the largest watershed in the Minnesota Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The river is 58 miles long and drains 372 square miles of suburbs, small towns, and rural farmland. A large portion of the river is a designated trout stream. Although it is biologically healthy, the river suffers from elevated fecal coliform counts, nitrate contaminations and high turbidity levels. 

Drawing on the extensive GIS resources of Dakota County, the partnership chose a poster as the most effective product for communicating the challenges, assets and interconnectedness of the watershed. This poster combines several media including GIS mapping and hand drawings. To create the watershed map portion of the poster, data were collected and combined from several different agencies including the Minnesota DNR, the Metropolitan Council, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Dakota County. The map was created using ESRI's ArcMap 8.02. The final map layout was exported as a TIF file for use in a graphics package. Final labeling, editing, and layout design were completed in CorelDraw. The "River Friendly Practices" side of the poster was hand-drawn, scanned, and rendered using Adobe Illustrator. To complete the process, the two parts of the poster were converted to PDF documents and were sent to press at an offset printer.

The poster will be presented to local communities, government agencies and schools for display.