The most precious resource in the world. The source of local rivers and lakes. The elemental expression of life. The first feature we look for in places we explore, settle, and live. The commodity that transcends cultures. The resource we treat as unlimited. The unalienable right we need to protect.

Freshwater is a leading public nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving freshwater resources and their surrounding watersheds.

Our Mission.

The mission of Freshwater is to inspire and empower people to value and preserve our freshwater resources.


As the leading nonprofit in highlighting groundwater issues and related policy, Freshwater has contributed a great deal to the protection and enhancement of our water resources. Recently, we published a three-part groundwater report series addressing policy and data needs for sustainable use of groundwater in urban and rural settings; offered legislative testimony on buffers, legacy funding, and groundwater policy initiatives; and delivered dozens of public presentations and keynote addresses.

We have featured nationally prominent speakers and issues through the Moos Family Speaker Series, helped lake associations organize and find resources to act on key priorities, and staged the biennial State of Water conference every other year.

Freshwater is also proud to have published the Minnesota Weatherguide Environment calendar/almanacs since 1975 and supported science instruction and fundraising in schools and environmental learning centers.


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Conducting field work to research groundwater flow issues

•Inventoried precipitation-driven landslides in all of Hennepin County in partnership with Hennepin County Emergency Management. View an interactive map and landslide hazard atlas.
• Cored lakes on the floodplain of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers to determine changes in sedimentation rate. Read the report.
• Explored the impact of gravel mining on shallow groundwater flow and temperature and its impact on a trout stream. Read the report.

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Expanding Minnesota Water Stewards program metro wide

• Certified more than 400 stewards since Minnesota Water Stewards began in 2013
• Divert and soak in millions of gallons of water annually through their efforts
• Engage thousands of Minnesotans annually in their education and outreach
• Collaborate with two dozen partners

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Facilitating workshops, meetings, and planning processes

• Water resilience workshops to help cities plan for increasing rainfall and weather extremes
• Planning processes for watershed districts, a water group, and a flood control project
• Consortium of groups from across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to re-design Minnesota’s approach to addressing impaired waters

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Doubling size of Road Salt Symposium and expanding influence

• Promoted significant reduction in use of chloride compounds to the minimum needed for traction in order to lessen the impact of salt water runoff on our freshwater lakes, streams, and groundwater
• Developed chloride management plans for Rochester, Mankato, and St. Cloud areas

Our History

Freshwater was founded in 1968 by three visionary leaders: the late Dick Gray, the late Hib Hill, and Dr. Richard Caldecott, who still serves as a member of the Freshwater board. Read Mr. Gray’s account of how the organization was founded.

Our People.

Our programs wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated people who manage Freshwater today.