Sand, gravel and crushed rock play a huge role in building Minnesota.

Whether it is roads and bridges or hospitals and schools, they are foundational in construction.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the public uses what is known as aggregate to move from place to place, erect communities and even have fun.

In other words, life, as the public knows it today, would not be possible without this natural resource.

While aggregate occurs in the landscape naturally, the challenge is in locating out where enough of that high-quality material exists.

Geologists from the DNR’s aggregate resources mapping program are going to be gathering data about the quality and quantity of aggregate resources in Redwood County.

Members of the DNR staff met with the Redwood County Board of Commissioners during its Feb. 4 meeting to talk about the survey it is going to be conducting across the county to determine where that aggregate can be found.

Corrie Floyd, a DNR geologist, presented the information to the board. He said the project will be conducted in coordination with local county officials as well as landowners as those who are working on the survey develop resource maps utilizing geographic information systems (GIS) software to identify the location of those aggregate resource deposits.

The project will provide field data that helps local governments and other stakeholders to make wise use of those resources. 

The work is not being limited to over land views and past research, as those who are doing the work will also be performing ground truth work to determine what actually exists and to test the quality of the material.

Maps will be made available to the public at the end of the project, and, according to Heather Arends, DNR mineral potential manager, the maps will be developed, so that they are readable by anyone.

The project to map Redwood County is part of a 10-year plan to map the entire state.

According to Floyd, funding for the mapping project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

The Redwood County maps, and GIS data are scheduled to be published in fall 2020.

“This is not just about extraction. This is about land use planning,” said Floyd.

- Photo Courtesy of the State of Minnesota Web site