Establishing a more natural, sinuous channel and restoring wetlands in an area of a decommissioned wastewater treatment plant.
Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
2014 - 2015
City of Long Lake, Minnesota
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The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) conducted a feasibility study in 2011 that identified a suite of improvements for Long Lake Creek. The creek flows from Long Lake to Tanager Lake (which is impaired for nutrients) and then drains into Lake Minnetonka at Brown's Bay. This project provided an opportunity to restore 10 acres of open space owned by the city of Long Lake (making the area similar to historical conditions) and provide several benefits to water quality and wildlife habitat. In the 1960s, Long Lake Creek was channelized to construct a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) that was later decommissioned in 1978. This WWTP has been formally closed, and detailed sediment sampling confirmed that the soils are not contaminated.
The project included establishing a more natural, sinuous channel that was aligned through the former WWTP and surrounded by restored wetlands. A portion of the dike that was originally constructed to separate the creek from the WWTP was removed, along with the WWTP outlet structure, to allow the wetland and the creek to reconnect. Project implementation as designed will result in improvements to stream geomorphology, increased habitat, restored wetland and ecological functions, and increased floodplain storage.
The project was carried out by the MCWD with funding from the Metropolitan Council. The purposes of this restoration were to improve water quality, provide wetland habitat, and add floodplain storage. As part of the project, invasive vegetation was removed and a focus on the wetland plantings improved the area's aesthetics. Tanager Lake, currently impaired, is located 2 miles downstream of the project and its water quality should improve. Overall, the neighborhood and general public will benefit from the restoration project.
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