Six Mile Marsh Prairie Restoration

Restoring environmentally-sensitive land near Six Mile Marsh and Halsted Bay
Project Status: 
Completed
Construction Cost: 
$329,974
Current Status: 

(Updated August 29, 2017) -- The District continues to manage establishing vegetation on the site and is planning to construct a trail spur from the Dakota Rail Trail within the next couple years. The District will be working to define public use of the site throughout the remainder of 2017. The District respectfully requests that the public stay off the property until the public use has been established and the No Trespassing signs have been removed.

About this project: 

Halsted Bay's water quality grade (D) is among the worst in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) due in part to excessive nutrients. To help improve water quality in the area, the MCWD recently purchased the 112-acre Halverson and 97-acre Dimler farms in Minnetrista, which drain into Six Mile Marsh and Creek shortly before they enter Halsted Bay. The MCWD also owns an easement on the adjacent Burroughs property. 

The land features steep slopes that lead directly to the marsh, allowing eroded soil and other pollutants to flow into the marsh during rain storms. The District plans to plant prairie and oak savanna on the land to reduce the amount of polluted runoff.

Restoration will occur in two phases. Public use of the property is prohibited during Phase I, which will last until plantings are established (likely in 2016 or beyond). Phase II will likely include a spur trail from the Dakota Rail and mowed trails that run through the property, which is expected to be designed in 2015 and constructed in 2016. 

Property Info

  • 209 acres
  • Sits north of Six Mile Marsh
  • Rolling topography with steep slopes
  • Contains restorable wetlands
  • Price: $4,515,000 (both farms)

Restoration Plans

  • Prairie installation
  • Savanna and oak woodland
  • Spur from Dakota Rail bicycle trail
  • Staggered demolition of existing structures
  • Educational signage

Outcomes

  • Reduce phoshorus delivery into Six Mile Marsh and Halsted Bay by 120 to 380 pounds per year.
  • Increase habitat
  • Provide open space adjacent to Six Mile Marsh

Before and after (hover to compare): April 2012 to April 2013

Before and after photos of seeding(View more before and after shots from fall 2013)

About Six Mile Marsh

Photo of Six Mile CreekThe Six Mile Creek begins at Pierson Lake in Laketown Township and flows 12 miles north through several lakes before entering Halsted Bay on the western end of Lake Minnetonka.

The sub-watershed is the most rural and undeveloped in the District, and agriculture is the most common land use. The creek is mainly comprised of ditches running through large wetland and marsh areas.

As a result, the creek is a major carrier of phosphorus and sediment into Halsted Bay, and is a major cause of its poor water quality. The Halverson property drains directly into the marsh shortly before it enters Halsted Bay, so reducing erosion and runoff from the property will positively impact water quality in Lake Minnetonka.

Photo of Six Mile Creek Prairie