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Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Awarded Grant for Long Lake Creek Subwatershed

$112,000 grant will help identify causes of poor water quality
Monday, January 14, 2019

Drone aerial of Long Lake Creek wetland restorationThe Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR) has awarded the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) a $112,000 accelerated implementation grant to assess water quality issues and guide implementation of water quality improvement projects in the Long Lake Creek subwatershed. The grant is a result of a collaborative effort between MCWD; the cities of Medina, Long Lake, and Orono; and the Long Lake Waters Association.

The purpose of the grant is to identify specific factors causing poor water quality in lakes in the Long Lake Creek subwatershed. Several lakes are impaired due to excess nutrients and low water clarity, which impacts the health of aquatic life and recreational enjoyment.

“It is critical to develop a detailed understanding of the subwatershed in order to identify water quality improvement projects,” said MCWD Research and Monitoring Program Manager Brian Beck. “The grant funding will be used to develop a detailed understanding of ecological and physical processes that are negatively impacting the lakes and streams in the subwatershed.”

The project will create a watershed model that pinpoints the areas in the watershed that are contributing high levels of pollutants to lakes and streams, and to calculate how much pollution the water quality improvement projects would remove. The pollutant reductions will then be entered into a lake model to determine their impact on water clarity.

“Building on the momentum of the work done in 2018 by the partnership, this is an important next step in our effort to improve water quality in our communities’ lakes,” said Long Lake Waters Association President Cassy Ordway. “The work funded by this grant will lay the foundation for future efforts and develop a master plan that prioritizes the restoration of these important community resources with the Long Lake Creek Subwatershed.”

The first steps in the project will be analyzing existing data and collecting new information as needed on water flow, ecological conditions, and water quality in the Long Lake Creek subwatershed. This information will provide baseline data to help identify possible water quality improvement projects. The project will get underway in the spring of 2019 and will continue through early 2020. 

“MCWD is excited to develop a holistic understanding of the subwatershed that incorporates water quality and ecological health for lakes and streams in the Long Lake Creek subwatershed,” said Beck. “The grant made possible by our partnership will accelerate the pace at which water quality improvement projects are implemented in the Long Lake Creek subwatershed.”