Skip to main content

Repairs to flood-damaged Minnehaha Creek below Minnehaha Falls begin

FEMA is funding repairs to sections damaged by 2014 flooding
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Three people laying soil lifts along Minnehaha CreekThe Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) is beginning repairs to the first of seven areas of Minnehaha Creek below Minnehaha Falls that were damaged by historic flooding in 2014. As part of the  project, crews are constructing soil lifts to reinforce the eroded stream channel. The lifts will be filled with seed and planted with trees and shrubs that will anchor the soil in place and guard against future erosion.

The sites are among 10 locations on Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis that are being repaired as part of a project funded by an approximately $250,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). The three other project sites that are located upstream of Minnehaha Falls have already been completed.

The repairs began in December 2018 and are expected to be complete in the spring of 2019.

In 2014, the Twin Cities saw the wettest first half of the year since modern record keeping began in 1871.  During this time Lake Minnetonka reached a new record high, Minnehaha Creek achieved a new record flow and the Gray’s Bay Dam was unable to control water levels for 83 consecutive days. The prolonged high water eroded streambanks and hampered access to recreation.

Since the flood of 2014, the MCWD has partnered with the National Weather Service (NWS) to better anticipate rain events. The NWS’ customized weather forecasts have helped the MCWD proactively manage the Gray’s Bay Dam, preventing flooding in 2016, 2017, and 2018 in spite of record-setting precipitation.

The Minnehaha Creek repairs are being coordinated with the current Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s master planning process for the Minnehaha Parkway Regional Trail and the Southwest Service Area, in addition to the City of Minneapolis’ Southwest Harriet Flood Study. The partners and a citizen advisory committee are exploring potential improvements to make the Minnehaha Creek park corridor more resilient to our changing climate and to ensure it meets public needs over the next 20 to 30 years.

For more information on the Minnehaha Creek repairs and the master planning work for the park corridor along Minnehaha Creek, visit our project page.