Long Lake Creek Gets an Ecological Makeover

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District restores a lake-area asset.

Four years ago, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District took a close look at the Long Lake corridor, an area that follows Long Lake Creek from Long Lake to Tanager Lake. The corridor had a lot of room for improvements, so the district promptly set about creating projects. This May, the corridor will begin to regain its original flow pattern. “It’s going to restore a historical alignment, which will help with not only water quality and nutrient reductions, but, when we have flood issues, it [will be able to] hold more water,” says Michael Hayman of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.

It’s not an easy project. Rerouting the current flow pattern means construction, and the work doesn’t stop there. Complete restoration also involves planting native plants, managing erosion and restoring the site of a former wastewater treatment plant. All this must be done at the right time, so that the native seeds can take root. With this in mind, construction began in January with clearing and erosion control. The wetland and stream portions were winter projects, completed in March. Right now, workers are doing vegetation enhancements—and soon, very soon, Long Lake Creek will be back to its old self.