Painter Creek is the primary stream within the subwatershed. It is the outlet of Katrina Lake in the Baker Park Reserve, flowing 6.2 miles to Jennings Bay. It is comprised mainly of ditches through large wetland and marsh areas connected by relatively short reaches of channel with forested banks. The creek was channelized as County Ditch #10 in 1905 (see the following section). Several other small streams and channels provide drainage and local conveyance within the subwatershed.
Painter Creek is included in the District’s Annual Hydrologic Data monitoring program, and was also studied in-depth in 2004 as part of the District’s Upper Watershed Stream Assessment and the Painter Creek Feasibility Study. Flow in the creek is controlled by weirs at the outlets of Katrina Lake, South Katrina Marsh, Painter Marsh, and Pond 937. Five storm sewer outfalls, mainly small diameter culverts directing drainage from crossing roadways, discharge into the creek. There are 18 bridge and culvert crossings; some of the culvert crossings provide grade control. The culvert at Painter Drive is designed as a fish barrier to provide grade control; however, it currently does not function as such and requires replacement. The culvert at West Branch Road is also a grade control.
The creek flows through several large wetlands prior to discharging to Jennings Bay. The Stream Assessment identified 11 sites of erosion or bank failure and 19 sites with debris in the channel, many of them associated with bank failures. Half of the eroded sites were concentrated in Reach 1 between Painter Creek Drive and CR 110. The HHPLS scour analysis revealed two other reaches of Painter Creek as having some scour potential, as well as several reaches on small streams elsewhere in the subwatershed.
The Feasibility Study identified erosion problems in a tributary south of Maple Plain, resulting in bank down- and under-cutting, mass wasting, overturned trees, sediment transport and deposit down channel, and preventing free flow causing water to back up onto an adjacent property.
Water quality and flow in the creek is monitored at four locations. Painter Creek carries significant phosphorus, TSS, and chloride loads to Jennings Bay. Phosphorus load generally increases from upstream to downstream site, suggesting that the in-line wetlands are contributing to phosphorus loads in the creek and thus to the bay. Dissolved oxygen within the stream in the summer months falls well below the 5 mg/L State of Minnesota standard for class 2B waters. E coli bacteria were monitored in Painter Creek in 2004, and counts in excess of state standards were obtained in 2004 during August and September.