1.0 Introduction and Summary
The Long Lake Creek subwatershed is located along the northern boundary of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD or District) and within the cities of Medina, Orono, and Long Lake. The subwatershed includes Long Lake, several other lakes, Long Lake Creek, large areas of undisturbed or low-density development (including two DNR Scientific and Natural Areas), and numerous wetlands. Two tributary/wetland systems drain the upper subwatershed to Long Lake, located in the central part of the subwatershed. Long Lake outlets by Long Lake Creek, which flow 2.7 miles through forest and wetland to Tanager Lake, which in turn outlets to Browns Bay of Lake Minnetonka. Other lakes of interest in the subwatershed include Wolsfeld Lake, Mooney Lake, Holy Name Lake, and School Lake.
Neither Long Lake nor Tanager Lake meet their water quality goals. No goals were established for the other lakes, and limited data is available to assess their water quality. Long Lake Creek conveys high phosphorus and sediment loads to Tanager Lake and Browns Bay. The ecological integrity of Long Lake Creek is limited by its water quality and to a lesser extent by lack of in-stream habitat. The sport fishery in Long Lake is average; while fish survey data on the other lakes is limited, in general they are dominated by panfish and rough fish. Numerous high-value wetlands are present in the subwatershed.
Over the next ten years, the District’s focus in the Long Lake Creek subwatershed will be on protecting and improving water quality in the lakes and creek and conserving ecological integrity within the subwatershed. The following will be particular focus areas:
- Minimizing impacts on water resources from future development through enhanced regulation that requires higher levels of pollutant removal and increased infiltration of runoff.
- Investigating and improving water quality in Long Lake Creek and Long Lake through additional diagnostic study and construction of improvement projects.
- Conserving ecological integrity through Land Conservation Program activities in key conservation areas.
- Improving ecological integrity in Long Lake Creek through the improvement of its water quality and installation of habitat features.
- Working cooperatively with the DNR and adjacent land owners to preserve and improve water quality in Wolsfeld Lake and habitat in the immediate area (within the Wolsfeld Woods Scientific and Natural Area [SNA]).