Minnehaha Creek Base Flow Study

Project Type:

Project Status: 
Completed
Current Status: 

The District partnered with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) and University of Minnesota to explore opportunities to improve "base" flow in Minnehaha Creek. The multi-year research project examined the interaction between the creek and shallow groundwater reservoirs below to determine where the creek is receiving groundwater, and where it is not. The final report is available here

About this project: 

While Minnehaha Creek is one of the Twin Cities’ most valued natural resources, it often looks more like a bed of sand than a creek. Frequent dry periods have reduced the flow of water in the creek to a trickle in nine of the past 13 years, hurting both its ecological and cultural value. The District studied the creek’s flow patterns to learn how we might encourage a more consistent presence of water in this iconic waterway. 

The District partnered with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) and University of Minnesota to see if there are ways to improve this "base" flow. We researched the interaction between the creek and the groundwater reservoirs below to determine where the creek is receiving groundwater, and where it is not.

The research will help the District decide whether we can boost the "base" flow in certain sections by collecting stormwater runoff and letting it seep into the ground.

Researchers also determined what percentage of the creek’s water comes from its three main sources -  Lake Minnetonka, stormwater, and groundwater  – and  tracked any changes from the winter until after the spring melt.

Watch a presentation on the study from John Nieber:

Informational Materials: