Partnering for Regional Restoration

Since 2018, the Cities of Long Lake, Medina, and Orono; Long Lake Waters Association (LLWA); and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) have been working together toward a common goal of improving water quality in the Long Lake Creek Subwatershed.

The partners created the Long Lake Creek Partnership Roadmap, which outlines an implementation strategy and a suite of projects that would restore five impaired lakes in the subwatershed to meet state water quality standards.

Improving water quality in the subwatershed will require long-term commitment, coordination, and investment from public and private partners.

City of Medina logo

A Data-Driven Approach

MCWD led a subwatershed assessment, funded by a grant from the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources, to identify issues, drivers, and strategies to improve water quality throughout the system.

The Roadmap divides the subwatershed into five management units and lays out high-impact, cost-effective capital project opportunities to address water resource issues in the system.

Prioritizing High-Impact Projects

MCWD evaluated 59 projects based on their cost-effectiveness, water quality benefits, and feasibility and recommended 34 projects for implementation. If completed in total, these projects are estimated to achieve the nutrient load reductions required to delist Wolsfeld Lake, Long Lake, and Tanager Lake from the state’s impaired waters list.









Annual phosphorus reduction



expected to meet water quality standards



estimated to fund all projects

A Three-Tiered Strategy

To efficiently achieve lasting water quality results, the Roadmap prioritizes projects that address the root causes of water impairments (e.g., untreated stormwater runoff and erosion) before addressing the resulting issues (e.g., poor quality vegetation and fish communities). It also prioritizes regional stormwater treatment projects in the near term to cost-effectively treat large drainage areas, while more localized improvements are implemented over time.

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regional treatment

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Regional Treatment

The Roadmap recommends the enhancement and construction of regional stormwater treatment to cost-effectively treat large drainage areas within the subwatershed.

MCWD owns three regional stormwater ponds that could be retrofitted to reduce nutrient loads to Long Lake. Additional regional treatment upstream of Nelson Lakeside Park would also increase the system’s overall effectiveness.

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landscape projects

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Landscape Projects

Localized, opportunity-driven projects on the landscape can be implemented to reduce external nutrient loading. Landscape projects may be coordinated with development and infrastructure projects driven by public partners or identified based on private development opportunities and landowner interest.

The Roadmap identified 19 potential landscape projects, including stormwater management, streambank and ravine stabilization, and wetland restoration.

water and plant cycle

internal load management

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Internal Load Management

Internal loading projects, such as alum treatments or biological management, are most effective after external sources of nutrients have been addressed.

The Roadmap recommends alum treatments in each of subwatershed’s impaired lakes. Biological management may be considered for Holy Name Lake and Swamp Lake to reduce the impact of bottom-feeding fish.

Getting Started

MCWD and its partners are advancing efforts on several projects from the Roadmap, including a regional project to retrofit MCWD’s County Road 6 Stormwater Pond.

Investing in Long-Term Benefits

Innovative partnerships are essential for achieving lasting, measurable water quality improvements. We’re committed to supporting public or private partner-led projects that generate significant, regional water resource benefits in the Long Lake Creek Subwatershed through our new Land & Water Partnership (LWP) Program. MCWD can provide technical and financial assistance through the program for projects from concept development through implementation.

Contact our team to get started.

Make a Difference at Home

Interested residents can improve water quality by implementing best practices at home or getting involved with the Long Lake Waters Association.