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Minnehaha Creek has long been treated like a glorified drainage ditch as it flows downstream from Lake Minnetonka through south Minneapolis, dumping street runoff into the Mississippi River. A new partnership seeks to redefine the creek’s relationship with the people who live along its banks and play in the lakes fed by its polluted water.

Modeled after the 1991 Clean Water Partnership that introduced water quality monitoring to the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, the new agreement brings together the city of Minneapolis, Park Board and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. It proposes engineering curves back into the artificially straightened Minnehaha Creek, and three stormwater treatment projects targeted at the densest underground pipe systems in south Minneapolis.

The ultimate agenda: clean up Lake Hiawatha and pull it off the state’s impaired waters list, where it has languished for 22 years.

By Susan Du

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