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Long Lake Creek Corridor Improvements

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About this project: 

Two people working to remeander Long Lake CreekIn 2011 the MCWD identified a suite of improvements for Long Lake Creek, which flows from Long Lake to Tanager Lake, which drains into Lake Minnetonka's Browns Bay. Tanager Lake is impaired for its nutrient concentrations.

Phase I

  • In Phase I, the MCWD will restore two sections of severely-eroded streambank. Both sections of streambank are just downstream of stormsewer outfalls, where water rushes through after a storm.
  • Also in Phase I, the MCWD will restore a wetland that drains to the creek by plugging a ditch that was dug to drain the area for agricultural purposes.
  • Construction is on hold, pending negotiations with land owners and coordination with the re-construction of County Road 112.

Phase II

  • Staff worked with Metropolitan Council Environmental Services to restore a former wastewater treatment pond into a healthy wetland
  • Excess sediments were removed and a new stream channel was created, re-connected with the wetland  

Video of the new Long Lake Creek channel going online


The headwaters of Long Lake Creek is the discharge from a concrete weir at the outlet from Long Lake in the city of Long Lake. From there it flows approximately 2.7 miles through wetland and forested areas of Orono to its mouth at Tanager Lake, which discharges to Browns Bay on Lake Minnetonka.

Water quality is monitored at two locations in the creek, as well as in downstream Tanager Lake (see map below). Phosphorus levels are generally greater at the downstream site, suggesting that the watershed or adjacent wetlands are contributing to phosphorus loads in the creek and downstream Tanager Lake. Tanager Lake has been placed on the State Impaired Waters List because of its high nutrient concentrations. The 2007 Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) Comprehensive Plan identifies an interim in-lake phosphorus concentration goal of 70 mg/L for downstream Tanager Lake. The state standard and long-term goal for the lake is 40 mg/L. To meet the interim phosphorus concentration goal, phosphorus loading to Tanager will need to be decreased by 923 lbs. of phosphorus per year.