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Six Mile Marsh Prairie Restoration

Pedestrian trail and site interpretation to be constructed in 2021!
Project Status: 
Year Completed: 
Construction Cost: 
$329,974 Phase I; $347,861 Phase II
Current Status: 

(Updated June 2021)

Trail Project Community Meeting

Tuesday, July 6, 20201

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Zoom virtual meeting (detail on how to join below)


Zoom meeting details


Trail Design 

Design is underway for a permanent pedestrian trail that will connect the Six Mile Marsh Prairie to the Dakota Rail Regional Trail. Visitors will be able to experience restored prairie and wetlands within the 210-acre Six Mile Marsh Prairie site. New interpretive elements will also be installed throughout the prairie and tell the story of the ecology of the site. Construction is planned to begin in September and be completed in spring 2022.

About this project: 

The Six Mile Marsh Prairie Restoration sits just over a mile upstream from Halsted Bay of Lake Minnetonka which requires the largest nutrient load reduction of any water body in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) due in part to excessive nutrients. To help improve water quality in the subwatershed, the MCWD purchased two adjacent farms totaling 210-acres and restored the property's steep slopes and drain-tiled low areas to native prairie and wetlands which has prevented eroded soil and other pollutants from flowing into Six Mile Creek. 

The project is occurring in two phases. Beginning in 2012, the first phase included restoration of the natural areas and preservation of the historic barn on the property. Following the removal of drain tile in use while the land was being farmed, over 10 wetlands reappeared and were improved with native plantings. Upland areas were restored to native tallgrass prairie vegetation, and an oak savanna above Six Mile Marsh was expanded. A temporary mowed trail leading from the Dakota Rail Trail onto the western part of the prairie has been maintained since 2016, which has allowed the public to begin to explore the site. 

The second phase of the project includes construction of a permanent pedestrian trail that will lead from the Dakota Rail Trail and allow trail users to experience the restored prairie and wetlands within 100 acres of the site. Interpretive elements that tell the story of the site will also be installed. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2021 and be completed in spring 2022.

Property Information

  • 210 acres 
  • Sits north of Six Mile Marsh and just upstream of Halsted Bay
  • Rolling topography with steep slopes and pocket wetlands
  • Land purchase price: $4,515,000 (both farms)
  • Phase I Construction: $329,974
  • Phase II Construction: $347,861

Project Plans

  • Prairie, oak savanna, and wetland restoration
  • Pedestrian trail from Dakota Rail Regional Trail
  • Ongoing preservation of historic barn and silo
  • Interpretive elements


  • Reduce phosphorus inputs to Six Mile Creek and Halsted Bay by 120 to 180 pounds per year
  • Restore 16 acres of wetlands, 10 acres of oak savanna, and 110 acres of tallgrass prairie
  • Improve and expand wildlife and pollinator habitat
  • Provide open space and public access near Six Mile Marsh 

Before and after (hover to compare): April 2012 to April 2013

Before and after photos of seeding(View more before and after shots from 2012 to 2013)

About Six Mile Marsh

Photo of Six Mile CreekThe Six Mile Creek begins at Pierson Lake in Laketown Township and flows 12 miles north through several lakes before entering Halsted Bay on the western end of Lake Minnetonka.The creek is mainly comprised of ditches running through large wetland and marsh areas.

The sub-watershed is the most rapidly developing in the watershed district with many farms being converted to residential properties.

Due to the agricultural history of the landscape, the creek is a major carrier of phosphorus and sediment into Halsted Bay, and is a major cause of its poor water quality. The Six Mile Marsh Prairie property drains directly into Six Mile Marsh shortly before it enters Halsted Bay, so reducing erosion and runoff from the property has positively impacted water quality in Lake Minnetonka.

Photo of Six Mile Creek Prairie

Informational Materials: