Minnehaha Creek Natural Channel Restoration

Minnehaha Creek Natural Channel Restoration 2017-05-05T04:33:22+00:00

Project Description

Minnehaha Creek flows east into the City of Minneapolis where it meets the Mississippi River. Initially, we performed a reach assessment of the entire 21 miles of the creek (2003) that included a qualitative geomorphic evaluation of relative channel stability, identification of geologic controls, and inventory of bank features. Macroinvertebrate samples were also collected and analyzed for the entire system. Since then, we’ve implemented several projects with project partners thta included private landowners and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.

Methodist Hospital We designed and provided construction oversight for 2,000 feet of meandering wetland channel and an off-line pond adjacent to Methodist Hospital. The project concept, coined “Healing Spaces,” emerged to integrate the healing aspects of natural restoration with patients at the hospital who were also healing. A 2,000-foot long boardwalk accessible to patients and the public was also designed and built by HR Green.

Reach 20 The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and its project partners hired Inter-Fluve and HR Green to develop restoration concept designs for a segment along Reach 20 of Minnehaha Creek. Inter-Fluve and HR Green examined the hydrology, hydraulics, geomorphology, and existing infrastructure of the reach. We then developed conceptual designs for restoring a sinuous stream channel, improving wetland and floodplain function, improving site recreation and trail connectivity, and integrating stormwater management best management practices. Inter-Fluve provided final designs for the project, as well as permitting assistance and construction oversight. The design of a sinuous channel alignment will significantly increase the amount of available fish and wildlife habitat, and will help to restore normal geomorphic and sediment transport function in the creek.

Initially, Inter-Fluve and HR Green examined the hydrology, hydraulics, geomorphology, and existing infrastructure of Reach 20. 

The project aims to integrate the healing aspects of natural restoration with healing patients.

Six months after construction, the meandering creek supports wet prairie vegetation including cottonwood and black willow.

In the 1800s, Minnehaha Creek was straightened and relocated near today’s Methodist Hospital.

In 2009, we built approximately 2,000 feet of new channel in -20F weather.

The canoe-friendly realignment reflects a more natural design.

Today, the 2,000-foot-long boardwalk represents a new era for Minnehaha Creek.