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Buffalo-Red River Watershed District Project Featured in Northern Outdoors

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Buffalo-Red River Watershed District Project Featured in Northern Outdoors

In the News: Lawndale Creek Restoration

Rock Riffles on Lawndale Creek
Northland Outdoors featured a story about a vital project HEI completed with the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) on Lawndale Creek. Read the full article here.

Project Background

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently released its list of the state’s impaired waters. Although the list of impaired lakes, rivers, and streams grew, there was a glimmer of positive news shown from these results.  

The Lawndale Creek Restoration project, completed in 2010, is one of the factors contributing to the MPCA removing the south branch of the Buffalo River from the impaired waters designation. This removal is one of 31 such water bodies that were deemed improved enough to be de-listed this year. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) designed a stream restoration of the Lawndale Creek across the Atherton Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Lawndale Creek is unique in that it is the only known trout stream within Wilkin County. The stream is fed by flowing springs in the Rothsay WMA. These flowing springs ensure cool water conditions in the stream, which allows brook trout found in the stream to survive even under hot summer conditions. The restoration was an effort to provide additional trout stream habitat where none existed. Across the Atherton WMA, the stream had been eliminated by a combination of the construction of State Ditch No. 14 in the late 1800s and the construction of Wilkin County Ditch No. 40 in the 1960s. Water only flowed across the WMA during high flooding conditions. 

The BRRWD was the ditch authority for Wilkin County Ditch No. 40. As the BRRWD District Engineer, HEI was responsible for evaluating the project and working collaboratively with the BRRWD and the DNR to recommended appropriate road culvert sizing. Properly sizing the culvert crossing ensured that drainage benefits were being maintained for adjoining landowners and that the culvert entering the stream restoration was adequately sized to ensure fish passage through the structure under both low and flooding conditions. 

Our team is proud to have served on such an important restoration to benefit the Buffalo River.