Bluff Creek - Turbidity and Fish Biota: TMDL Project

Photo of Bluff CreekBluff Creek, located in Chanhassen, is a small tributary of the Lower Minnesota River. The stream begins at the headwaters located near Trunk Highway 41 on the north and discharges into the Minnesota River Floodplain. The catchment area at the outlet of Bluff Creek in Rice Lake is 6.4 square miles, the total length of the main stem is 7.5 miles, and the creek is moderate to fully entrenched for most of its course. The watershed's upper reaches are a mix of forested upland and meadow. The middle reach is a mix of land uses and is rapidly urbanizing. The lower reach is steep valley walls, is highly sinuous, and lined with trees. Bluff Creek was listed on the 303(d) list of impaired waters for elevated turbidity levels in 2002 and for impaired biota in 2004 due to a low fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) score by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The main objectives of this project are to conduct additional water quality monitoring, generate a stressor identification report to determine the potential causes of the fish impairment, determine the sources of the turbidity and fish biota impairments, and estimate the pollution reductions needed in order for Bluff Creek to meet water quality standards. The end product of this project will be a Bluff Creek Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study and Implementation Plan. The city of Chanhassen is working with Barr to prepare the reports for the MPCA.

Map and location

Bluff Creek is located in the city of Chanhassen in Carver County in the southwestern Twin Cities metro area. Bluff Creek is in the Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek watershed and the Lower Minnesota River watershed in the Minnesota River Basin.

PDF icon  Map of the Bluff Creek TMDL Project Area (wq-iw7-28h)

More maps are available on the TMDL maps page.

TMDL report and implementation plan

Other documents

Meetings and events

See the TMDL Meetings, Events and News page for notices of general interest and event-related information on impaired waters/TMDLs.


Information contact

Eric Alms, Project Manager
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

Terry Jeffery
Water Resources Coordinator
City of Chanhassen
7700 Market Boulevard
PO Box 147
Chanhassen, MN 55317