Crystal, Keller, Lee, and Earley Lakes were listed on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's 303(d) Impaired Waters List in 2002 as impaired for aquatic recreation due to excess nutrients (phosphorus). As part of Clean Water Act requirements, a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report must be completed for each impaired waterbody. Excess phosphorus from stormwater runoff creates poor water quality conditions and causes summer algal blooms, which limit lake recreational activities such as swimming. Based on the most recent 10 years of water quality data, Earley Lake is now meeting state water quality standards and will be removed from the Impaired Waters List.
Crystal, Keller, Lee, and Earley Lakes are located in the southern Twin Cities metro area in the cities of Burnsville, Lakeville, and Apple Valley. The lakes are between 19 and 292 acres in size. The lakes combined watershed is approximately 5,000 acres which is part of the Black Dog Watershed Management Organization. The land area is almost completely developed, and the main land uses are low density residential, highway, and commercial development. Recreational opportunities vary with each lake. Crystal Lake provides a public beach and boat landing for swimming, fishing, water skiing, and aesthetic viewing, Keller Lake is used for fishing, canoeing, and wildlife viewing, and Lee and Earley Lakes provide wildlife observation and aesthetic viewing.
The main objectives of this project are to determine the sources of the excess nutrients to these lakes and to estimate the reductions that are needed in order for Crystal, Keller, and Lee Lakes to meet the appropriate water quality standards and to improve water quality in Earley Lake. The end product of this project will be a Crystal, Keller, and Lee Lakes TMDL report, Earley Lake water quality assessment, and implementation plan. The Black Dog Watershed Management Organization is working with Barr Engineering to prepare the reports for the MPCA.
When lakes and rivers are polluted with phosphorus, sediment, and other contaminants, it can take years of effort and expense to restore water quality. But this restoration work is having an impact.
Map and location
Crystal Lake (cities of Burnsville and Lakeville), Keller Lake (Burnsville and Apple Valley), Lee Lake (Lakeville), and Earley Lake (Burnsville) are located in the southern Twin Cities metro area in Dakota and Scott counties. The lakes lie in the Black Dog sub-watershed in the Lower Minnesota River watershed of the Minnesota River and Lower Mississippi River basins.
More maps are available on the TMDL maps page.
TMDL report and implementation plan
- Crystal, Keller, Lee and Earley Lakes TMDL Project - Final TMDL Report
- Crystal, Keller, Lee and Earley Lakes TMDL Project: EPA approval letter (Sept. 2011)
- Crystal, Keller, Lee and Earley Lakes TMDL: Implementation Plan (November 3, 2011)
- Minnesota’s impaired waters and TMDLs
- Black Dog Watershed Management Organization
- Barr Engineering Company
- Apple Valley
- Dakota County
TMDL/Watershed Project Manager
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road
13713 Frontier Ct.
Burnsville, MN 55337