The Elm Creek watershed in northern Hennepin County is approximately 83,600 acres and drains land from 9 communities: Champlin, Corcoran, Dayton, Greenfield, Hassan Township, Maple Grove, Medina, Plymouth, and Rogers. Land use throughout the watershed is highly variable and ranges from rural (predominantly row crop agricultural and hobby farms) to high density urban and commercial development. Based on the current comprehensive 2030 plans for the respective communities throughout the watershed, it is anticipated that much of the currently rural land will be converted to low and medium density residential land in the next 20 years (with increasing areas of high density residential and commercial development in specific areas). The watershed includes three major stream systems (Elm, Rush, and Diamond Creeks) that total over 41 stream miles. Major lake systems within the watershed include French, Diamond, Rice, Fish, Weaver, Henry, Cowley, Hayden, Lehman’s, Goose, Mud Lakes and the Mill Ponds.
To address water quality throughout the watershed, the Elm Creek Watershed Management Commission in collaboration with Three Rivers Park District, Hennepin County Environmental Services, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, United States Department of Geological Services (USGS), and the Metropolitan Council has conducted a series of monitoring and assessment studies. Previous studies include a longitudinal channel stability and erosion study; fish and invertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) studies; invertebrate monitoring through the Stream Health Evaluation Program (SHEP) and River Watch; maintenance of a long-term, USGS stream gauging/water quality monitoring station; and a watershed-wide Surface Water Assessment Grant. Based on the results of this work, seven waterbodies (Diamond, Fish, Weaver and French Lakes and Elm, Rush and Diamond Creeks) are currently listed as impaired for dissolved oxygen, biota, nutrients, or mercury by MPCA.
Watershed TMDL approach
The goal of this project is to develop a watershed-wide, multi-parameter Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), Protection Plan and Implementation Plan that will collectively address all water quality impairments throughout the Elm Creek watershed. Given the size and complexity of the Elm Creek watershed (both ecologically and socio-politically), TMDL development will be broken into five phases. Phases will be implemented starting in the spring of 2009 and completed in the fall of 2014.
Following completion of the TMDL assessment work in each subwatershed, stressor-specific TMDL targets, wasteload allocations (WLAs), load allocations (LAs), and implementation plans will be developed (in conjunction with a concurrent stakeholder process) following MPCA's TMDL protocols and guidance to concurrently address water quality impairments in each subwatershed and the Elm Creek watershed as a whole. The watershed-wide Implementation plan will be holistic in that it will address management activities for all the surface waters (both impaired and those currently meeting water quality standards) in the watershed. The goal is to allow this plan to complement the watersheds management plan.
Map and location
The Elm Creek WMO watershed is located in Hennepin County, within the North Fork Crow River watershed of the Upper Mississippi River basin.
WRAPS and TMDL report and implementation plan
- Elm Creek Watershed WRAPS report (wq-ws4-27a) (MPCA approval 12/16/2016)
- Elm Creek Watershed TMDL study (wq-iw11-04e) (EPA approval 6/26/2017)
- Elm Creek Watershed TMDL: EPA approval letter (wq-iw11-04g)
- Draft: Elm Creek TMDL data summary (wq-iw11-04q)
- Project Scoping Document (wq-iw11-04u)
- Elm Creek WMO watershed-wide TMDL work plan
- Elm Creek Watershed Stressor Identification Report
- Elm Creek Watershed Management Commission
- Three Rivers Park District
- Hennepin County Environmental Services
- MPCA’s Watershed Approach