The Pioneer-Sarah Creek watershed is located in the northwestern Twin Cities metropolitan area. The watershed encompasses approximately 44,800 acres and includes 19 lakes, 5 streams, and numerous wetlands. Land use in the watershed is mixed, but predominately undeveloped and agricultural.
Nutrient impairments: North and South Whaletail Lakes and Spurzem Lake are currently on Minnesota’s impaired waters list for excess nutrients. Ardmore Lake and Half Moon Lake are expected to be listed in 2016 for excess nutrients. Excess nutrients, like phosphorus, can stimulate the growth of nuisance algal blooms in the summer which restrict recreational activities.
Bacteria impairments: Sarah Creek was added to the impaired waters list in 2012 for exceeding the state’s Escherichia coli (E. coli) water quality standard. Deer Creek and Unnamed Creek (Mud Lake to Rice Creek) are expected to be listed in 2016 for exceeding the state’s E. coli standard. E. coli is used to indicate the potential presence of waterborne pathogens that can be harmful to human health. E. coli comes from human, pet, and wildlife waste.
Dissolved oxygen: Pioneer Creek, Unnamed Creek (Mud Lake to Rice Lake), and Deer Creek are currently exceeding the state’s standard for dissolved oxygen, and are expected to be placed on the impaired water’s list in 2016.
Watershed TMDL approach
The goal of this project is to develop a watershed-wide, multi-parameter Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) that will collectively address all water quality impairments throughout the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed. The project will also include strategies for protecting lakes in the watershed that are currently meeting state water quality standards. Protection strategies will be developed for Little Long Lake, Rattail Lake, and Lake Rebecca.
This TMDL/WRAPS project is a joint effort between the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed Management Commission, local communities, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and other state, local, and federal agencies. The goals of this project are to identify the sources of impairments, quantify pollutant reductions needed to meet Minnesota’s water quality standards, and develop strategies for restoration and protection.
Map and location
The northern part of the Pioneer-Sarah Creek watershed is located within the North Fork Crow River Watershed, and the southern portion is located within the South Fork Crow River Watershed of the Upper Mississippi River basin. The watershed is located in northwestern Hennepin County and includes the cities of Greenfield, Independence, Loretto, Maple Plain, Medina, and Minnetrista.
WRAPS/Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Report
- Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed TMDL (wq-iw8-55e) EPA approval 9/29/2017)
- Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed TMDL: EPA approval letter (wq-iw8-55g)
- Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed WRAPS (wq-ws4-32a) (MPCA approval 7/26/2017)
See the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed Management Commission (PSC WMC) WRAPS Page for more information.
- Deer Creek Dissolved Oxygen Technical Memos (wq-iw1-56a)
- Pioneer Creek Dissolved Oxygen Technical Memos (wq-iw1-56b)
- Unnamed Creek Dissolved Oxygen Technical Memos (wq-iw1-56c)
- Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Study (wq-iw1-56d)
Meetings and events
See the PSC WMC Meetings page for current meetings and events.
Watershed Project Manager
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155