Bluff Creek Tributary Restoration
A project to stabilize the banks of Bluff Creek, decreasing sediment pollution and protecting wetland habitat
About the project
The watershed district and the City of Chanhassen are partnering to restore a section of Bluff Creek near Audubon Road in Chanhassen. The creek will be reconnected to its floodplain, its banks will be stabilized, and native vegetation will be planted.
Why it's happening
At present, Bluff Creek is impaired for turbidity. That means there is too much sediment in the water for the creek to be considered healthy. When it rains, stormwater rushes across paved surfaces and through the creek. This powerful moving water cuts into the banks and bed of the creek, picking up dirt and debris. The deeper the creek cuts, the more power the water has to cause additional erosion. Silty water blocks out light, smothers fish, insect, and plant habitat, and can carry phosphorus, the food for green algae blooms. The project area also includes a section of the creek that is connected to a nearby wetland, and further erosion will cause damage to it.
Reconnecting the creek to its floodplain will help the water to slow down, decreasing its energy and potential to erode the creek. Stabilizing the banks will help protect them and the wetland erosion and increase habitat.
How it's done
Restoration professionals have many different tools to choose from. Rock riffles are made from gravel and cobble placed in the creek. They create natural flow patterns, control the height of the stream bed, and provide habitat for aquatic species. Root wads are tree trucks with the roots still attached. They are burried into the creek bank with the root end sticking out. The rough, messy roots slow down the water, push it away from the banks, and create habitat and hiding places for creatures. Learn more about stream restoration techniques.
What will it look like?
Below is a photo of the restoration area, and a rendering of what it might look like after.
Partners: City of Chanhassn