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Riley Creek

Riley Creek begins at lakes Lucy and Ann in Chanhassen and flows through three lakes - Susan, Rice Marsh, and Riley - before descending to the Minnesota River Valley. The creek has mild topography in its upper and middle watershed, but below Lake Riley the banks become steep.

Keeping RIley Creek healthy requires several tools and strategies. Conducting projects to stabilize streambanks and restore stretches of stream is one strategy. Cleaning and slowing rainwater runoff before it reaches the creek is another. Before either of these can be done, we need to understand how the creek is doing and where it needs the most help.

District staff have monitored Bluff Creek since the 1980s. To assess creek health, staff developed a tool called the Creek Restoration Action Strategy (CRAS). CRAS uses water quality data, as well as information on erosion and habitat, to rank which creek stretches (sections) are doing the best and which are doing the poorest.

Chloride: A Growing Concern

Chloride permenently pollutes our lakes, ponds, wetlands, and creeks. Chloride sources include winter de-icing salts, water softeners, and fertilizers all contribute to chloride pollution. The graph below show how chloride levels have increased over time in Riley Creek.


Stream Characteristics

Length 9.6 miles
Elevation Change 230 ft
Watershed size 10 sq miles
# of cities in watershed 2
# of lakes connected 5
# of monitoring sites 5
# of parks Deep
Impairment Turbidity
Common fish Green Sunfish, Fathead Minnow, Bluntnose Minnow
Invasive species Common Carp

Stream Health

RPBCWD staff monitor streams at several sites. Riley Creek has five monitoring sites. Data is collected at each of these sites to detemine if there's an impairment in the following categories:

  • Total suspended solids
  • Total phosphorus (nutrient)
  • Macroinvertebrates (aquatic animals)
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Fish species
  • E. coli (bacteria)

View the most recent stream monitoring map.

For more information about waterbody impairments, visit the Minnesota's Impaired Waters List webpage managed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.


Riley Creek Factsheet

Learn more about Riley Creek

Riley Creek Factsheet

Related Projects

Middle Riley Creek Stabilization Project

This project will stabilize 970 feet of Riley Creek within the Bearpath Golf and Country Club.

Lower Riley Creek Ecological Restoration

The District with the City of Eden Prairie and the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District are working together to stabilize and enhance the creek.

RElated Documents


DNR StreamFinder

Get information about location, fishing regulations, water access sites and more.


MPCA Surface Water Data

Find historical lake and stream water quality data.


Metropolitan Council

View and download information on lakes, rivers, streams, rain gauges