Water Quality Improvement Projects
The City of Apple Valley looks to improve the water quality of our area lakes and wetlands by installing projects and completing practices that help reduce pollutant inputs into our water bodies. When possible and feasible the City looks to capitalize on available grants through the State's Clean Water Fund program and other local government agencies, such as the Black Dog Watershed Management Organization, Vermillion River Watershed , and Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Click through the carousel below to learn more about water quality improvement projects installed in the City. For more ways to make an impact, check out the City's Rainwater Rewards program.
2021 Scout Lake Fish Survey: Fishing For Success
Results of the 2021 Scout Lake Fish Survey are quite promising and are showing the benefits of fisheries management in our water bodies. Bullhead numbers, which contribute to poor water quality, have gone down by about 95% since the last survey completed in 2019.
This reduction is likely due to a 2017 removal of 935 lbs. of bullheads (see fig. 1), 2017 stocking of sunfish (see fig. 3) which are predators to young bullheads, and ongoing winter aeration. Sunfish are proving to be spawning as well, which should continue to help control the bullhead population.
With bullhead under control, staff will continue to monitor how the lake responds and use adaptive management strategies and efforts that may be beneficial to the lake moving forward. The official fish survey is available on the City’s website.
Figure 1: Bullhead removal in 2017. Harvested fish were given to UMN to feed gamefish.
Figure 2: Tiny bullhead fish. Bullhead are bottom feeders that stir up sediment and can contribute to poor water quality.
Figure 3: 2017 fish stocking of sunfish.
Revamped Erickson Park
Work at Erickson Park to expand the existing stormwater treatment area is completed after construction began in August 2021. The City successfully leveraged grant dollars from the Clean Water Land and Legacy Fund and the Vermillion River Joint Powers Organization to expand the underutilized stormwater system to provide better water quality treatment to protect Long and Farquar Lakes.
The project was identified in a 2017 TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Implementation Plan that outlined ideal project locations to help improve the water quality in the impaired lakes.
The plan has provided instrumental framework that has helped the City obtain a number of grants to help improve the water quality in the Long and Farquar watershed.
Thank you to our project partners:
Long and Farquar Lakes: Johnny Cake Ridge Road Clean Water Projects
As part of the 2019 Johnny Cake Ridge Road Reconstruction Project, the City leveraged $300,000 of state Clean Water Fund grant dollars to install water quality improvement projects to help improve Long and Farquar Lakes. The project included the following Clean Water approved practices:
- A “road diet” (this just means making the roadway skinnier so less runoff is generated from storm events)
- Three newly planted filtration basins located near Falcon Ridge Middle School, CHRISTchurch, and along the trail south of 133rd Court. These systems will help filter pollutants before they enter the Long and Farquar watershed
- Underground sediment traps will further prevent pollutants and debris from entering the stormwater system
Not only do these systems provide water quality improvement, they also are helping provide pollinator habitat to extend the Dakota County North Creek Greenway Trail Corridor.
Thank you to our project partners:
North Creek Watershed: Hayes Arena Raingardens
In 2018, in partnership with the Dakota County Soil & Water Conservation District (DCSWCD), the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization, and the Minnesota Board of Soil & Water Resources (BWSR), the City of Apple Valley installed two raingardens outside Hayes Arena and Community Center in Apple Valley.
The basins will collect runoff from the parking lot, preventing many pollutants from traveling downstream to nearby bodies of water. The project will help:
- Collect runoff will collect in the basins during rain and snowmelt events
- Filter sediment and debris out in a pre-treatment system
- Reduce the amount of phosphorus naturally through soil and plants that would otherwise head downstream to the Vermillion River.
- Provide great public education and outreach being close to Hayes Arena and the Apple Valley Community Center and near Apple Valley High School
Learn more about the Hayes Arena Project and thanks to our project partners:
Long Lake: Long Lake Park Iron Enhanced Sand Filter
In 2012, two raingardens, fitted with Iron Enhanced Sand were constructed between an existing stormwater pond and Long Lake to create a three step stormwater treatment system. First coarse sediment is removed in the wet pond, then bioinfiltration reduces volume and finally the iron filings in the sand filter removes dissolved phosphorous before the runoff reaches Long Lake. This watershed major contributor of nutrients, such as phosphorus, to Long Lake which has been on the impaired waters list since 2002. The Long and Farquar Lakes TMDL calls for a reduction in phosphorus levels to meet water quality goals.
Learn more about the Long Lake Iron Enhanced Sand Filter Project and thanks to our project partners:
Keller Lake: Whitney Pond Construction
In 2011, in partnership with the Black Dog Watershed Management Organization and the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) the city received a grant to construct a 1.9-acre stormwater pond immediately upstream of Keller lake. Keller Lake is impaired for nutrients and ultimately drains to Crystal Lake, in Burnsville.
Whitney Pond provides stormwater pre-treatment for a 388 acre watershed (see area in black shading in photo) that previously drained directly to Keller Lake. The project was identified in the Crystal-Keller Use Attainability Analysis to reach water quality goals set by the Black Dog Watershed Management Organization. The City is currently looking at options for expanding this pond even further to get additional treatment. Check out the 2017 Keller Lake Subwatershed Assessment for more information.
Thanks to our project partners:
Alimagnet Lake: Sunset Pond Iron Enhanced Sand Filter Bench
In 2018-2019 the City worked with the Vermillion River Watershed and the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to install a iron enhanced sand filter bench along an existing pond immediately upstream of Alimagnet Lake. Alimagnet Lake is impaired for nutrients.
The project was identified in the Alimagnet Lake Subwatershed Assessment Report. During specific rainfall events, the pond will increase in elevation seeping through the gabion rock wall and entering into the iron enhanced sand filter bench. The gabion rock wall will help filter any unwanted debris from entering into the sand filter. The water then infiltrates through the sand, absorbing dissolved phosphorous during the process. The clean water then leaves the sand filter through the drain tile pipe and outlets into the lake.
Thanks to our project partners:
Long and Farquar Lake: Falcon Ridge Middle School Raingardens
In 2009, in an effort to reduce the nutrients being delivered from external sources, the City partnered with the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization partnered Falcon Ridge Middle School, and the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District to build raingardens designed to reduce nutrient levels in Long and Farquar Lakes.
The two installed raingardens at the Middle School help:
- Reduce water quality problems such as cloudiness, algae blooms, and low dissolved oxygen by reducing pollution into Long and Farquar Lakes
- Provide the school with an environmental education focus area and improved aesthetics
- Provide pollution reductions necessary for Long and Farquar Lakes Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study Allowed to the school to maintain its snow storage space.
Learn more about the Falcon Ridge Middle School Project and thanks to our project partners:
Falcon Ridge Middle School ISD196
Long Lake Watershed: Alum Treatment & Everest Iron Enhanced Sand Filter
In 2013, the City of Apple Valley received a grant for improvements to ponds EVR-P12 (Public Water 19022500) and EVR-P8 from the Board of Water and Soil Resources through its Clean Water Fund program. EVR-P12 is a major contributor of nutrients, such as phosphorus, to Long Lake which has been on the impaired waters list since 2002. The Long and Farquar Lakes TMDL calls for a reduction in phosphorus levels from EVR-P12 to meet water quality goals.
Improvements included installation of an iron enhanced sand filter (Minnesota Filter) and aluminum sulfate treatments (alum). The project reduced phosphorus contributions to Long Lake by 61 pounds per year, or about 24% of the watershed phosphorus reduction recommended. The project began in the spring 2013 and was completed in December 2015.
See Project Details and thanks to our project partners:
The City has been successful in receiving grants through the state's Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. In 2008, Minnesota's voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment (Legacy Amendment) to the Minnesota Constitution to: protect drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve arts and cultural heritage; to support parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater.
The Legacy Amendment increases the state sales tax by three-eighths of one percent beginning on July 1, 2009 and continuing until 2034. The additional sales tax revenue is distributed into four funds as follows:
- · 33% to the clean water fund
- · 33% to the outdoor heritage fund
- · 19.75% to the arts and cultural heritage fund
- · 14.25% to the parks and trails fund.
Funds are typically dispersed through yearly competitive grants through the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). In recent years, BWSR has begun a Watershed Based Funding initiative by distributing funds to local agencies to accelerate clean water practices. Apple Valley will continue to utilize grant opportunities for prioritized and targeted cost-effective projects with measurable water quality results.