Wedge Creek Restorations 1-6 2015

The SRRWD established a stream restoration program in 2010. The program includes restoration and enhancement of in-stream, riparian fish and wildlife habitat in the watershed. The SRRWD has completed the Wedge Creek Stream Habitat Restoration Plan for a 1.95 mile reach of Wedge Creek, a tributary watershed that discharges into Fountain and Albert Lea Lakes in the City of Albert Lea. The entire 36 acre restoration project is part of a program designed to reduce stream bank erosion and associated sedimentation, reconnect streams to their floodplains to reduce negative impacts from severe flooding, increase natural reproduction of fish and other aquatic organisms and stabilize stream banks with minimal maintenance. The project is divided into six individual reaches in accordance stream morphology.

This restoration project will help protect Fountain Lake from surface water drainage transporting sediments and nutrients, which is a goal listed in the Freeborn County Compressive Water Management Plan. Wedge Creek was selected as a critical area of restoration through numerous modeling and analysis methods that include precision conservation modeling, water quality monitoring and stream survey analysis and biological surveys. Wedge Creek outlets into Fountain Lake, which is designated as an Impaired Water by the MPCA: deemed for phosphorus, pH and suspended solids. The SRRWD in cooperation with the MPCA has currently conducted a TMDL analysis for the Shell Rock Watershed. Load analysis has identified the need for reductions in sediment and phosphorus loads from tributary watersheds and control of internal loading caused by release of phosphorus from re-suspended sediments.

The erosional stream banks are creating well documented water quality issues within Wedge Creek and downstream in Fountain Lake that include elevated suspended sediments and phosphorus levels which were detrimental to fish and wildlife habitat. Prior to this project, Wedge Creek was estimated to be contributing 1,000 tons of sediment per year to Fountain Lake. Current conditions of Wedge Creek include steep erosive slopes with low levels of available wildlife habitat, in stream habitat, and native wetland vegetation. This project and water quality benefits specified as a priority in the Shell Rock Management Plan.

The goal is to implement habitat restoration features to provide stable stream bank conditions and erosion protection, floodwater attenuation, sediment reduction/capture and create in-stream habitat for game and non-game fish, reptiles and amphibians in the Wedge Creek sub-watershed. The project was divided into six individual reaches in accordance to topography and landscape features. The SRRWD completed 1,500 linear feet (4.7 acres) of restoration on reach #3 of Wedge Creek in the winter of 2011. Reach #2 at 1,604 linear feet and reach #4 at 1,819 (9.23 acres total) was completed in 2013. Reach #1 at 2,600 linear feet and reach #5 at 2,513 linear feet (15.56 acres total) was completed in 2014. The final reach to be completed, reach 6, was completed in 2015 and was 1,525 linear feet (2.35 acres).

© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007