Session B3- Valley Creek infiltration measures and channel stabilization

Valley Creek, located in the city of Afton, Minnesota, is one of the finest trout streams in the Twin Cities area The stream is largely groundwater fed and has a relatively undeveloped watershed. The trout population is composed primarily of brook and brown trout, with limited numbers of rainbow and tiger trout. Valley Branch Watershed District completed an erosion inventory in 2005, a continuation of the 1999 Natural Resources Inventory (NRI). The inventory documented 90 erosion sites in seven tributary ravines, more than sixty stream bank erosion sites, and 33 sites adjacent to roadway runoff areas that could contribute sediment to Valley Creek. The District completed projects in 2008 that reconnected more than 2,200 feet of the creek to its floodplain, corrected three large bank erosion sites, and provided runoff infiltration. The projects improved trout habitat and reduce sediment input to the St. Croix River. Stabilization of the longest reach raised the channel profile and lowered the floodplain to increase the frequency of overbank flooding, reducing stress on the channel banks. Concurrent with the 2008 construction, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources collaborated with Washington County to provide trout habitat at a reconstructed bridge crossing located a short distance upstream of the St. Croix River and downstream of the stabilization projects. In 2010, the District replaced a privately-owned dam near the headwaters of Valley Creek with a series of rapids, eliminating a barrier to fish passage. Currently, the District is working with another property owner to restore 8,200 feet of badly incised creek. Invertebrate and fish community data, and water chemistry data were collected to assess the impact of the stream improvements. The monitoring data shows brook trout are returning to some reaches; additional data will be presented to evaluate the project effectiveness over the short-term.
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