Mill Pond Restoration

The Mill Pond Shoreland and Aquatic Habitat Restoration Improvements were completed in June of 2019, including the first Mill Pond Citizen Science Event. The Phase II Mill Pond Access Trails and Bridges project is substantially complete and provides greater public access to the Mill Pond. The Mill Pond project restored 42 acres of shoreland and aquatic habitat, including native upland, riparian, and aquatic zones, which will help maintain and enhance sensitive species; sustain game-fish populations and helps to support migratory and resident wildlife populations. The project reduced erosion, total phosphorus and improved water quality.

The Mill Pond is a reservoir lake within the City of Champlin that was created in 1867 with the construction of the first Mill Pond Dam on the Elm Creek, at the outfall to the Mississippi River. Since that time, the Mill Pond has become an important water feature for fishing and recreational activity in the region.

Over the years, the Elm Creek and Mill Pond have become impaired due to poor agricultural practices and upstream erosion. The Mill Pond impairments are for Total Suspended Solids, phosphorous, bacteria and low dissolved oxygen. In 2012, the City completed the first stream restoration project upstream of the Mill Pond and completed the reconstructed Elm Creek Dam and shoreland restoration at the Mississippi River outfall in 2016.

In 2016 to 2017, the City established partnerships with the LCCMR, MN legislature, and Elm Creek Watershed to restore the Mill Pond and improve water access. A Technical Advisory Panel was formed to guide the design and development project goals for Habitat Restoration; Water Quality Improvements; Public Education; Public Access and Recreation.

Phase I started in December 2017, and included the removal of phosphorus-laden sediments, installation of the redesigned deep-water and shallow water habitat and in-lake structures. The project restored approximately 42 acres of shoreland area and aquatic habitat. The project restored native upland, riparian, and aquatic zones. The project outcomes include a reduction in erosion and improved water quality. The restored habitat will help maintain and enhance sensitive species like the Blanding's Turtle and sustain game-fish populations. The improved riparian and upland habitats help support migratory and resident wildlife populations.

The lake restoration was completed in June 2019 and the City held the first Mill Pond Citizen Science Event at the Mill Pond. The event provided hands-on interactive activities and educational experiences on fishery research, migratory birds and preservation of native plant communities. The project established an area of study for environmental science classes for area schools, which are expected to educate hundreds of students each year. Also, the completion of Phase II Mill Pond Trail Access project has improved the water access and recreational experiences for area residents.

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