Valley Creek Ravine 2E Stabilization Project

In 2019, Valley Branch Watershed District (VBWD) received a $405,000 Clean Water Fund (CWF) grant for the Valley Creek Ravine stabilization project. This project will continue to protect and improve Valley Creek, a world-class trout stream in the VBWD. Stabilizing Ravine 2E, which conveys runoff from a 150-acre watershed directly into the main stem of Valley Creek, will prevent approximately 7.8 tons annually of sediment from depositing in the creek and silting over trout spawning sites. It will also reduce the annual total phosphorus load to Valley Creek and the nutrient-impaired Lake St. Croix by approximately 52 pounds per year.

This project, located on three private properties, north of Valley Creek Trail and east of Neal Avenue South in Afton, was initially identified in the VBWD 2005 Valley Creek Erosion Inventory Study that identified and prioritized projects watershed-wide to improve the water quality and habitat of Valley Creek. The site was revisited in 2008/2009 and again in 2018 when VBWD pursued the CWF grant. Ravine 2E is typically dry. It is a steep ravine with exposed bedrock along much of the channel bottom. There were three actively eroding head cuts along the flow path: one along the drainage path in an open field upstream of the ravine (~3–4 feet deep), a second in the upper ravine (~3–4 feet deep), and a third in the lower ravine (~2–3 feet deep). Additionally, a small area of erosion on the boundary between the properties along an existing drainage way adjacent to the project area was identified after the CWF grant was secured. The CWF grant project provided runoff rate control into the ravine, repaired and stabilized the actively eroding head cuts, and stabilized a steep actively eroding bank at the lower ravine site. 

The VBWD secured permanent drainage easements on all private property. Construction was completed in the fall of 2021, with substantial completion by October 31, 2021. Rachel Contracting was the contractor.

The project included the construction of a runoff rate-control/infiltration basin at the head of Ravine 2E that allows for infiltration of runoff, addressed existing head cutting, and controls peak discharges into the ravine. This area was restored as mesic prairie, similar to the vegetation within the existing drainage way. The project also used riprap to stabilize the head cutting at the upper ravine site and vegetation in areas disturbed by the riprap installation. At the lower ravine site, riprap was used to stabilize the head cutting and the toe of the ravine’s east bank, where runoff is beginning to undercut the bank. On the west bank, where the slope was actively eroding, the slope was regraded back to a shallower slope and establishing riparian vegetation to stabilize the graded slopes and disturbed areas within the ravine.

As part of this project, the small area of erosion on the boundary between the properties along an existing drainage way was also stabilized and restored.

The VBWD Ravine 2E Stabilization Project is complete.  The following table summarizes the CWF amount, the VBWD local match funds, and the total project budget through December 31, 2021:


Budgeted Amount

Budget Spent

% of Budget Spent

Clean Water Grant1




VBWD Match Funds2




Total Project Budget




1 – Includes project design, permitting, construction oversight, and construction cost.  

2 – Includes easement coordination and acquisition costs

Completed Project Photos

View a map of the project area (.PDF)

Project Details (.PDF)

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