Valley Creek Mainstem Restoration Project

In late 2023, Valley Branch Watershed District (VBWD) received a $462,000 Clean Water Fund (CWF) grant for the Valley Creek Mainstem Restoration project. The project is located on private property along the mainstem creek in Afton, approximately 1/3 mile upstream from Putnam Boulevard. VBWD identified and prioritized the project during a watershed wide assessment of Valley Creek and its contributing watershed. A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2021 geomorphic study of this stretch of the creek summarized signs of channel incising and downcutting.

To restore the stream reach, the project will increase the mainstem creek’s floodplain connectivity by reshaping 600 feet of the creeks banks and removing approximately 12,000 cubic yards of material, creating a 60-foot-wide native floodplain buffer. This will reduce the erosion and prevent 8.5 tons of sediment from eroding and silting in trout spawning grounds.

Portions of the streambed will also be modified to include cross vanes and root wads to allow for fish passage and provide ample areas of refuse and habitat. The floodplain area will remove less desirable vegetation such as buckthorn, burdock, and reed canary grass and establish a native vegetation floodplain connection with the incised channel. The deep-rooted native vegetation will provide stability in the floodplain during high flows, reducing downstream erosion and channel degradation.

The project recently finalized contract agreements between the landowner, VBWD, and CWF grant and is now underway in design. The anticipated schedule for the project includes design and permitting in 2024 and construction in the spring/fall of 2025.

Valley Creek Mainstem Restoration Project 2023 CWF Grant Figure
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