Crews rebuild Minnehaha Creek

Minnehaha Creek approaching homes.
Yards all along Minnehaha Creek are flooded from heavy rains in Edina, Minn., in June 2014.
Elizabeth Dunbar | MPR News file 2014

Five years after flood waters eroded the banks of Minnehaha Creek, crews are halfway through a $250,000 project to rebuild them.

Most of the work is centered around seven small sections of the creek below Minnehaha falls, according to Tiffany Schaufler, who is managing the project for the local watershed district. She said the flood left behind a lot of damage.

"The creek ran over its banks from May through October," she said. "A lot was just washed away."

To rebuild the washed-out banks, Schaufler's crews are bringing in huge blankets made of coconut fibers, filling them with seed and dirt, and piling them up.

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"They look like soil burritos," she said.

For the first few years, she said the fiber blankets will stabilize the new soil. By the time they rot away, the seeds will have germinated and grown roots, preventing future erosion.

Schaufler hopes the banks will eventually look as good as they did before the flood — and she said, they'll be stronger.

"The creek has to be resilient," she said. "Not only against flooding but against anything that comes from our changing climate."

The project was paid for by a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant. Schaufler hopes finish 500 feet of creek bank by June.