Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration: Section 206, Painter Creek, Hennepin County, Minnesota

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published March 14, 2016
Updated: March 17, 2022

To restore the degraded wetland habitat of Painter Creek by reestablishing the creek corridor and the natural meanders of the creek, as well as restoring the natural movement of water through the adjacent wetlands.


Painter Creek is part of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD), which includes part of the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and its western and northwestern suburbs. The Painter Creek Subwatershed is 8,667 acres (13.5 square miles) located along the northwestern boundary of the MCWD and includes Painter Creek, Katrina Lake, Thies Lake, large areas of undisturbed or low-density development (including Baker Park Reserve) and numerous wetlands. The project area consists of wetlands connected by Painter Creek flowing through South Katrina Marsh and Painters Marsh, then into Jennings Bay on Lake Minnetonka.


The Painter Creek Watershed has been extensively drained and ditched as a result of increasing demand for agriculture. This caused a loss of wetland and riparian habitat and increased sediment and nutrient loads downstream into Jennings Bay on Lake Minnetonka. The benefits to habitat and water quality have decreased due to the presence of the ditch system, which changed the frequency of which the wetlands are inundated from streamflows.

In September 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, completed a draft feasibility study on the restoration of vital habitat units lost to intensive farming and ditching of the subwatershed.


The MCWD was not ready to proceed in 2010. However, MCWD expressed a renewed interest in pursuing the project based on a modification to the land acquisition requirements. In July 2015, the MCWD submitted a letter of intent affirming board support and citing the legacy of cooperation between the Corps and the MCWD.

A feasibility cost-share agreement was needed to update the 2010 feasibility study in order to move forward to the design the implementation phase of the project. A feasibility cost-share agreement was signed in April 2017. A completed feasibility report is expected in fiscal year 2022. Following an approved feasibility study the next step is executing a project-partnership agreement for design and implementation.


Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, as amended.


Federal Preliminary Restoration Plan          $92,000

Federal Feasibility Cost                                 $332,000

Total Federal Funding to Date                     $424,000


Estimated Federal Cost                              $2,400,000

Estimated Non-Federal Cost                     $2,800,000

Estimated Total Project Cost                     $5,200,000