Project 1007 celebrates 30th birthday


Angie Hong - Washington Conservation District

Project 1007, a large flood-control project constructed by the Valley Branch Watershed District, turned 30 this year—and continued its unblemished record of controlling Washington County flood waters. Since completion in 1987, no homes protected by the $4.25 million project have flooded. 

The Valley Branch Watershed District manages lakes and streams within an area comprising 70 square miles of Washington County and one square mile of Ramsey County. The intricate Project 1007 system includes five miles of pipe, 60 manholes, two dams, and two miles of open channels. Starting at Long Lake, it links the major lakes in the northwest and central portions of the district (Lake DeMontreville, Lake Olson, Lake Jane, Eagle Point Lake, Lake Elmo, and Horseshoe Lake) to a large storm sewer pipe along Interstate 94 that discharges to the St. Croix River. In addition to minimizing water level fluctuations, the system improves water quality by reducing erosion related to flooding. It also includes large infiltration areas to recharge groundwater. 

The importance of infrastructure like Project 1007 is underscored by predictions of rainfall events of increased frequency, severity, and duration. To ensure that homes continue to be protected from flooding, maintaining the system is a priority for the district. Each fall, the district’s engineers conduct an inspection of the system’s open channels, water-level-control structures, and dams, performing routine maintenance as necessary. In some years, the required maintenance is as straight-forward as clearing downed trees from open channels. Occasionally, more intensive structural repairs are necessary, such as repairing holes in manholes or replacing old wooden structures that hold back water from the district’s lakes. This year, the district’s engineers found the system to be in generally good working order, recommending routine maintenance including removal of a beaver dam and downed trees. 

Residents petitioned the state to form the Valley Branch Watershed District in 1968 to address area flooding problems. Since its inception, the district’s role has expanded to address all facets of water resource management. The entity is governed by a board of five managers who meet two times each month. Municipalities included within the district include Afton, Grant, Lake Elmo, Lake St. Croix Beach, Mahtomedi, Oak Park Heights, Oakdale, Pine Springs, St. Mary’s Point, Maplewood, North St. Paul, White Bear Lake, Woodbury, and the townships of Baytown and West Lakeland.


 

-- Angie Hong is an educator for East Metro Water - www.mnwcd.org/emwrep - which includes Brown’s Creek, Carnelian Marine - St. Croix, Comfort Lake - Forest Lake, Middle St. Croix, Ramsey Washington-Metro, Rice Creek, South Washington and Valley Branch Watersheds, Cottage Grove, Dellwood, Forest Lake, Lake Elmo, Stillwater, West Lakeland, Willernie and Woodbury, Washington County and the Washington Conservation District. Contact her at 651-330-8220 ext. 35 or angie.hong@mnwcd.org.  

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