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Surface Water & Sewers Division
309 2nd Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55401-2268

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Lake Nokomis Groundwater and Surface Water Issues

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Project Updates

June 2019

Resident Questions & Agency Responses
The public agency partners collectively responded to a resident’s questions about the high groundwater levels near Lake Nokomis. Read the questions, which are some of residents’ most frequently asked questions about the issue, and responses to learn more about what has been studied since November 2017. 

Groundwater Well Installation Update
In February 2019, the DNR installed two additional wells at Solomon Park. These deep wells will complement the other four wells that have been installed since fall of 2017 to better understand groundwater elevations, groundwater flow and interactions between the different aquifers in the area. A summary of the well data is provided above in the response to a resident's questions

White Paper Synthesis on the Evaluation of Surface & Groundwater Interactions
Since November 2017, the public agency partners have collectively reviewed over 70 studies and resources, held over 20 interagency team meetings, participated in five meetings with policy makers and members of the public, and invested over $140,000 through the installation of six wells. The evaluation of surface and groundwater interactions in South Minneapolis is a good example of how a governance structure can be formed to effectively and efficiently evaluate existing data, gather new data and draw working conclusions. In an effort to capture the work done to date by the interagency team, a report is being drafted by the inter-agency team to summarize:
The report (white paper synthesis) is expected to be complete by the end of 2019. 

University of Minnesota Third-Party Review 
The University of Minnesota (UMN) has been contracted to conduct an independent third-party review of the work completed to date by the interagency team. The UMN’s work will focus on:
The UMN’s third-party review is expected to be complete by the end of 2019. 

View the October 9, 2018 Newsletter here.

As part of efforts to keep area residents informed and engaged, the Nokomis Area Groundwater and Surface Water Evaluation team held an open house in October 2018. Interagency staff were on hand to provide information and answer questions on a variety of topics related to groundwater and surface water issues in the area. Information from this meeting will be posted on this site soon.

Minnehaha Creek Watershed Levels Update

View the latest water level report from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. These reports are generated after major rainfall events.

What is the Concern

Property owners near Lake Nokomis have noted higher levels of groundwater and standing water in previously dry areas, such as Solomon Park and Lake Nokomis Park. Additionally, the City of Minneapolis has received concerns over deteriorating private sewer laterals and groundwater impacting basements and foundations. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has observed high water levels in Lake Nokomis, which has impacted beaches and shorelines.

Area of Concern

Nokomis Groundwater Area Map

What are we Working to Understand

Who is Working to Understand the Concerns?

Groundwater and surface water management within Minneapolis falls under many different jurisdictions, therefore a group of agencies are working in partnership to evaluate and understand the groundwater impacts. Agencies participating in the evaluation include MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR), City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD), and Hennepin County. These agencies are also coordinating with MN Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Metropolitan Airports Commission.

How are these Agencies Working Together?

Staff from the DNR, City of Minneapolis, MPRB, and MCWD are working together in a technical team to try and understand the questions noted above, while coordinating with other technical partners (noted above) as needed. 

The work of the technical team has included installing new shallow groundwater wells, reviewing groundwater elevation data from existing monitoring wells, understanding soil characteristics and geology underlying the area, summarizing precipitation data, modeling groundwater recharge rates, looking at the Lake Nokomis water levels, and reviewing the operation of the Nokomis weir.

Contact Information

For additional questions or concerns, please email [email protected].

Presentation & Reports

Following a meeting with state, regional and local partners on November 30, 2017 the Surface Water and Sewers Division of Minneapolis Public Works committed to leading an technical team to investigate what is known about high groundwater challenges south and west of Lake Nokomis. The technical team had an initial meeting on January 22, 2017 to discuss sources of data, gaps in understanding, and how to bring resources together to conduct further technical work. Going forward, the team will determine what additional investigation may be needed to address the high groundwater and surface water issues in this area.

Current Lake Nokomis Level Information

Nokomis Area Groundwater & Surface Water Evaluation, Leadership Team Meeting Notes - May 1, 2018

Nokomis Area Groundwater FAQ Fact Sheet

Minneapolis Groundwater Technical Review - March 30, 2018

Preliminary Findings of Nokomis Area Groundwater Based on Metro Model 3 - Ray Wuolo

Lake Nokomis Outlet Operating Plan

MCWD Lake Nokomis Groundwater & Surface Water Issues report

Hydrogeologic data for Nokomis and Hiawatha Lakes

Minnesota Precipitation Trends

Nokomis Groundwater - Surface Water Coordination meeting - November 30, 2017

MPRB Surface and Groundwater Information presentation

Technical Team Meeting Minutes

Team meeting  #1 minutes - January 22, 2018

Team meeting #2 minutes - March 30, 2018

Partner Agencies

*City of Minneapolis
*Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB)
*Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR)
*Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD)
*Hennepin County
*Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES)
 Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
 City of Richfield
 Minneapolis Saint Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission (MSP MAC)
* Denotes Technical Team Member

Last updated Jun 12, 2019



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