Clean Water Land & Legacy Logo

Seminary Pond

Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD), the Cities of Lauderdale and Falcon Heights, Ramsey County, and the University of Minnesota are working together to make improvements to Seminary Pond to minimize flooding and remove an estimated 2.26 tons of sediment and 10.3 pounds of phosphorous from entering the Mississippi River annually. Seminary Pond was built in the mid-1990s by the City of Lauderdale and receives stormwater runoff from a 128-acre subwatershed that extends beyond Lauderdale boundaries.

Partial funding for the project is provided by the State of Minnesota Clean Water Fund administered by Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.

The Challenge

Seminary Pond is a vital regional stormwater system that conveys runoff from a 128-acre subwatershed in the cities of Lauderdale, Falcon Heights, and Saint Paul, Minnesota. The pond was created in 1994 and was originally designed to move and temporarily store water runoff. It has provided limited flood control and minimal treatment of polluted water going to the storm sewer system and the Mississippi River. The pond is aging and there is an opportunity to enhance its functions and improve the surrounding natural area that is part of the larger, seven acre Breck Woods.

“Capitol Region Watershed District worked doggedly to pull together the partners and financial resources needed to accomplish the project. The beneficiaries are the Mississippi River and all of us who are committed to doing our part to protect and improve our local natural environment.” - Heather Butkowski, City of Lauderdale Administrator

The Solution

The Seminary Pond improvements include:

• removing over 25 years of built up sediment,
• expanding the pond’s capacity by deepening it and raising an earthen berm,
• stabilizing the channel, steep slopes and ravines leading up to the pond,
• adding iron-enhanced sand filters on two edges of the pond to remove dissolved phosphorus, a pollutant in stormwater runoff that fuels algae growth, and
• improving wildlife habitat by controlling invasive plant species and adding native plants.

The project will help minimize flooding downstream and remove an estimated 2.26 tons of sediment and 10.3 pounds of phosphorus annually. Preventing pollution from entering the Mississippi River will help meet the river’s water quality standards. In addition, the project will improve wildlife habitat by controlling invasive plants and replacing them with native plants in and around the pond.


Improvements to Seminary Pond expanded and converted temporary stormwater storage to a wet, shallow pond.

The shallow pond allows sediment to settle to the bottom instead of flowing to the Mississippi River. Two iron-enhanced sand filters remove dissolved phosphorous – a pollutant in fertilizers, pet waste, and grass clippings that causes algae growth. This project added 27 native trees and 1,800 wetland plants to improve wildlife habitat.

The project minimizes flooding and removes an estimated 2.26 tons of sediment and 10.3 pounds of phosphorous from entering the Mississippi River annually.

Ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the site ensure it continues to provide benefits for many years to come. A prescribed burn in November 2023 will help control unwanted species and improve the diversity of native plants.

Prescribed Burn Helps Seminary Pond Thrive
Educational Sign at Seminary Pond PDF