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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.

Projects Updates

Construction of the project was substantially completed in late December 2020. Completed construction activities include:

• Excavating Seminary Pond, raising its western berm and creating a permanent shallow pool of water;
• Installing iron-enhanced sand filter benches on the north and south sides of the pond to remove dissolved phosphorus;
• Stabilizing the inlet channel in the northeast corner of the pond and two ravines upstream of the pond;
• Pretreating the runoff from Idaho Avenue before it enters the pond; and
• Replacing the pond outlet structure to better control flows leaving the pond and entering the storm sewer system.

Prior to leaving the site for the winter, the contractor installed hydroseed, mulch and biologs to stabilize bare soils, minimize erosion and prevent sediment pollution to the Mississippi River. The contractor will return in late spring 2021 to restore the site with native plants and trees.

Please check back to this page for construction updates.

Construction Time Lapse