Repairs begin on parts of Minnehaha Creek damaged in 2014

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Repairs are set to begin Wednesday on parts of Minnehaha Falls and Minnehaha Creek that were damaged by flooding in 2014. 

Crews headed to Minnehaha Wednesday to repair areas damaged by flooding in 2014.

Though it’s the middle of winter, it’s the best time to fix the destructions of summer.

Tiffany Schaufler, Project and Land Manager for the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, said that with the water at it’s calmest, conditions have been ideal.

“The flows are around 10 cubic feet per second, so that’s pretty low, and that’s why it’s desirable to do this work in the winter time, when you’re not worried about a big rain event coming or a big snow melt,” Schaufler said.

It was a big snow melt in the spring of 2014 and a lot of rain - nearly 26 inches in the first six months of that year - that caused historic flooding all along Minnehaha Creek.

The damage ripped away the banks at about 40 places. The downstream from Minnehaha Falls is one of 10 getting major reconstruction, funded through a FEMA grant. The first three, above the falls, were done in December.

To repair the area, rock is added to the base, then encased layers of soil are stacked up almost like mattresses.

“Some people call them 'soil burritos' - a term I’ve heard – but, yes, soil lifts,” Schaufler said.

Each layer is wrapped in a coconut fiber mesh to hold it all in place. Trees and shrubs will be added later to give it even more structure.

“Depending on the height of the bank, they’ll either do that three or four times and then that final top one will have topsoil and seed in it, so then come spring, it’ll grow.”