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Rush Creek Subwatershed

The headwaters for Rush Creek have been studied to identify the most effective solutions to reduce water pollution in several lakes and streams within the Elm Creek watershed.

The best opportunities to reduce pollution are on private land. This makes it critical for landowners to get involved by taking actions to reduce pollution. Installing practices that reduce pollution can also help address drainage issues or improve manure storage and animal health.

Hennepin County has funding available to landowners to install practices that reduce water pollution.

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The Rush Creek Subwatershed included in this project covers 24 square miles. It primarily includes Corcoran with a sizeable portion in Rogers and a small section in Greenfield. Water bodies in this area include Lake Jubert and Henry Lake, as well as the South Fork of Rush Creek. 

Check to see if your property is within the study area using the map.

View full size interactive map.

Rush Creek is experiencing high levels of bacteria such as E. coli, and nutrients derived from a variety of sources. This has led to the area being considered an “impaired water.” Nutrients in Rush Creek make it a hard place to live for fish, bugs, and other critters that use it as habitat. Bacteria make it unsafe for recreational uses.

Conservation projects implemented in this subwatershed can drastically lower the levels of pollutants reaching this waterway and help reverse some of the impacts. To identify water quality issues, causes and potential solutions, an assessment of the Rush Creek Subwatershed was done.

Rush Creek Subwatershed assessment

Clean Water Fund grant

Clean water, land, and legacy amendment logo

Funding is available for projects on farms in the Rush Creek Subwatershed. The project must improve water quality and farm management. Upgrades can make management easier and help support animal and soil health.

Use of funds

Grant funds can be used to cover up to 90% of project costs for:

  • Conservation practices
  • Farm infrastructures — such as fencing and manure bunkers — that reduce erosion and runoff from fields, pastures, paddocks, and feedlots
  • Construction of structural soil and water conservation measures such as grassed waterways, buffer strips, or water and sediment control basins for farms with crops

Hennepin County and Elm Creek Watershed Management Commissions

Hennepin County has partnered with the Elm Creek Watershed Management Commission to administer the Clean Water Fund grant from the State of Minnesota.


Conservation Specialist, Kevin Ellis at

Livestock farmer project example


Bacterial contamination from manure runoff caused by livestock grazing near streams or ponds.

Solution and result

Use grant funds to help reduce the impact of pollution from livestock. This helps ensure that waterways are clean and safe for human usage.

The result is reduced algae blooms in the nearby pond and easier manure and water management for the property owners.

shed outside manure bunker


Marv and Jan Meyer, who live in rural Rogers, noticed that their barn and horse paddock would flood in wet seasons. As the water would run off to a nearby pond, it would often take manure from the paddock with it.

After reaching out to Hennepin County, staff from the Energy and Environment Team met with the Meyers to understand their needs. The team then created a personalized solution that would result in cleaner water while aiding in the management of their horses.

Using cost-share funds, the Meyers were able to install a new drainage system, including a trench drain, that would divert water around the barn leaving manure in place in the paddock. This resulted in a much drier barn and paddock, particularly during heavy rain events.

Project funds were also used to help build a large manure bunker. The bunker allows for manure to be collected and composed before being applied as a fertilizer.

Crop farmer project example


Crop fields on areas with sloping or highly erodible soils can often lead to soil and nutrients ending up in waterways.

Solution and result

Use of grant funds to help structural issues to alleviate or stop the runoff. This will help reduce erosion and phosphorous runoff, keep soil in the fields.

The result is less runoff and better water quality.


A farmer in rural Corcoran was having issues with runoff from a steep, sloped field. The slope contributed to runoff, which reached a nearby lake, leading to water quality issues.

After working with Hennepin County, the landowner was able to use a $35,000 to install a waterway, control basin, and subsurface drainage. The waterway directs excess water off the fields and into the nearby lake, while the control basins allow soil to settle before running off.

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