Always blame the Beavers

Even though we are always busy, I wanted to show how responsive the city is to major issues. This all happened while I was working on an audit yesterday morning. Check out the sequence.

10:29 AM

Pond rising – Urgent
Hi Mike,
I am reaching out to you after several days of unsuccessful attempts to reach someone/anyone from the city or county who may know why the pond level behind the homes on Berkshire Rd is rising at an alarming rate. Despite the profound lack of rainfall. We would like to know the source of this rise – what is the impending threat – what can be done to protect the homes nearby.
Emails and voice mail left for Skip Langer, Park and rec, public works, city storm water.
Any other thoughts?
As Always,

11:00 AM


You are our defacto flood control guy. Any thoughts or know who the best contact would be at the DNR?

11:19 AM

Doug and Matt can you check on this? I don’t know if this is referring to the private stormwater pond. But we should go take a look. Thanks


12:46 PM

Hi all,

I haven’t received any calls or voice mail from XXX. I do speak with XXX, a Berkshire homeowner that also writes a newsletter for the association monthly. I spoke with her this week, gave an update on construction activity expected yet this fall and she never mentioned any issues.

I presume they have concern about Minnesota pond as its called. We did discuss this area with landowners last fall and spring and the fact that water levels were up. We completed land survey work to determine and confirmed that water does indeed drain away from the pond (overland flow) and could not rise enough to affect any homes at Berkshire. I believe that the survey information proved there is no risk to any home from higher water levels in this pond. The entire floodplain would need to be inundated by floodwaters before the Berkshire neighborhood would have any risks. These risks should have been calculated and compensated for prior to construction of the neighborhood through the development process.

I will head out to the site this afternoon to make a determination as to what and where the issue, if any, might be.

Also, they may be attempting to contact me at our former email address at USDA. My new email address is:
The old address is not monitored.

Thanks for passing along.

Skip Langer
Olmsted SWCD

2:25 PM

I checked out the site and talk to a couple who live next to the pond.

I marked up on attached map to show what I found. Some temporary culverts on the old portion of Cascade Creek are plugged, might be caused by a beaver from the placement of the mud. So the old section of the creek is now at a higher water elevation than the rest of the creek. All the storm water for the development south of the pond eventually drains to this pond. There was no pond outfall visible, only an overflow channel in the NW corner that would drain to the creek before water could impact any homes. The grading plan from 2005 did show in the pond cross section that a 15” HDPE was to be installed from the pond to the creek. The pipe had an elevation of 1016 in the pond. The pond also appears to be groundwater fed as no water is currently entering the pond through any of the storm water sewer pipes, but the creek could be back flowing into the pond if the discharge pipe is actually installed. It would appear the higher creek water elevation is preventing the pond from draining. As part of the cascade creek plan a new wetland (called Wetland #4) will be constructed where the old stream section is located. This will fill in the creek and create an outfall for the wetland at an elevation of 1019, this elevation is close to the current elevation of the pond. There is the potential the pond will stay at a higher normal water elevation after the cascade creek project is done. There is some landscaping that might be impact by the higher water elevations, but this landscaping appears to be beyond the home owner’s property lines and is technically on private property they do not own. No homes will be impacted by the higher water level, but the overflow swale may need to be maintained at a more regular schedule.

Pond Rising photo rising pond_zpskrtmy9bw.jpg

Matthew D. Crawford, P.E.
Project Development Manager
Rochester Public Works
Phone: 507-328-2411
Fax: 507-328-2401


Hi All,

Here is a note as to why they had trouble finding me, see thread below. I am happy to speak with these neighbors at any time. They have been very supportive of the project, a good neighbor, always cordial and I have spoken to various parties on many occasions while we were working on the project.

As an update to you all:

  • We have secured funding through the DNR’s Conservation Partners Legacy grant program to complete the remaining 4 of 5 wetlands on site, one is constructed not seeded yet.
  • This includes incorporating much of the old stream channel segments into several wetland basins when the new channel is fully activated. These basins will provide stormwater treatment, flood attenuation and improve water quality and wildlife habitat.
  • We will work to seed down the remaining uplands on this site to native prairie to improve habitat, protect floodplain soils from erosion and enhance the aesthetic value.
    We plan to activate the remaining new channel this fall and complete the wetland construction. It may be late October to November when the contractor starts but that is negotiable.
  • The County will continue to work with the City to complete mowings to address weed control onsite.
  • We continue to work with the MPCA to address all erosion and sediment control requirements on this project. The site is compliant with our project SWPPP.

Thank you, have a good day.

Skip Langer
Olmsted SWCD


Olmsted County has some equipment onsite. We will reviewed the condition of the plugged culvert tomorrow morning and open it back up if the beaver have plugged with mud and debris. There are some active beaver on this site and the wetland s will also create habitat for them and keep them out of the main stream.

Thank you,

Olmsted SWCD

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