Rice Creek opens after waterway returned to original meandering path

19 July 2016

500 new feet of stream created in Rice Creek Commons redevelopment

Ramsey County announced today that a new section of Rice Creek has been completed following an eight-month project to transform the waterway back to its original meandering path. As a part of the project, 500 new feet of stream were created in a section of creek that runs through Rice Creek Commons.

Rice Creek remeander project

“Rice Creek is a wonderful natural asset for our community, and this project has helped preserve it for future generations to enjoy,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman, who represents the area around Rice Creek Commons.

Originally flowing along a winding path that included many twists and turns, the creek was straightened in the early 1900s for agricultural purposes. The straightened route resulted in faster flowing water, which increased erosion along the stream bank and bed. Because the land is no longer used for farming, the creek did not need to remain straightened.

The creek will serve as an amenity for Rice Creek Commons, the 427-acre commercial and residential development at the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant. Additionally, by remeandering the stream, Ramsey County will be able to construct a roundabout intersection at County Road H and I-35W, providing a gateway entrance to Rice Creek Commons.

Ramsey County collaborated with the Rice Creek Watershed District, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on the project, which also included the creation of wetlands and restoration of the floodplain to improve habitat for native wildlife.

About Rice Creek Commons

Rice Creek Commons is a 427-acre development at the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills. In April 2013, Ramsey County purchased the site, which was the largest superfund site in the state. Work to clean the site to residential standards was completed in November 2015 and will be verified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency in 2016. The redevelopment will include a mix of residential, commercial, and open spaces. When completed, the project will create thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars annually in county and state property taxes.