Ramsey County restores curves to Rice Creek


Ramsey County put curves back into a section of Rice Creek in the Rice Creek Commons in order to slow down the flow of water to reduce erosion. The county announced the completion of the work July 19.

What once was straight now meanders — on July 19 Ramsey County announced it had completed work to bring the curves back to a section of Rice Creek that runs through the Rice Creek Commons.

Even before the site became the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant — commonly known as TCAAP — the creek was straightened out in the early 20th century for agricultural purposes, a release about the project says.

While that setup may have worked well for farming, the release says, the straight shot down the creek meant water could flow fast, which increased erosion on the creek banks and bed.

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

The restored curves in the creek will slow water down as it flows through, decreasing erosion in the system.

The creek runs through the 427-acre Rice Creek Commons, which is a redevelopment of the TCAAP site in Arden Hills. The land is east of Interstate 35W and north of Highway 96. 

The county worked with the Rice Creek Watershed District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on the project, which also included creating wetlands and a floodplain in the area.

Ramsey County purchased the TCAAP site in April 2013 for $28 million, subsequently renaming it Rice Creek Commons.

TCAAP was built in 1941 and produced small arms ammunition through the end of World War II; at its height, the plant employed 26,000 people.

The plant also operated during the Korean and Vietnam wars and was put on standby from 1976 to 2002.

 

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