Lake Cornelia

How Edina Is Improving Lake Cornelia

by John Anderson,
Regional Manager - West Metro

Recently I attended an event at Lake Cornelia in Edina to learn more about the ongoing efforts to improve its water quality. I’ve written about Lake Cornelia in the past and unfortunately it remains a lake with some very real problems, most notably a major breakout of toxic blue-green algae that happened in 2016.

Water Quality Problems at Lake Cornelia

The lake has water quality issues for a number of reasons. It lies in a large local watershed with over 1,000 nearby acres draining directly into it. This runoff can include a lot of pollution from streets, parking lots, and lawns.

The lake’s water quality issues are especially pronounced in the summer. Here's how the Nine Mile Creek Watershed District’s website puts it:

"Due to high levels of nutrients, the lake’s water quality has consistently been poor. Nutrients coming from the surrounding watershed feed algae in the summer, leading to low water clarity."

Efforts to Improve Water Quality

The good news is that the City of Edina and the Nine Mile Creek Watershed District are launching a new joint project to help clean up the lake and protect its water quality for the future.

For now the project is in the form of a draft report called the Lake Cornelia and Lake Edina Water Quality Study. The plan recommends a number of in-lake management practices to help improve water quality conditions. These practices include alum treatments, curly-leaf pondweed treatments, and infrastructure investments such as a spent lime treatment chamber. This treatment would remove dissolved phosphorus from storm water before it’s discharged into Lake Cornelia.

What You Can Do

While these projects would certainly make a difference, this isn't a problem for just the city and watershed district to work on. As the report’s summary points out, landowners can do a lot to help water quality with simple steps like planting a rain garden, creating shoreline buffers, cleaning up grass clippings, and participating in the Adopt A Storm Drain program.

If you are interested in learning more about what you can do to help improve Lake Cornelia—or any other lake in the West Metro area—feel free to contact me at 612.767.1571 or as I’d love to tell you more.