Waters of Bloomington
Click on the following links for more information on Bloomington’s lakes, ponds, and wetlands! If you are trying to find a body of water, use the following:
(Map coming soon)
More information on the Waters of Bloomington:
The City of Bloomington crosses the boundaries of four watersheds: Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek, Nine Mile Creek, Lower Minnesota River, and Richfield Bloomington. Each of these are managed by an independent agency, either a watershed district or watershed management organization. Be aware that if you are looking to do a construction project, you may need a permit from the appropriate watershed district. See below for links to their websites.
Want to know what watershed you live in? If you are a Bloomington resident, use this interactive map (coming soon).
If you live outside of Bloomington, you can find out more information on the watersheds across Minnesota here.
Want to know more about what watersheds are and why they are so important? Click here to learn more about watersheds!
Click the following links to be directed to each watershed’s website:
There are more than 500 bodies of water in Bloomington. they range from small ponds to large lakes. Most of these were here long before the City of Bloomington was incorporated. The City works hard to ensure that these waters and the ecology they support are treated and managed in a way that promotes ecological resiliency, adaptability, and ecosystem health.
Most of the lakes and ponds in Bloomington are considered shallow water systems. These are unique systems that support a complex ecology. One way you can help keep these waters healthy and clean is learn how they function. Check out this video made by the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District to learn about shallow water lakes!
There are many recreational opportunities within, and alongside, the Lakes and ponds in Bloomington.
- Click here for a complete list of Bloomington parks
- The Hyland Lake Park Preserve is managed by the Three Rivers Park District. Click here to visit their website.
Remember, when interacting with a body of water, take precautions not to spread aquatic invasive species. Click here for information on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Stormwater Pond Management
The majority of ponds in Bloomington are considered stormwater ponds. This means that pipes connect them to the City’s stormwater infrastructure network. Historically, most of these ponds were not connected to one another. Back then, the water that flowed into them was cleaned by the nearby forests or meadows.
Now-a-days, when it rains, because of the many roads, sidewalks, roofs, and other impervious surfaces, water moves very quickly. Without the historic forests and meadows, the water is able to pick up things on the ground, like dirt, leaves, and trash. It then carries all this stuff into stormwater drains which flow into ponds. That means, anything that was picked up by the water as it moved over impervious surfaces ends up in our ponds. This is a leading cause of water pollution in urban areas.
Check out this video to learn more about how Bloomington samples water quality:
Why So Green?
Plants and algae in ponds and lakes are a common concern for residents. There are types of plants that are problematic and there are plants that are good. In any case, there are always going to be plants. Click the link below for more information on aquatic plants and management options.
Learn more about wetlands through the MN DNR's website below
Nine Mile Creek
(map coming soon)
If you want to learn more about Nine Mile Creek, please visit:
(map coming soon)
If you want to learn more about the Minnesota River, please visit the following websites:
Information and Facts
For information on the State of Minnesota's groundwater, visit the MPCA's webpage:
- Minnesota Department of Health: drinking water supply
Water Quality and Aquatic Plant Characteristics
A Survey of Several Bloomington Ponds Investigating Water Quality and Aquatic Plant Characteristics
During 2009, the City of Bloomington monitored 28 different lakes and ponds within the City. In 2010, the City continued these monitoring efforts, but limited the monitoring to only smaller water bodies.
The objective of monitoring these water bodies includes the following:
- Characterize water quality conditions in the selected ponds in June, July, and August
- Evaluate how ponds were performing in regard to reducing nutrients in storm water runoff
- Evaluate aquatic plant and algal treatments on treated ponds
- Suggest future management options for the Bloomington pond group
Information Available Online
2009 Water Quality and Aquatic Plant Conditions in 28 Lakes and Ponds in Bloomington
2009 Individual Pond Reports
2009 Appendix A Pond Pictures
2010 Water Quality and Aquatic Plant Report
2010 Fish Surveys of Ten Storm Water Ponds in Bloomington
As the weather warms, be wary of blue-green algae
Cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, is seen all across the state of Minnesota. When blooming, these organisms produce toxins that can cause harm to humans and animals. Blooms normally begin to occur in July and the warm weather of this year, along with ample rainfall, create conditions that have already allowed blooms to form and prosper.
Harm caused by blue-green algae
Most of the time, blue-green algae has a particular look and smell that deters people from going into the water. Swimming isn’t the only way blue-green algae can cause harm to humans and pets, though. Humans have become sick from accidentally ingesting water droplets that splash up into boats. Of course, that means humans and animals may fall ill from drinking the water. Blue-green algae can also cause skin irritation.
Dogs are more at risk for harm from blue-green algae because of the amount of water they swallow while swimming, especially if they are retrieving a toy from the water. They also may lick algae from their fur, which can cause harm, as well. Dogs may experience vomiting, diarrhea, rash, difficulty breathing, general weakness, liver failure, and seizures if exposed to blue-green algae. If you believe your dog may have been exposed, seek veterinary help immediately. In extreme cases, blue-green algae exposure may cause death.
Harmful blooms are often described as looking like green paint, pea soup, or “a floating mat of scum”. A harmful bloom may or may not have an unpleasant smell. Sometimes, though, a harmful algal bloom may be present with no obvious signs. Enter water with caution: check the edge of the water for algae (an indicator that a bloom may have recently occurred and that the water may contain toxins) before you, your pets, or your children dive right in. Remember the recommendation when it comes to blue-green algae: if in doubt, stay out!
If you believe you or your pet may have accidentally come into contact (through skin or ingestion) with a harmful algal bloom (HAB), immediately wash off with fresh water, paying special attention to those areas that were covered with a swim suit or clothing. Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, eye irritation, skin rash, sore throat, cough, headache, or seizures may occur anywhere from two hours to two days after exposure. If symptoms do occur, contact your doctor or veterinarian as soon as possible.
More information on blue-green algae, including how to report a possible human or animal illness, is available on the Minnesota Department of Health Harmful Algae Blooms web page.
Reducing algal blooms
For an algal bloom to be exterminated, the weather must disrupt its growth. There is no short-term solution to the issue. There are things that can be done to reduce algal blooms in the future.
To solve problems with HAB's, water quality must be improved. Algal blooms are caused in large part by high concentrations of phosphorus in a body of water. Phosphorus naturally is present in organic material, and it increases plant growth. To produce algal blooms, phosphorus must be present in excess. Excess phosphorus can find its way to lakes through runoff from urban and agricultural land that is treated with fertilizer. Reducing fertilizer use, along with keeping yard and pet wastes off of pavement, can help reduce the amount of phosphorus in lakes, thereby improving water quality and reducing the number of algal blooms.