City of Prior Lake, MN
City of Prior Lake, MN

Water Resources

fish in a net

Water quality and conservation, lakeshore preservation and our lakes' varying levels all play important roles in the quality of life for each resident, and all citizens are responsible for the health of these resources.

Many lakes in the City of Prior Lake are ultimately affected by what happens on the land draining to them. In the same way homeowners and farmers alike fertilize their lawns and fields to create a lush green lawn or plentiful crops, fertility in ponds and lakes cause similar effects: algae blooms and floating mats of vegetation. Because green is not the color we want the lakes, everyone needs to reduce the amount of fertility the water receives.

When temperatures climb and the summer sun beats down, conditions are ripe for Minnesota lakes to produce algae blooms, some of which are harmful to pets and humans. Algae blooms are common throughout the summer, with different species appearing from time to time. While many types of algae are not harmful, when in doubt, best keep out! The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) maintains a webpage with helpful information about blue-green algae and harmful algae blooms.

If you believe you or your pets are experiencing adverse health effects due to contact with, or ingestion of, lake water/algae, seek medical attention immediately. Potential harmful algae blooms should be reported to the MPCA at (651) 757-2419.

Residents can do their part by sweeping dirt and leaves from streets, preventing and controlling soil erosion and monitoring construction site erosion; composting lawn clippings, leaves, and pet waste, never allowing them to wash from the street into the drain; using lawn fertilizers sparingly, and only when a soil test recommends it, and never using banned phosphorus fertilizers; and leaving a buffer of natural vegetation between your manicured lawn and nearby water. For more simple things you can do, visit the Metro WaterShed Partners website.

In addition to over-fertility, water quality is affected by bacteria, chlorides, petroleum, and a variety of toxic chemicals. Never dump household chemicals or motor oil down the drain or onto land and keep vehicles well tuned and leak free.

If you see stormwater system problems like sediment flowing to a pond, large amounts of litter in a stormwater structure, unauthorized dumping into stormwater drains, polluted stormwater ponds, or if you have any other concerns call Public Works at (952) 447-9896. For more information, download this handout: Make Your Home the Solution to Stormwater Pollution Brochure, or the After the Storm handout.

The public is encouraged to review the City’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) document and provide input on the adequacy of the SWPPP. Contact Water Resources Engineer Pete Young at or 952-447-9831 to provide input. Input may also be provided during any regular Citizen Engagement Committee (CEC) meeting, where copies of the SWPPP are provided for review. See the City’s CEC page for more details.

Beach erosion is a constant issue for homeowners near lakes. Varying water levels, wave energy, improperly constructed retaining walls, steep slopes, ice action and mowing to the water's edge can all contribute to shoreline erosion.

The DNR has extensive information about erosion issues in which requirements are detailed. A quick place to start is at this DNR Web page on shoreline alterations. For more detailed information, the DNR Publication “Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality” or the instructional CD-ROM “Restore Your Shore” can be purchased from the Minnesota Bookstore, or download this handout on Water Efficient Landscaping.

Grant opportunities are available for homeowners through the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District for natural shoreland restoration.

Before proceeding with construction, contact the City of Prior Lake and Minnesota DNR to make sure you have all the appropriate permits. Improper construction can lead to legal action and a restoration order by the City or State.