The Neal Street Ravine is a natural drainage way located on a bluff area here in Red Wing. The ravine collects storm runoff from a large area and drains into Hay Creek before reaching the Mississippi River. Hay Creek is a designated trout stream, which requires special protections to ensure superior water quality and habitat for this species. Trout need cold, clear water and lots of shade and food sources to thrive. The ravine has been eroding for a while now, and the erosion has increased significantly in the last few decades, due to increased residential development and the increased intensity and frequency of storm events. Sediment loads from the ravine erosion cloud the water and fill in deep pools, which degrades the habitat in the creek.
This restoration project was identified in the City’s Surface Water Management Plan and construction plans were accepted by the City Council on February 13, 2023. The project will include clearing of trees for access to the ravine, removing sediment from the lower portions of the ravine, hauling in fill to the upper eroded banks, and stabilization with rip-rap rocks along the banks and channel. The work is anticipated to begin in mid 2023 as weather conditions allow.
The ravine has been eroding faster over the last few decades due to increased development and more frequent and intense storms. Roof leaders from houses that direct rain water toward the ravine increase this erosion. Residential best management practices for stormwater, such as rain barrels, are a great way for residences surrounding the ravine to help solve the problem! The City is applying for a grant through the Watershed Alliance for the Greater Zumbro River to provide rain barrels to residences adjacent to this project area. If the grant is awarded, each house surrounding the ravine will be given a rain barrel to use! There will also be free trainings with Master Gardeners on how to set up and use the rain barrel, and other residential stormwater best management practices such as rain gardens.