This wildlife and recreational corridor connects Keller and Phalen regional parks.
Keller Creek is the channel connecting Keller Lake to Phalen and Round lakes in Maplewood. It was dredged for improved water flow and navigation in the early 1900s. A popular recreational trail parallels the creek for much of its length. The creek is subject to a great degree of water level change, carrying rain water downstream from Kohlman and Keller lakes, to Lake Phalen and the Mississippi River. The original dredging created steep banks; this feature along with high flows led to a loss of wet meadow and aquatic emergent plants. This resulted in 1-2’of exposed soil along much of the length of the creek.
Most of Keller Creek’s shoreline is owned by the Minnesota DNR and managed by Ramsey County. The District, along with Ramsey County, authored a 4-year plan to restore native plant communities, remove invasive vegetation and reduce erosion.
-Stabilize the creek bank and reduce erosion to improve water quality
-Establish native plant communities around the creek to filter overland water flow and reconnect the creek to its riparian area (re-create wet meadows)
-Increase plant diversity to create and improve habitat for fish, birds and pollinators in this wildlife corridor
-Improve aesthetics for park visitors
The Keller Creek restoration project brought significant improvements to wildlife habitat and recreation along nearly a mile of this popular creek. Aquatic emergent plants like bulrush and burreed protect banks from high water flows. Along the creek-edge, deep rooted native plants stabilize soils and filter out pollutants. A plethora of flowers provide pollen, nectar and seeds to butterflies, bees and birds. An array of attractive blooms greet park users throughout the growing season. Families take advantage of the reconstructed access areas to float, fish, picnic, and simply enjoy watching the creek.
In 2015, restoration work began along the northeast bank of the creek between Frost Avenue and Highway 61. We removed invasive plants, protected eroding creek banks with coconut fiber logs and brush bundles, and regraded slopes to create two wet meadow areas. Conservation Corps Youth Outdoors crews lent a hand with site preparation and removal of invasive plants like buckthorn and burdock. Students from area schools, Master Gardeners and other volunteers assisted with the restoration, planting thousands of native flowers and grasses. This approach was then applied to sections of the northwest, southeast and southwest banks.
Along with the water and wildlife friendly improvements, the preexisting (and mostly unusable) stone access next to the Keller Creek weir was rebuilt to improve safety for fishing and portaging.