Red Clay Project: Phase IILegacy Logo ColorFinal

The Red Clay Dam Phase II Project is part of a multi-year effort addressing the 1970s Red Clay dams located in the Nemadji Watershed of Carlton County. This project, funded by Clean Water Fund and Great Lakes Commission grants, focused on restoring the stream where a Red Clay Dam failed in the Deer Creek Subwatershed. This project also funded engineering solutions for additional Red Clay projects using the experienced SWCD Technical Service Area III (TSA III) engineers and staff.

The Problem

The Red Clay Project was a 1970s initiative that encompassed Lake Superior Basin watersheds with a goal of controlling erosion in Northeastern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin. In Minnesota and specifically Carton County, projects were focused on the construction of sediment retention structures, named Red Clay Dams, in the Skunk Creek and Deer Creek subwatersheds of the Nemadji River Basin. These structures had an engineered design life of 10-25 years, and they all have exceeded their lifespan. Many of these structures are now failing, including one dam that was on a tributary to Deer Creek.

The Solution

This project  stabilized the steep banks at the failed dam on an unnamed Deer Creek tributary and restored the stream through the old pond area where sediment had accumulated. Using natural channel design and in-stream log structures, TSA III Engineers were able to design and implement the project successfully during the fall of 2016. Superior Construction and Boreal Natives completed the construction.