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Medicine Lake

Sept_2020_from_West_Med_Lk_Park_3.jpg

Photo by Laura Jester

About Medicine Lake

Medicine Lake, situated in the center of the watershed, is the largest of the lakes in the watershed with a total area of more than 900 acres. It is a major recreational resource for the area and includes French Regional Park, public beaches, and a public boat landing. The lake provides opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating, birding, and biking or walking on adjacent trails. Medicine Lake is also an important resource for wildlife.

Over 11,000 acres drain to Medicine Lake from portions of five cities including Plymouth, Medicine Lake, New Hope, Golden Valley, and Minnetonka. Plymouth Creek is the most significant tributary to Medicine Lake, entering through West Medicine Lake Park. The lake’s outlet is located at the south end of the main basin. An overflow weir structure discharges water directly into the main stem of Bassett Creek; the weir is owned by Hennepin County and regulated by the MDNR. The overflow structure is approximately three feet above the level of the creek channel to deter fish migration into the lake.

Medicine Lake has high nutrient levels which periodically makes the water unsuitable for swimming and wading due to low clarity and excessive algae growth. Additionally, the lake was recently classified by the State as a “high risk water” for high chloride levels, likely coming from deicers used in the winter.

Curlyleaf pondweed, an aquatic invasive plant, is present in Medicine Lake. The growth and die-off the plant is identified as a source of internal nutrient loading in Medicine Lake. A Total Maximum Daily Load Study was completed in 2009 to identify the source of nutrients and lay out plans for controlling those nutrients (see link below). Multiple projects have been implemented to reduce the pollutant loading to the lake (see projects below). The City of Plymouth and the BCWMC continue implementing projects and programs to reduce pollutant loading to the lake.


Water Quality Data

Click thumbnails below to enlarge

Chlorophyll a

Water Clarity

Total Phosphorus


Projects

Plymouth Creek Channel Restoration Project: Medicine Lake to 26th Avenue
The BCWMC, in cooperation with the City of Plymouth, restored Plymouth Creek from Medicine Lake to 26th Avenue North.
View details
Plymouth Creek Channel Restoration Project: Annapolis Lane Upstream Through Plymouth Creek Park
The BCWMC, in cooperation with the City of Plymouth, restored the streambanks along Plymouth Creek within Plymouth Creek Park and between Fernbrook Lane North and Annapolis Lane North.
View details
Jevne Park Stormwater Improvement Project
This project within Jevne Park in the City of Medicine Lake will result in better stormwater management including increased capacity for stormwater storage within Jevne Park; a better way to route, carry and store excess stormwater to minimize flooding within Jevne Park and on adjacent residential properties; reduced sediment and phosphorus pollution entering Medicine Lake; and sustainability of existing waterfowl and wildlife habitats.
View details
Mt. Olivet Stream Restoration Project
​This project will stabilize eroding stream banks along a reach from Old Rockford Road and continuing south for approximately 1,300 feet. The project will improve water quality in Medicine Lake by reducing sediment and nutrients eroding from the banks in this area. The project is expected to reduce total phosphorus by 5.3 lbs/year and will improve habitat through restoration of a small wetland area.
View details
Medley Park Stormwater Treatment Facility
The proposed project is located in Golden Valley and will address intercommunity flooding issues and improve water quality in Medicine Lake through the expansion of flood storage areas and improved treatment of stormwater.
View details

Quick Facts

BCWMC Classification Priority 1 Deep Lake
Watershed Area (acres) 11,014
Lake Size (acres) 902
Average Depth (feet) 17.5
Maximum Depth (feet) 49
Ordinary High Water Level (feet) 889.1
Normal Water Level (feet) 887.7
Downstream Receiving Waterbody Bassett Creek
Location (City) Medicine Lake; Plymouth
MPCA Impairments Mercury in Fish Tissue; Nutrients
Aquatic Invasive Species Eurasian watermilfoil; Curlyleaf pondweed, zebra mussels, starry stonewort
Public Access Yes (boat launch)
Sept_2020_from_West_Med_Lk_Park_3.jpg

Photo by Laura Jester

About Medicine Lake

Medicine Lake, situated in the center of the watershed, is the largest of the lakes in the watershed with a total area of more than 900 acres. It is a major recreational resource for the area and includes French Regional Park, public beaches, and a public boat landing. The lake provides opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating, birding, and biking or walking on adjacent trails. Medicine Lake is also an important resource for wildlife.

Over 11,000 acres drain to Medicine Lake from portions of five cities including Plymouth, Medicine Lake, New Hope, Golden Valley, and Minnetonka. Plymouth Creek is the most significant tributary to Medicine Lake, entering through West Medicine Lake Park. The lake’s outlet is located at the south end of the main basin. An overflow weir structure discharges water directly into the main stem of Bassett Creek; the weir is owned by Hennepin County and regulated by the MDNR. The overflow structure is approximately three feet above the level of the creek channel to deter fish migration into the lake.

Medicine Lake has high nutrient levels which periodically makes the water unsuitable for swimming and wading due to low clarity and excessive algae growth. Additionally, the lake was recently classified by the State as a “high risk water” for high chloride levels, likely coming from deicers used in the winter.

Curlyleaf pondweed, an aquatic invasive plant, is present in Medicine Lake. The growth and die-off the plant is identified as a source of internal nutrient loading in Medicine Lake. A Total Maximum Daily Load Study was completed in 2009 to identify the source of nutrients and lay out plans for controlling those nutrients (see link below). Multiple projects have been implemented to reduce the pollutant loading to the lake (see projects below). The City of Plymouth and the BCWMC continue implementing projects and programs to reduce pollutant loading to the lake.


Quick Facts

BCWMC Classification Priority 1 Deep Lake
Watershed Area (acres) 11,014
Lake Size (acres) 902
Average Depth (feet) 17.5
Maximum Depth (feet) 49
Ordinary High Water Level (feet) 889.1
Normal Water Level (feet) 887.7
Downstream Receiving Waterbody Bassett Creek
Location (City) Medicine Lake; Plymouth
MPCA Impairments Mercury in Fish Tissue; Nutrients
Aquatic Invasive Species Eurasian watermilfoil; Curlyleaf pondweed, zebra mussels, starry stonewort
Public Access Yes (boat launch)

Water Quality Data

Click thumbnails below to enlarge

Chlorophyll a

Water Clarity

Total Phosphorus


Links


Projects

Plymouth Creek Channel Restoration Project: Medicine Lake to 26th Avenue
The BCWMC, in cooperation with the City of Plymouth, restored Plymouth Creek from Medicine Lake to 26th Avenue North.
View details
Plymouth Creek Channel Restoration Project: Annapolis Lane Upstream Through Plymouth Creek Park
The BCWMC, in cooperation with the City of Plymouth, restored the streambanks along Plymouth Creek within Plymouth Creek Park and between Fernbrook Lane North and Annapolis Lane North.
View details
Jevne Park Stormwater Improvement Project
This project within Jevne Park in the City of Medicine Lake will result in better stormwater management including increased capacity for stormwater storage within Jevne Park; a better way to route, carry and store excess stormwater to minimize flooding within Jevne Park and on adjacent residential properties; reduced sediment and phosphorus pollution entering Medicine Lake; and sustainability of existing waterfowl and wildlife habitats.
View details
Mt. Olivet Stream Restoration Project
​This project will stabilize eroding stream banks along a reach from Old Rockford Road and continuing south for approximately 1,300 feet. The project will improve water quality in Medicine Lake by reducing sediment and nutrients eroding from the banks in this area. The project is expected to reduce total phosphorus by 5.3 lbs/year and will improve habitat through restoration of a small wetland area.
View details
Medley Park Stormwater Treatment Facility
The proposed project is located in Golden Valley and will address intercommunity flooding issues and improve water quality in Medicine Lake through the expansion of flood storage areas and improved treatment of stormwater.
View details