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Last fall, a restoration “makeover” began along a stretch of lower Sand Creek in Coon Rapids to improve water quality and habitat for aquatic life. This stretch of creek runs from Xeon Boulevard east to the railroad tracks, about a half-mile long. The project included installing habitat features in the channel, stabilizing erosion along the banks, and tree-thinning for native plant restoration.The first phase began in October by opening up the canopy through European buckthorn control and tree removal so that understory plants can get enough light. Some of the tree root-stumps, called “root wads” were later used during the second phase consisting of in-channel habitat creation and bank stabilization that occurred in November and December.The third phase will be in spring 2019 when the understory is seeded and planted with native plants and more buckthorn management will take place.The Coon Creek Watershed District is leading this water quality and habitat restoration project thanks to collaboration with the City of Coon Rapids and funding from two water quality grants: $269,563 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a $195,158 Clean Water Legacy grant match from the State of Minnesota.For more information click here or call the Coon Creek Watershed District at 763-755-0975.