Northern Columbia Golf Course BMPs

New stormwater BMPs at the Columbia Golf Course will protect water quality, reduce flooding, and improve habitat.


The MWMO and its partners will install a series of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) on the Columbia Golf Course and Columbia Park in Northeast Minneapolis. These BMPs will treat polluted runoff from a previously untreated 612-acre drainage area. In addition to keeping pollutants out of the nearby Mississippi River, the project will help to reduce flooding and will enhance the area’s ecology.

The Columbia Golf Course has long suffered from frequent flooding and drainage problems. This is due to the fact that a large portion of the surrounding neighborhoods drain down and through the area. A low spot on the landscape, Columbia Golf Course once contained historic Lake Sandy and remains a natural spot for water to accumulate. Runoff that drains through the golf course and park ultimately flows through a stormpipe into the Mississippi River.

This project will construct three biofiltration and infiltration BMPs at the golf course and nearby park, along with stormsewer improvements required to convey the stormwater in and out of them. The BMPs will remove an estimated 20 tons of sediment and 100 pounds of phosphorus each year, keeping these pollutants out of the river. Native plantings and ecological restoration will enhance the area’s habitat for pollinators and other small wildlife.

The golf course improvements are part of the larger Northeast Stormwater Management Initiative — a joint effort between the MWMO, the City of Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB). The initiative is designed to mitigate flooding, prevent polluted runoff, and improve the ecology of a 2,150-acre watershed in Northeast Minneapolis. The golf course BMPs are the first project to result from the initiative; additional improvements to the golf course and within the surrounding neighborhoods will be phased in over time.

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) awarded the MWMO an $800,000 grant to help pay for the project, with the funds drawn from the state’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Hennepin County is contributing $100,000 to the project through their Natural Resources Opportunity Grant. Project partners will provide the remaining funds.

The golf course improvements are expected to begin construction in mid-2020. More information can be found at, where residents can also sign up to receive email updates.