Medicine Lake Rd & Decola Ponds Flood Mitigation Project

The Cities of Golden Valley, Crystal, and New Hope are studying potential measures to minimize flood-related property damage around the DeCola Ponds and along Medicine Lake Rd near Rhode Island Ave, as well as in a portion of New Hope. The area receives storm water runoff from approximately a one-square-mile watershed that includes portions of Crystal, New Hope, and Golden Valley.

A flood reduction program in the area would:

  • minimize flooding to the extent possible
  • keep Medicine Lake Rd passable for emergency vehicles
  • reduce and minimize flood damage to homes and businesses


The area surrounding the DeCola Ponds was developed in the 1960s and 1970s. The larger ponds were created by dredging existing ponds and wetlands, and the smaller ponds were excavated as an amenity for the development. However, the homes around DeCola
Ponds were built too low, and in multiple flood events beginning in 1978, water depths up to 6 feet caused extensive property damage
over the years.

In 1978, property owners around several of the DeCola Ponds filed a lawsuit following a major flood. The 1984 settlement gave property owners control of the outlet to the pond system, allowing them to lower the pond’s water elevation to help prevent flood damage.

Flooding around the ponds also extends north to Medicine Lake Rd, which carries an average of 10,000 vehicles per day and where
several businesses have been damaged by floods as recently as 2010. The flooding along Medicine Lake Rd can reach depths exceeding 4 feet, making travel on the heavily-used roadway difficult or impossible for emergency response and the traveling public.

What's Been Done So Far?

The City of New Hope conducted constructed drainage improvements in 2008 near Terra Linda Drive. The City of Golden Valley conducted the DeCola Ponds Area Flood Mitigation Study in 2011-2012 and held two public meetings to present analysis results. The flooding issue was discussed at multiple staff and City Council meetings in Golden Valley, Crystal, and New Hope.

To address the flooding issues, All three Cities came together in 2014 to fund a comprehensive flood mitigation study, including existing conditions and possible solutions. The City of Golden Valley held two public meetings with DeCola  Ponds residents, and staff from the three Cities met multiple times to discuss flooding and possible solutions.

The resulting Medicine Lake Road and Winnetka Avenue Area Long-Term Flood Mitigation Plan was completed in 2016. Its objectives are to reduce flood damages and provide reliable transportation and emergency response. The Plan is proposed to be completed in phases:

  • Phase 1 – Assess and select flood mitigation alternatives
  • Phase 2 – Determine cost of preferred flood mitigation alternatives & implementation strategies

Next Steps

The three Cities need to approve the Long-Term Flood Mitigation Plan (see draft here), cost-share allocation strategy, and authorize formation of an implementation commission (structured like the Joint Water Commission).