Surface Water

Lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands are among the most important natural resources for Minnesotans. Every resident can protect the quality of these resources from pollution for future generations.

When rain falls and snow melts on hard surfaces like paved streets, driveways, parking lots and rooftops it picks up and carries materials that can pollute our water. The rain and snow melt can carry dirt, oil, grease, fertilizer, trash, and pet waste. These pollutants and more travel through the city storm sewer and discharge directly into ponds, streams and wetlands in our community. Eventually all the surface water in Farmington makes its way to the Vermillion River, a trophy trout stream. Polluted rain and snow melt can severely reduce the quality of water we fish from, swim in, and drink.

The City of Farmington is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the city’s stormwater system. The stormwater system includes ditches, stormwater ponds, wetlands, creeks and rivers.

The city is regulated by several agencies including the MN Pollution Control Agency, MN Department of Natural Resources, the Board of Water and Soil Resources, the Metropolitan Council and the Vermillion River Watershed District.

Based on these regulations the city is involved with programs that help maintain the health a vitality of the system. Programs include:

Water Information

Farmington Waterways

Vermillion River
The section of the Vermillion River that runs though Farmington is a designated trout stream. The area is mostly developed and includes the downtown business area and residential section of the City of Farmington. The city is part of the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization which was created to protect and manage the Vermillion River watershed. The approximate watershed area is 1,110 acres.

Trout Fishing on the Vermillion River

North Creek
North Creek is tributary to the Vermillion River. The area has gentle slopes that lead to flat topography which drains poorly. The approximate watershed area is 2,195 acres. Sections of North Creek are designated as a trout stream.

Middle Creek
Middle Creek is tributary to the Vermillion River. The area consists of mostly agricultural lands on generally rolling hills, with some residential. The total drainage area of Middle Creek is approximately 8,050 acres. Trout stream designation applies to sections of Middle Creek.

South Creek
South Creek is tributary to the Vermillion River. The area is generally rolling hills in agricultural lands. The total drainage area is approximately 980 acres. All areas of South Creek that are within the City limits are designated as a trout stream.

Prairie Waterway
The Prairie Waterway is a natural stormwater collection area that acts as a wetland wildlife habitat and park. This area is located on the east side of Highway 3 north of Highway 50.

Stormwater Ponds

Stormwater ponds are for the collection of rain and snowmelt that runs off the land surface (such as roads, rooftops, and lawns). Much of the water in stormwater ponds is transported though underground pipes that empty untreated water, into these ponds. Water levels can fluctuate greatly depending on weather conditions. The majority of these ponds are owned by the City of Farmington.


Wetlands act like a giant sponge during heavy rainfall, reducing flooding downstream. They also filter sediments, harmful pollutants and nutrients (such as phosphorus and nitrogen, which make water green with algae). The city participates in the Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP) where trained volunteers work as part of a community-based team to collect data on wetland plants and macro-invertebrates.
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