From rain gardens to composting, the environment is at the forefront of our commitment to improving the lives of our residents and the surrounding communities. Find out more about our environmental projects and enterprises.

Map Pin
Dakotah Meadows RV Park
Map Pin
Dakotah! Sport and Fitness and Dakotah! Ice Center
Map Pin
Fleet Services
Map Pin
Hoċokata Ti
Map Pin
Land and Natural Resources Department
Map Pin
Little Six Casino
Map Pin
Mazopiya
Map Pin
Mdewakanton Public Safety
Map Pin
Mystic Lake Casino Hotel & Mystic Lake Center
Map Pin
Natural Areas
Map Pin
Playworks
Map Pin
Public Works and Property Services
Map Pin
Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store #1
Map Pin
Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store #2
Map Pin
SMSC Organics Recycling Facility
Map Pin
SMSC Water Bottling and Water Reclamation Facility
Map Pin
South Area Water Treatment Plant
Map Pin
The Meadows at Mystic Lake
Map Pin
Water Management
Map Pin
Wozupi Tribal Gardens
Dakotah Meadows RV Park

The Dakotah Meadows RV Park encourages its guests to recycle with recycling bins strategically placed around the park.

Dakotah! Sport and Fitness and Dakotah! Ice Center

Dakotah! Sport and Fitness hosts a 32,000-square-foot green roof, 16 solar panels for solar water heating, rain gardens, and recycled benches, as well as 14,000 square feet of VAST permeable composite pavers installed along the parking lot center aisle and at the entrance of the facility. The pavers are made from 95% recycled tire rubber and plastics—every 1,000 square feet of VAST permeable composite pavers saves 500 scrap tires and 15,000 plastic bottles from landfills. All VAST permeable composite pavers can also be removed if needed, and recycled into new pavers.

Inside the ice center, waste heat is captured and reused to warm the ice rink seating. The rain gardens surrounding Dakotah! Sport and Fitness prevent stormwater runoff and provide a habitat for butterflies and other pollinators. From atop its green roof, you can see the many skylights built to maximize natural light. LED lighting inside means energy usage is even further minimized. The enterprise’s deli staff work with MealConnect for food rescue, connecting surplus meals with food-insecure neighbors. In 2019, Dakotah! Sport and Fitness partnered with Mazopiya to donate nearly 3,000 meals to neighbors in need.

Fleet Services

The Fleet Services Department works to run vehicles as cleanly as possible by adhering to EPA standards and monitoring idling, speeding, and hard starts and stops through GPS to minimize unnecessary emissions. Electric golf carts have replaced gas carts used by valet at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel as well as Dakotah Meadows RV Park.

Hoċokata Ti

Natural lighting and energy-efficient features are found throughout the building, including electrochromic, auto-tint SageGlass windows, which help reduce energy consumption. Around the building, there is also an abundance of restored prairie grasses.

Land and Natural Resources Department

The Land and Natural Resources Department works to conserve and restore hundreds of acres of forests, woodlands, prairies, and wetlands each year. The tribe uses environmentally friendly land management tools, such as prescribed burns that mimic naturally occurring wildfires or herds of goats that eat invasive species, to help return these areas to high-functioning habitats and protect and preserve the region’s ecosystems.

In 2020, staff planted more than 1,500 pots of native flowers, grasses, and shrubs on SMSC lands and helped restore 156 acres of prairie—bringing total restored prairie to nearly 1,200 acres since 1999. To help reduce invasive buckthorn from SMSC lands, goats were dispatched in fall 2020 to remove more than 22 acres of buckthorn (equivalent to 60 tons) on SMSC lands.

Staff from the Land and Natural Resources Department conduct forest and prairie monitoring over the span of more than 100 plots, and began monitoring waterfowl populations on Pike Lake in 2020, observing more than 475 birds. Staff also continue monitoring 87 bluebird boxes and 20 wood duck boxes, and installed five new wood duck boxes on SMSC lands last year.

Little Six Casino

Beginning in 2017, the SMSC’s Little Six Casino piloted new approaches to landfill diversion. This included converting all disposables to compostable or recyclable alternatives, eliminating the use of polystyrene from the property, making recycling and composting collection available throughout the facility, and partnering with Minnesota Waste Wise to reduce pre-consumer kitchen waste (using Leanpath’s technology solutions). These combined efforts have resulted in 77% of all waste diverted from the landfill.

Mazopiya

Mazopiya sells natural, organic foods, including produce from Wozupi Tribal Gardens. The store was built with geothermal climate control to minimize energy usage, and the pervious pavement surrounding the building prevents stormwater pollution. Mazopiya works with MealConnect for food rescue, reducing waste and connecting surplus meals with food-insecure neighbors. In 2019, Mazopiya donated 3,700 pounds of food to neighbors in need, the equivalent of 2,700 meals.

Mdewakanton Public Safety

Mdewakanton Public Safety uses solar water heating, and overlooks a wetland that the SMSC restored and protects. Its garden is also one of a kind, as employees grow and harvest fresh ingredients for meals while working 24-hour shifts.

Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

Sustainable transportation to Mystic Lake Casino Hotel is an important component of caring for the earth—electric car chargers and dedicated buses are available to guests, while employees are encouraged to participate in carpooling, or use dedicated bus routes and metro bus pass programs. New electric vehicle (EV) chargers were installed near Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in 2020, with more than 1,500 charging sessions to date—electrifying transportation is an important part of the SMSC’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2019, recycling efforts at the Gaming Enterprise avoided more than 2,800 tons of carbon dioxide, and composting avoided an additional 750 tons of carbon dioxide. Mystic Lake Casino Hotel guests have access to several digital newspaper publications in lieu of printed versions, saving several tons of paper waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Roughly 20 tons of obsolete building materials, such as plumbing and lighting fixtures, countertops, carpet, and wallpaper, have been donated to nonprofit organizations to date. Additionally, 80% of all waste from the 2019 Mystic Amphitheater events and Rib Fest was diverted from the landfills through recycling and composting. All disposables are recyclable or compostable. The casino floor converted all cups to a compostable option, and added recycling and composting containers throughout the casino in December 2019.

Mystic Lake Center

Electric car chargers await guests of Mystic Lake Center. Food waste and compostable disposables are available throughout Mystic Lake Center and are composted in the back of the house. Electrochromic, auto-tint SageGlass windows help reduce the building’s use of energy, enhances users’ comfort, and manages solar heat gains.

Natural Areas

SMSC lands provide a diverse array of habitats, including forests, prairies, and wetlands. The Land and Natural Resources Department works to conserve and protect these habitats by using holistic management practices, such as prescribed fire, grazing, and monitoring initiatives. This supports local plants, animals, and fish by providing healthy, functioning habitats.

Playworks and Playworks LINK Event Center

The rain gardens surrounding Playworks and the Playworks LINK Event Center prevent stormwater runoff and provide a habitat for butterflies and other pollinators. In the outdoor play area, gardens are cared for by the students all summer long. Playworks composts students’ food scraps, and provides each student with a lunch bag and reusable water bottle to further reduce paper and plastic waste. Cleaning crews also use environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Public Works and Property Services

To prevent salt pollution of our surface waters, all Public Works and Property Services snow plow drivers are trained and certified in “Smart Salting” by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store #1

The Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store recycles all car wash water from both of its car wash locations. The Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store car washes use far less water than a do-it-yourself wash in the driveway, and prevents the wash water from polluting our wetlands and waterways.

Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store #2

The Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store recycles all car wash water from both of its car wash locations. The Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store car washes use far less water than a do-it-yourself wash in the driveway, and prevents the wash water from polluting our wetlands and waterways. The Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store #2 also offers outdoor recycling for guests.

SMSC Organics Recycling Facility

One of only two large-scale composting facilities processing source separated organics in the Twin Cities metro area, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility serves industrial, municipal, commercial and residential organic recycling needs. Efforts at the facility support improving public health, reducing the reliance on landfills, conserving energy and natural resources, and reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

An essential part of Minnesota’s goals for food waste diversion, the facility prevents an average of 70,000 tons of organic waste—including 12,000 tons of food waste—from entering landfills each year, reducing the total amount in Twin Cities metro area landfills by 1.4%. Additionally, it eliminates more than 10,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from food waste each year. In landfills, these waste streams would release methane gas, a major contributor to climate change.

The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility offers free seasonal recycling programs for area residents, allowing them to drop off Christmas trees, Halloween pumpkins, and other materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. More than 14,000 pounds of pumpkins were recycled at the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility during the free pumpkin recycling program in fall 2020. The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility donates products, such as compost and mulch, to local cities, schools, and nonprofit organizations every year.

SMSC Water Bottling

SMSC Water Bottling turns groundwater into drinking water, which is bottled and packaged on-site through a multistep purification process and reverse osmosis.

Water Reclamation Facility

The SMSC’s state-of-the-art Water Reclamation Facility has been recognized as a superior achievement in reducing environmental pollutants. The facility collects wastewater from across the SMSC to be treated for reuse as irrigation, allowing the Community to reduce groundwater withdrawal by about 35 million gallons a year. Staff also enjoy getting to know the new ducklings that hatch on this facility’s green roof each spring, before making their way to the nearby wetland that the SMSC restored.

South Area Water Treatment Plant

In 2019, the SMSC and the city of Prior Lake built the South Area Water Treatment Facility. This joint facility connects the tribe and city’s water together as a fully integrated system that maximizes water supply efficiencies while minimizing impacts on regional groundwater resources—ensuring that the rapidly growing communities will have safe, high-quality drinking water as more residents and businesses enter the region.

The tribal-city partnership for the new water treatment facility made this state-of-the-art water treatment plant possible. Through increasing water capacity to more than 3 million gallons per day, the new jointly owned facility has also reduced the number of wells that are needed to supply water to each community.

The Meadows at Mystic Lake

Use of treated effluent water at the SMSC’s Water Reclamation Facility is used to irrigate The Meadows at Mystic Lake and other landscaped areas, which has reduced groundwater withdrawal by the SMSC by approximately 35 millions gallons a year. In addition, wildlife flock to the site of the effluent release, relishing the temperate water during the cold Minnesota winter when most other water bodies are frozen. The wetlands provide a home for Canada geese, muskrats, and mallards.

Water Management

The Land and Natural Resources Department helps care for the many lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands which are present on SMSC lands. Activities include researching, monitoring, protecting, and improving these water features so that they continue to provide rich wildlife habitat and contribute to our Community’s well-being for generations to come.

Wozupi Tribal Gardens

At Wozupi Tribal Gardens, we grow certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits, and plant starts. We maintain and harvest our own garden and orchard, beehives, and maple syrup, and staff compost on-site to help promote sustainability. In the sloped fields, we encourage native species to thrive along the tree lines and hedgerows around the gardens. On-site renewable energy generates from a windmill turbine and a sun-tracking solar panel.

Visitors come to learn about sustainable small-scale farming, native foods, winter vegetable production, and tribal food program design. Our excess produce is also donated to local food shelves.