|PRESERVE CAMP COLDWATER
a non-profit community-based advocacy
Preserve Camp Coldwater Coalition requests immediate cessation of construction at the interchange of highways 55 and 62 in Hennepin County, Minnesota. This construction threatens the quantity and quality of underground water to Coldwater Spring, largest limestone bedrock spring in the Twin Cities flowing at 144,000 gallons a day.
This 10,000-year old spring is currently used as a public drinking water source, in Anishinabe (drinking) water ceremonies and in Dakota sweat lodges. The water is a constant 47-degrees Fahrenheit, ice-free in winter attracting ducks to the reservoir which empties down the Mississippi River gorge. The site is used for weekly pipe and prayer rites and as a place apart for meditation and contemplation. Camp Coldwater is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a declared sacred site by four federally recognized Native American tribes.
On 5/24/00, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) voted to split jurisdiction of the area feeding the spring from the spring itself. Coldwater pring now lies within the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) boundary while the area feeding the spring lies within the Lower Minnesota River atershed District (LMRWD). This political rather than hydrologic boundary creates alarming loopholes in the protection of the spring. In the light of these oopholes we provide the following background information underlying our request for accountability.
MCWD hydrogeologic consultant Kelton Barr found
that the stormwater pond in the 55/62 interchange could permanently divert
one-third (48,000 gallons) or more of its baseline flow in his review
of the Minnesota Department of Transportation s (MnDOT) operative plan
(see attachment 2). The stormwater pond design would siphon water from
the spring because it is lower, in elevation, than the outflow of Coldwater
Spring. MGWD next sought a nationally recognized expert to peer review
Barr s findings. Donald I. Siegel, PhD of Syracuse University, (report
attachment 2 ) called Barr s findings "conservative." Commenting on the
technical information from MnDOT Siegel states: "The fractures, pumping
tests results, and water level measurements compellingly document a hydrologic
connection between the interchange and the spring... .The groundwater
model constructed to predict the effects of dewatering at the interchange
could not be verified (experimentally shown to be correct). I also saw
no indication of any sensitivity analysis to test the reliability of the
initial calibration. Not including some sensitivity analysis is a major
Mn DOT engineers disputed Siegel s findings but offered to change their design (10/03/00). On 10/18/00 MnDOT asked the LMRWD to approve Alternative 3 consisting of "some calculations" but no design. Without specifications, modeling studies and review we have no confidence that a new plan will protect the flow to the spring.
Our demands include:
No adverse impact on Coldwater Spring is acceptable. Preserve Camp Coldwater Coalition holds MnDOT accountable to provide clear, accurate and timely information to their supervising agencies and we hold those agencies accountable to honor their mission statements thus guaranteeing the preservation of Coldwater Spring.
We look forward to your prompt reply.
Preserve Camp Coldwater Coalition, email firstname.lastname@example.org October 24, 2000