1.. HR 3037 (SF 3158), is a second attempt to repeal the Coldwater legislation.
A House-Senate conference committee last May failed to repeal the law. No
one testified against the Coldwater bill in any committee, in both houses,
during the bill's journey through the legislature last session. MAC, MnDOT,
the DNR and the Minnesota Historic Society all presented testimony in various
committees. The House vote was 110-20; it was unanimous in the Senate.
2.. The Coldwater law aligns the historic state birthplace with the boundaries
of the Fort Snelling Historic District in the National Register of Historic
Places. Based on an old map with fuzzy lines, the former boundary appeared
to bisect Coldwater reservoir. The legislation extends the protection
of the Minnesota Historic Sites Act and the Minnesota Field Archaeology
Act to include the outflow of this 10,000-year old spring, running at
100,000-144,000 gallons a day.
3.. MnDOT canceled the Highway 55/62 interchange project (9/01) after
rejecting a third party consultant report in court-ordered negotiations.
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District v. MnDOT case is active and questions
of separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches
4.. Construction permits were granted on MnDOT assurances of "no
adverse harm" to Coldwater Springs. Construction dewatering resulted
in a 30-percent decrease in flow to the spring. Permanent dewatering would
be deeper with up to half of the spring's sourcewater piped directly into
the Mississippi, according to Minnehaha watershed dye and pump tests.
5.. The current construction project calls for the roadbed to be dug down
36 feet (11 meters) below the surface. The design is based on FAA airport
runway safety zone standards for a proposed runway extension for a single
Northwest Airlines flight that was canceled in September 1999. The nonstop
MSP to Hong Kong route was abandoned for lack of ticket sales. Old, noisy
747s, designed in the 1970s, that need a long runway for take-offs on
very hot, humid summer days, would have been used. Newer long distance
planes have increased booster power requiring less runway.
6.. The proposed extension of the Crosswind 4-22 runway was "indefinitely
postponed" after the September 11 tragedy and ensuing economic slump.
7.. Extending the Crosswind runway would include paying for moving and
replacing some military facilities at the airport complex.
8.. MnDOT designed the 55/62 interchange 36-feet below grade despite their
senior geologist's July 25, 1997 memo in which Chuck Howe noted: "Any
type of disturbance to the perching layers in the limestone could cause
some of the flow to the spring could [sic] be cut off, thus reducing the
amount of the flow, either slightly or dramatically (depending on the
degree of disturbance)."
9.. Raising the road is probably less expensive than underlining the highway
with a concrete bed ($4-$8-million), especially in view of plans to expand
Highway 62 from four to six lanes. The entire interchange project was
budgeted for $16-million. MnDOT paid Ames Construction $1-milion as a
broken contract award. Minnehaha watershed's hydrogeologic consultant
suggests that a backfill of 4 meters (13-14 feet) would produce a "dry
road." MnDOT's metro district engineer Richard Stehr announced repeatedly
that no alternative plans were being considered. The Highway 55 roadbed
was raised adjacent to Minnehaha Park at 50th and 54th streets to accommodate
groundwater flow-a double precedent.
10.. Please add the value of the largest (and last free-flowing) limestone
bedrock spring in the Twin Cities to any bottom line accounting. Coldwater
is situated just above the Minnesota-Mississippi confluence which forms
the only true river gorge on the entire 2,350-mile length of the great
river. The spring empties into a reservoir then tumbles into a creek,
a wetland, and a waterfall on its way down the bluff. Coldwater furnished
water to Fort Snelling for 100 years. Camp Coldwater was the Native-soldier-pioneer
community birthplace of the state of Minnesota.
Thank you for passing the Coldwater law last year. Please let it stand.