The letter below was sent 0n June 1st to the Transportation, Public Safety and Judiciary Work Study Conference Committee from The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District objecting to MnDOT's attempt to do an end run around the law that was just passed to protect the flow of the spring.

The conference committee has adjourned for the weekend with MnDOT's language in the bill.
Please contact the committee members below and tell them NOT TO WEAKEN THE BILL!
Calls are needed NOW!
The committee is not reconvening until Thursday, 6/7/01

Tell Sen. Sabo and Rep. Gleason THANKS for their support

Senator Julie Sabo - (651) 296-4274

Representative Gleason - (651) 296-5375

JOINT HOUSE/SENATE MN Legislature Conference Committee

Senator Jane Ranum - (651) 297-806

STANEK, Rich 651-296-5502 (Maple Grove--33B

MOLNAU, Carol 651-296-8872 (Chaska--35A)

JOHNSON, Dean (Conference Committee Senate Chair) 651-296-3826 (Willmar--15)

TERWILLIGER, Roy 651-296-6238 (Edina--42)

OURADA, Mark 651-296-5981 (Buffalo--19)

ELLY, Randy 651-296-5285 (St. Paul--67)

HOLBERG, Mary Liz 651-296-6926 (Lakeville--37B)

MURPHY, Mary 651-296-2676 (Hermantown--8A)

WORKMAN, Tom 651-296-5066 (Chanhassen--43A)

June 1, 2001


The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) would like to communicate its opposition to the legislation prepared by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to reduce the protection of Camp Coldwater Springs. The legislation would effectively repeal 2001 Laws Chapter 101, signed into law on May 15, 2001. Chapter 101 states:

Neither the state, nor a unit of metropolitan government, nor a political subdivision of the state may take any action that may diminish the flow of water to or from Camp Coldwater Springs.

The MnDOT legislation would exempt MnDOT's "existing and pending" construction work on or related to Highways 55 and 62 from the operation of the law.

It is our understanding that this law was passed to protect the Springs in light of its exceptional historical and cultural significance to the State of Minnesota. Our hydrogeological consultants have studied MnDOT's proposed Highway 55/62 interchange design carefully and estimate that 30 percent or more of the Camp Coldwater flow may be diverted by the present design. Results of field work due in four weeks or less will either support or dispel this concern. The interchange work planned by MnDOT therefore falls directly under the protection afforded by the statute. It is hard to conceive of activity other than Highway 55/62 construction work, now or in the future, that would pose a risk to the Springs. Therefore, to exempt planned construction on this project from the law would seem to exempt the only work that might trigger the law.

We note that the legislation would exempt LRT work as well. The review performed by the MCWD does not suggest that LRT construction has the potential to affect the flows to the Springs. We also note that only two discrete features of the interchange work risk the harm to the Springs, and are led to understand that fairly inexpensive redesign can eliminate that risk. MnDOT's present legislative effort seems to be a disproportionate response to the concern, particularly where it repeatedly has expressed its commitment to avoid any possible harm to the Springs.

Finally, it has been reported that the MCWD was a participant in an "understanding" that Chapter 101 would not apply to MnDOT's pending work. I wish to state clearly that this is not the case. The legislation was not introduced at the MCWD's request, although we offered supportive comments. At no time did any representative of the MCWD participate in any discussion suggesting that the bill would not apply to the Highway 55 project.

There is simply no reason that this project need be constructed in a way that harms an important state natural and historical resource. We urge you to maintain the protection of Chapter 101 as adopted by the legislature.